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Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix returns this weekend

The event is expected to feature more than 60 race teams from around the world.

SARASOTA, Fla. — Sarasota's signature summer racing event is set to hit the water this weekend.

The P1 Offshore Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix 2022 will run from July 1-3, with the first race set for Saturday, the international marine motorsport promoter announced on Friday.

This year's race will feature more than 60 race teams and include drivers from Sweden, Australia, Canada, Cayman Islands and New Zealand.

The event will kick off with a downtown Sarasota block party where fans can meet the participating teams and check out the competing boats up close. Guests can also enjoy live music and drinks from 6-10 p.m. on Gulfstream Avenue.

Teams will be off to the races starting at 8 a.m. Saturday with the P1 AquaX watercraft racing. The second race includes the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship teams competing for the Pole position from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

There will be another full day of racing on Sunday with boats from P1 Offshore, P1 AquaX and Class 1 all taking part in the competition. 

People attending the event can expect to see a P1 Village fan zone on Sunday in the Lido Beach parking lot with food trucks, a beer garden, live music and merchandise. There will also be a VIP hospitality suite on Lido Beach that includes an open bar, catered lunch, lounge seating and televisions to help improve the viewing experience of the race.

Local business owners are expecting a good crowd just like in previous years.

"It's a good bump from the normal business we've had during the slower part of June and it really picks up there in July this weekend. So we're looking forward to it," said Josh Shear of Old Salty Dog.

According to Visit Sarasota, events like this save taxpayers about $650 a year per household because visitors are paying the taxes that local residents would have paid. Local leaders are looking forward to the financial boost impacting their businesses.

"From all reports, this will be a gangbuster weekend because of our boat races and will really kick off that strong summer family vacation time," said Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota

"Whether it's a rowing event, boat race, a tennis event, there are people who come here and discover our community that might not have otherwise come," Haley said.

"We're thrilled. This is going to be very, very exciting. Come out this weekend, there are block parties, there are going to be vendors and then we are here to support. So we're very excited for everything else that's about to happen," said City of Sarasota Mayor Erik Arroyo.

Guests can watch the boats racing off from Lido Beach. 

Aside from VIP tickets, the event is free to the public if you watch from the sands. 

Those who wish to watch while on their boats are advised to set out early and be in position before the racing begins.

The Grand Prix is one of the city's longest-running events and helps generate millions of dollars for the Sarasota community.

“Sarasota is an idyllic venue with a rich, storied history of powerboat racing. We have a powerful platform through our international television broadcasting to showcase this beautiful city to the world, and we want to encourage everyone, local or tourists, to enjoy all that there is to experience here," said Azam Rangoonwala, CEO of Powerboat P1. 

“As a Sarasota native, I recognize the historic value this event brings to the community,” Cole McGowan, Powerboat P1’s Director of Communications, added. “We value the heritage and prestige of this event and are aiming to add new experiences for fans. This is going to be a standout year for powerboat racing in Sarasota with one of the largest fleets of race boats in recent years."

The Powerboat Grand Prix will be televised on CBS Sports Network and Bally Sports Regional Networks. 

To learn more about the race, click here.

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