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Racing Categories

Inboard Hydro Racing

Get Ready to Fly

When you hear the roar of automotive engines and catch a glimpse of giant roostertails, chances are pretty good that inboards are on the water. As the largest category in the APBA, Inboard racing classes include both runabouts and hydroplanes that are fast, fun and LOUD. Classes span from wild Jersey Speed Skiffs (70mph) to supercharged 1,500 horsepower Grand Prix Hydroplanes (170 MPH). The minimum age for racing in this exciting category ranges from 14 to 21.

Inboard racing requires an unmatched level of teamwork and professionalism, as well as a family atmosphere with life long bonds between owners, drivers and crew members; and that is exactly what powerboat racing is all about.

APBA Racing

Do You Have What It Takes?

In the early days of powerboat racing, Inboard Endurance races were ultimate test; the 100-500 mile races challenged both man and machine to the limits of their abilities, and then challenged them to go further.  The rich history of Inboard Endurance racing and the marathon races of the 1960's and 70's have helped to shape this category to what it is today. While today's inboard endurance races typically run from 15min to 1hr, the attitude hasn't changed. Inboard endurance racers push themselves and their boats as hard as they can for as long as they can, and hope that it holds together. 

APBA Racing

It's Never Too Early To Start

APBA Junior Class racing is THE ultimate sport for aspiring racers! These small, lightweight boats are a great way for kids to safely experience the thrill of racing. Junior Hydroplanes and Runabout classes are open to kids starting at age 9. Safety is the number one priority in the APBA Junior classes. What’s number two? Having Fun! These classes have been developed specifically to give young drivers the experience needed to prepare them for the larger and faster classes in the adult categories. Once a young racer hits 16, he or she can move on to one of these adult categories. Nothing is more rewarding for a parent than watching their kid accomplish her or her goals in J-Class racing, and the lessons these kids learn along the way last a lifetime.  Junior Class 15A motors (legal for ALL Junior Classes) are available for purchase through the APBA Shop.  These can also come in kits where you can build the boat yourself or in ready to race rigs.  


Gearhead's Rejoice!

MOD racers aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty – The goal in this category is to pull every last bit of horsepower out of your engine. In Modified Outboard, the engine builder’s skill is just as important as the driver's. These boats are easily recognizable by their specially tuned pipes that make them as loud as they are fast. Because engines are constantly being modified to make the absolute most of what the rules allow, the compeitiion is always feirce.  Join the ranks of some of the best engine builders in the world, join Modified Outboard Racing.

Offshore Racing

The Biggest and Baddest

APBA Offshore racing features some of the biggest and fastest boats around. These Mega-horsepower catamarans and V-hulls are capable of speeds up to 180 MPH. The teamwork and professionalism of Offshore racing make it a class act and a thrill for spectators. Typically, a team of one driver and one throttleman battle the wind and waves of the world's toughest race courses. You must be 18 years-old to drive most Offshore classes, and must be with an experienced throttleman.

Outboard Drag Racing

Nitro Fuel, Rocket Speeds

Outboard Drag racing is a full-out race to the finish line; no turns to slow you down in these firebreathers. Huge engines (up to 300 HP) power Drag boats to speeds of 150 MPH or more. Drag is the only APBA category to allow nitro fuel, and it shows in the rocket speeds. Setup and engine building are crucial to success in Outboard Drag. Every second counts on the quarter-mile or 1/8-mile track. This category is unmatched for intense excitement and high performance.


Speed. Power. Tech

Capable of speeds over 140mph, the Outboard Performance Craft has come a long way since its beginnings as the “Outboard Pleasure Craft” class. This category of racing features some of the biggest, most powerful outboard engines in Powerboat Racing. OPC engines can range from off-the-shelf production engines to heavily modified, high tech engines built for world record speed. Today’s most high tech OPC race boats can start from a dead engine start, go 0 to 100mph in 6 seconds and turn 180 degrees with forces of up to 5 G’s. These tunnel boats are the fastest turning vehicle in the world!


Looking For Options? Look No Further...

Professional Racing Outboard (PRO) is the most diverse and electrifying category the APBA has to offer. With 19 classes, PRO boats speeds range from moderate to blazing fast, old tech to cutting edge tech and cost ranges from extremely affordable to substantial investments. Looking for power? Completion engines in the PRO category can run at upwards of 13,000 RPMs – compare that to a typical stock race car that runs at 7,000 RPMs and you’ll understand why we think water beats pavement any day. 

APBA Special Events

Catering to Every Racer's Needs

APBA Special Events are unique from every other established category of racing. These events can consist of special record-setting runs, new classes or other forms of racing that don’t fit into the primary categories. The categories and classes of tomorrow are founded and grown through Special Events.  Running in SE allows these new categories to formulate their rules, promote their style of racing and ultimately grow their membership. In the past, special event categories have varied from Electric Boats to Offshore marathon races.

APBA Stock Outboard Racing

Go FAST, Turn Left!

Picture yourself traveling at 60 MPH, not sitting in your 3,000 lb. Chevy, but crouching mere inches above the water, braced in a 125 lb. wooden boat, the wind whistling by your your helmet. Your left hand squeezes the throttle; your right hand is glued to the steering wheel. As the boat skims over the surface, your slightest movement affects your ride over the ever-changing contour of the water. Now picture yourself surrounded by 11 other boats, just inches apart. Rough water jolts you and the other boats' spray drenches you;  you wait anxiously for your shot to pass your closest opponent, pushing your mind, will and body to the limit. 

APBA Super Light Tunnel Racing

ThunderCat Racing USA

Known as ThunderCat Racing around the world, Superlight Tunnel Boat races are unlike any other race event in the APBA. These catamaran-style inflatable boats can race in rough waters that other categories could never dream of participating in. Want to see some air time and crazy maneuvering? Look no further. Each boat in this series carries a specifically designated driver and co-driver, with the driver handling the throttle and steering while the co-driver shifts his or her weight around the boat to keep it stable. Join the Fun - Race SLT.

APBA Unlimited Racing

Welcome to the Big Show

Unlimited hydroplanes are the fastest, most spectacular racing category in APBA. If you’re a fan of motorsports and want to experience for yourself the best in power boat racing, then plan a trip to the next unlimited race. These are the world’s fastest racing boats; capable of speeds over 200 MPH and throwing roostertails behind them as high as 300 feet. Powered by the same turbine engines that once powered our military’s Chinook helicopters and running on Jet-A fuel, Unlimited engines are capable of pumping out 3,000 horsepower.

APBA Vintage & Historic Class

Preserving the Tradition

The V&H category is about more than just racing - it’s about bringing together multiple generations of racers who love the sport and enjoy sharing experiences of the past 100 years of racing with the entire race community. These boats are as beautiful as they are powerful and members are always willing to share the story of their boat, and all the amazing history of the APBA. These owners and drivers bring the APBA’s racing history to life by showing their boats to the public both on shore and on the water. Fans attending a V&H event for the first time will be amazed at how far powerboat racing has come over the years, and equally amazing is the APBA’s dedication to preserving the history that helped shape the motor racing world to what it is today.