Fans and spectators tend to wonder what happens during tech inspections. Below we’re giving you some information regarding the inspections and what the tech team does before and after races. Read below to find out more about our tech team and their job!
The RWO Technical Rules are a living document intended to provide the highest degree of competition within the context of the Offshore Racing classes it addresses. The organization is constantly learning how technology can provide both the race teams and the RWO inspectors an opportunity to measure and monitor the inputs and output of today’s race boats.
The RWO Tech team has three key tactics in its overall strategy to achieve its goals. Technical rules review, training and evaluation, pre-race inspections and post-race inspections.
Before the race event is even on the calendar, the RWO Tech team is reviewing the Technical Rules document and ensuring it is up to date and relevant for the race teams likely to enter into the competition. Over the years, there have been Offshore classes which have been a spinoff of a class where a specified motor or major component is no longer available or out of reach financially. Often, there is also a component of the APBA rules which needs to be evaluated.
Pre-race Tech inspections are conducted at the RWO Tech trailer in the race pits. Each team is contacted and asked to bring their boat for inspection. This allows the RWO Tech team to have their tools and the needed air system at hand. There are numerous inspection points and these will vary from race to race so that a race team is not expecting the same routine at each site.
In general, there are either inboard motor/outdrive or outboard configurations. Although the approach is the same, the tools and methods used are not, due to the variables of the participating classes.
For the outboard classes, Mercury Racing ECU’s are provided to each team for each motor. RWO often will change out a team’s ECU after testing or just before a race. But in all cases, these factory sealed units, which control key parameters and limit the RPMS, are returned to RWO Tech inspectors for evaluation. Most pre-race inspections of outboard motors are conducted to ensure the motor is ‘stock’ as defined in the rules. Limiting the RPM’s is a key factor and each boat has a data capture device installed on the boat. This device, often the Race-Pak brand, is connected to the motor via the tachometer signal wire. The device also has a built-in GPS which allows the RWO Tech inspectors to review their data relative to the actual racecourse.
The inboard motor/outdrive classes, such as SuperCat, are essentially controlled by an RPM limit, a class-specific gear ratio, a maximum cubic inch displacement, and a specific engine compression ratio. Pre-race inspection covers these points and several others. Measuring specific parameters of a team’s propeller is often the case and RWO has the tools and training to accomplish this critical inspection.
Post-Race inspections begin at the cranes. As the boats are hauled out of the water, the RWO official is there to record the weight of each boat into the official logbook which, the RWO referee will review during the post-race review. Data retrieval by the RWO Tech inspector is absolutely essential for a team to earn points or even be eligible to win. In fact, in most classes, a boat that comes back with no data receives no award and last place points.
A sample of the fuel used in the race boat can be collected and immediately read to ensure it matches the parameters contained in the Sunoco provided race fuel at each race site.
Race World Offshore is a professional sanctioning body based in Key West, Florida. Its technical staff is highly experienced coming in with decades of experience from offshore boat racing and NHRA drag racing. Race teams will always go out of their way to stretch the rules and test the inspectors; a cat and mouse game that has gone on as long as there has been racing. Race World Offshore is committed to provide competitive and fair races where sportsmanship reigns.