by Bob Wonders
As I mentioned last week, the Miami International Boat Show is renowned as the venue for the marine industry’s ‘big guns’ to unload their latest and greatest.
When Mercury Racing wants engines evaluated, who better than former triple world champ. Reggie Fountain? This was a triple installation aboard one of the fabulous Fountain muscle boats.
Without doubt one of the show’s many highlights was the release of the powerhouse Verado 350 SCi by Mercury Racing.
This awesome engine is the latest addition to Mercury Marine’s Verado ‘family.’ From the top of its cowl to the all-new gear case, it is an engine designed to exceed consumer expectations in quality, reliability and performance.
Appropriately, the engine was unveiled by an almost mythical name, Fred Kiekhaefer, president of Mercury Racing and son of Mercury Marine founder Carl Kiekhaefer.
In Fred’s own words, the new Verado “continues Mercury Racing’s heritage of delivering more power and performance than competitive outboards with identical horsepower ratings.”
The Verado 350 SCi is said to combine the ‘brains’ of Mercury with the ‘brawn’ of Verado. It’s a 350hp, 2.6-litre, in-line six cylinder supercharged engine featuring electronically controlled sequential multi-port fuel injection, four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshaft, a charge-air cooler and electronic boost bypass control.
The new top cowl design, developed by Mercury Racing, boasts fresh air intakes at both the top and front of the engine.
A custom cool air intake at the cowl top is designed to maintain consistent engine operating temperatures and draws air into a flywheel-mounted fan. The flywheel fan circulates cool air around the powerhead and its associated components. An innovative air scoop at the front of the cowl channels fresh air directly to the supercharger, via the air intake attenuator, improving both power and performance.
Other Mercury Racing engineering enhancements, combined with patented sound-dampening technology have delivered an outboard engine with remarkably quiet, high-performance attributes. The Verado 350 SCi delivers the strength, toughness and durability sought by recreational boaters and blue water anglers.
Mercury Racing developed an all-new sand-cast driveshaft housing for Verado’s revolutionary Advanced MidSection (AMS) for superior durability in an often unforgiving offshore environment. Stainless steel guide plates, with fibre wear pads, together with high-performance engine mounts, provide superb engine stability at high speeds.
Mercury Racing designed a new gearcase to handle the engine’s high torque and power output. Engineers developed a new hydrodynamic shape and size to accommodate the larger diameter straight-cut gears, heavy duty propeller shaft and billet aluminium bearing carrier.
The Verado 350 SCi is also equipped with SmartStart, just turn the key, release and the engine automatically starts.
Electro-hydraulic power steering and SmartCraft digital throttle and shift provide an exceptionally smooth and responsive driving experience combined with sports car-like handling and performance.
Powerboat-World editor Bob Wonders (left) with industry legend and former Mercury world champion Reggie Fountain. - Miami show
Mercury Racing called on a genuine expert when testing the new engines, none other than Reggie Fountain, a former three-time Mercury Racing world champion and builder of the fabulous Fountain muscle boats.
Several Fountain boats were rigged with single, dual and triple Verado 350 SCi engines and Reggie was as impressed as anyone.
I was able to speak with the man himself and he was totally enthusiastic when talking about to the new engines.
“Let me simply say that Mercury Racing has done it again,” he said. “When you want action, eye-watering performance and hard-to-beat reliability, the answer is Mercury Racing,” he added.