Founded in 1976, the KAAMA Racing Team is widely regarded as one of the most successful offshore powerboat racing teams in history.
Having started in well over 70 races, KAAMA earned its respect not only on the racecourse, but also through its forward-thinking engineering solutions, which undoubtedly helped advance the performance boat industry.
US - CHAMPION
The KAAMA Racing Team consisted of Betty Cook as driver, John Connor as crew chief & throttleman, various navigators as well as engineering partner Peter Weismann.
The team ran 4 different boat hulls, a 36’ Cigarette, a 38’ Scarab, a 38’ Cougar catamaran and a 38’ Formula catamaran, all set-up and modified by John Connor.
The 36-foot Cigarette was like many boat designs that followed, the origin of countless offshore victories.
Famous for winning the legendary Cowes-Torquay-Cowes offshore race, the boats design quickly became noted on the racecourse and in the news.
KAAMA Racing consequently set up an engineering workshop in its parent company KUDU AEROSEACRAFT INC. and started developing their own drivetrain and power systems.
The 38-foot Scarab is by far one of the most recognised hull designs in the world and respected because of its light weight and high speeds.
Initially engineered by John Connor as replacement for the Cigarette hull, the first Scarab hull was built by Larry Smith for KAAMA Racing.
Once licensed to Wellcraft the design set out to become an absolute powerboat best-seller and gained further notoriety through its appearance in the TV series "Miami Vice".
The 38-foot Cougar catamaran was equipped with twin 482 Mercruiser putting out more than 700 hp each. These engines were modified by KAAMA Marine Engineering Inc., the racing teams own development and production company for engines and propulsion systems.
The catamaran was capable of speeds exceeding 100mph in ideal water conditions, thus secured the team their second World Championship in Venice, Italy in 1979.
In the 1980‘s KAAMA Racing Team accepted sponsorship from Michelob Light for a number of races and introduced a new 38-foot Formula Hull.
the team ran several races as well as multiple Top-Speed runs with this particular hull. The innovative Kevlar 49 structure became test-bench for KAAMA surface drive applications.
Formula later offered "KAAMA Special Edition" upgrades for their performance line of recreational powerboats.
KAAMA MARINE ENGINEERING
In addition to the famous racing team the company developed KAAMA performance engines and surface drive systems.
During his involvement with KAAMA Racing, throttleman and crew chief John Connor and Peter Weismann co-developed the KAAMA surface drive. The company continued to release and sell their own products, as special performance upgrades for pleasure boats.
Next to the in-house developed KAAMA engines, Betty Cook and John Connor race-tested all their products in the open class and ran the drives on both their KAAMA scarab 38 and Formula catamaran. Their race boats were perfect test benches for speed assessment, efficiency and durability.
KAAMA MARINE for MERCRUISER
The KAAMA Racing Team shares a long history with Mercruiser, having run their engines and drives in a majority of their races. The KAAMA boats were also test bench for many innovative technologies that, once proven on the racecourse became production standard.
From hull materials such as 49 Kevlar, to engine and propulsion systems by Mercruiser, KAAMA acted as exclusive development partner, always willing to put new technologies to the test.
The team regularly used Mercruiser’s “Lake X” facility for test runs and configurations assessments. Betty Cook and KAAMA were featured in several Mercruiser Advertisements.
KAAMA SPECIAL EDITIONS
The international success in the offshore arena paired with KAAMA MARINE's own product development lead to several product partnerships, extending the brands reach and introducing their race-proven developments to the consumer market.
Wellcraft licensed KAAMA's original 38' design (Scarab) from Larry Smith to manufacture several variants of the record-breaking hull. KAAMA MARINE upgrades became popular options to increase the boats performance, speed and efficiency. A combination of the 425 KAAMA engine and KAAMA surface drive, were popular upgrades for many Wellcraft owners. Consequently Wellcraft introduced a limited KAAMA Special Edition, which was fully equipped with KAAMA hardware, a choice of "competition type" engine variants and drives.
Formula stepped up thier partnership with KAAMA Racing Team by following Wellcraft and also introducing KAAMA Edition Formula boats. These boats were offered with exclusive paint jobs and the KAAMA surface drive system.
Up until today many Wellcraft and Formula models are still equipped with the KAAMA surface drive after having been run for more than 25 years.
Ultimately Chris-Craft engaged in a partnership with KAAMA Racing in order to set up a Mississippi River speed record. The catamaran was set up by KAAMA MARINE and powered by KAAMA POWER SYSTEMS engines and drives.