Detroit, MI — Moving his way up through the different American Power Boat Association categories and classes, former Junior Classes Driver Brent Dillard is hoping to make a splash this season as he campaigns in Outboard Performance Craft’s F1.
Making the jump to F1, Dillard will be piloting a brand new boat that has yet to debut here in the United States,
“We bought a DAC boat from the F1 China team,” Dillard said. “This boat is a lot more advanced than anything we currently have over here in the United States. There are some older DAC boats racing in OPC but those are nothing like what they have today.”
Today, DAC boats have the crash box, which is a several inch thick layer of foam and carbon fiber built into the safety cell to help protect the driver from any potential danger that they may face. In previous models, the crash box was fabricated onto the safety cell.
Other safety improvements include the size of the cockpit, giving more clearance between the bottom of the capsule and the top of the driver’s head, and the boat is also completely made of carbon fiber. “Over Europe, the put the boat in an autoclave, which is like an oven and they bake it which makes the carbon fiber really strong,” Dillard said. “Over here in the United State, nobody has an over big enough to put a whole boat into. So this is a true carbon fiber boat.”
Over in Europe, where the DAC boats are built, most of their racing takes place in the ocean. Because of this, the bottom of their boats are designed to perform better in rougher water, making courses like Bay City and Trenton, a more competitive race for Dillard.
Taking the whole winter and offseason to test his new boat, Dillard is hoping to make a name for himself in F1 racing.
“There are three top drivers in F1; Terry Rinker, Chris Fairchild and Timmy Seebold and they are really fast and they have been doing it a long time,” Dillard said. “We are not expecting to be a rookie and run with them but we’re just hoping for top five finishes and to be consistent in each and every race. That would be a reasonable goal for us as a rookie.”
Starting out as a Junior Classes driver, Dillard has slowly progressed through the APBA ranks and won everywhere he has competed, culminating in a 2004 induction into the APBA Hall of Champions. Hoping to continue on and do all he can to make his second trip to the Hall of Champions, Dillard knows that because of the safety of this boat, it can help him get there one day.
“This boat is 10 times safer than anything we have in America right now. This boat is all about safety,” Dillard said. “I don’t have to worry about anything in this boat when I drive. It has an airbag system in it so if the boat does go upside down, the airbag come out of it and push the cockpit back above the water and it has the crash box in it so if somebody T-bones me, they will never get to me because of the added safety.”
Watching young driver progress through the APBA is exactly what boat racing is all about and OPC chairman James Chambers is looking forward to the added competition.
“It’s really exciting that a new driver is coming into the class and he is doing it right with good equipment,” Chambers said. “Brent will help bring some more excitement and competition to the Formula 1 class.
Originally published at www.rebelmouse.com.