We received a press release from QMSF outlining their plans for next season.
"The Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and the recently-formed Offshore Powerboat Grand Prix (OPGP) will jointly promote and run the brand new Qatar Cup, a four-day powerboat racing festival, in Doha Bay on February 4-7, 2015.
Speaking during last weekend’s Oryx Cup in Doha, His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), said: “Everyone knows that we wanted to expand the power boating and we wanted to do it the right way and grow with it as much as we can. The Qatar Cup idea was born last year, but we couldn’t get the American teams here last time.
“This time the formula is completely different and we have signed with a number of teams who will come here in February. This will be a stand-alone championship approved by the UIM and APBA. This will create bigger recognition, both here and abroad, and we are confident it will grow. It is also a perfect opportunity for our up-and-coming racers in Qatar to compete alongside international rivals.”
Sheikh Hassan’s racing partner and throttleman Steve Curtis has been appointed as the interim president of OPGP and confirmed that the Qatar Cup will feature exciting classes for Super Cat, Super Vee Light, Super Vees and a new handicap racing-type format.
Race craft will be shipped from the USA on December 8th aboard a vessel arranged by GAC Pindar. “Some boats will also come from New Zealand and maybe Australia and we have been talking to some of the XCat racers from Dubai and some of the boat owners in other classes. The idea is to make this a big event with as many classes as possible” said Curtis.
“We will also run the Pro Class Championship category for the local boats in Qatar and the Turkish boats in a separate Offshore 225 class,” added Sheikh Hassan. “It will be a full week of racing activities with some additional jet-ski racing and I am sure these classes will attract a lot of support from the region.
“If things look good for 2016 - with a new five-race series in the United States - we could maybe do the same thing as we do with H1 and the Oryx Cup, whereby you accumulate points all year and have the final race in Qatar. We could, perhaps, have a National Championship and a Qatar Cup title at stake. It’s premature to go into details about this, but this could be the good aim for 2016 onwards.”
It’s only a three-week sail time from Australia to Qatar, so we hope to see other teams here as well in February,” added the QMSF president, who also confirmed that Ali Al-Neama and Billy Moore will represent the host nation at the helm of Spirit of Qatar 20 in the Super Cat class.
Curtis also enthused about another boat class for the Qatar Cup: “We also have the Cat Lights coming. These are very similar to XCats - where we hope to have 8 to 10 boats competing. Mohammed Al-Nasser (Qatar’s XCat driver) has also been invited, but the engine rules are slightly different so he will need to do some work with his engines.
“Super Cats, with around 800hp, is the main class we are bringing over, but we also have the V hulls and we will try a new handicap system that is used in sailing to have all the boats on the course at the same time.
“This has never been done before. Basically there will be two laps on the course – the fastest boats may do 10 of the longer laps and the smaller boats may do 10 of the shorter ones. A handicap will be determined to put the racing on a level playing field and they will use the same chequered flag. This format was used before in a series called Offshore 2000 in the 1990s and was very successful.”
The precise timetable of the 2015 Qatar Cup has yet to be finalised, but Curtis confirmed that Tuesday, February 3rd would be the set-up day on Doha Corniche and qualifying and practice would take place on February 4th. "