#77 Lucas Oil
2018 Great Race - Trinidad & Tobago
World Champion Powerboat Racer & Guinness World Record Holder
Adrenaline fuels racing, but few racing sports can compare to the adrenaline rush that accompanies racing on the worlds biggest race track - the ocean. Veteran race boat captain, Nigel Hook, knows this perhaps better than anyone else today. Yes, that’s Captain Hook. But as for the popular character from Peter Pan, the similarities end there. Hook races some of the fastest boats on the open ocean.
Hook was born to race powerboats. His family has been powerboat racers and builders since long before Hook’s birth. His late uncle Roger Hook designed, built, and raced his own powerboats in the United Kingdom. In fact, Roger Hook was the British National Champion in 1968 and 1969 and in 1974, Hook co-piloted his first race with his Uncle Roger in a boat that Roger built. Today, Hook races in Class 1 of the APBA/UIM Powerboat P1 race series.
Nigel Hook racing a solid red boat is probably familiar as Nigel has raced red for 24 years (the last 17 years as #77 Lucas Oil and the previous 7 years as #7 Citgo Supergard), but what may not be as obvious is that he has always been searching for the fastest, best handling, twin-engine ocean mono-hull using the latest technology.
In the early nineties, Hook raced the first stepped hull offshore race boat, a 37’ Scarab, which was an oven-cured epoxy composite built by a former America’s Cup boat builder. It was during this time frame that Hook first witnessed the brilliance of the Ocke Mannerfelt designed “Bat Boats” as they animated the existing American single-engine offshore class which had been dominated by Hook in this red 37’ Scarab called “Archer Marine”. Hook took note and approached Ocke many times to discuss building a full size twin-engine monohull.
The opportunity to race a Mannerfelt design, the Vector V40R, came in 2010 when Hook joining forces with Michael Silfverberg raced in the Ocean Grand Prix series. The Vector performed so well that the duo set about specifying their new 100% race boat design to be penned by Mannerfelt, as Pininfarina does for Ferrari. Mannerfelt’s CAD drawings were exchanged in collaboration with John Cosker of Mystic Powerboats to add the canopy system and fare the top sides back to the bustle and rudder structure.
Inspiration for the looks of the SilverHook 48GP was the Jaguar E-Type who Enzo Ferrari was quoted as saying was “the most beautiful car ever made”, and you can see the resemblance from many angles. Once completed the CAD file was run through the McLaren Formula One wind tunnel courtesy of Ben Woods, Chief Aerodynamicist at the time. Even prior to the output results Woods had forecast the slippery smooth design would far surpass what he had seen from the existing fleet of offshore race boats. Sure enough the coefficient of drag was very impressive and with minor tweaks the CAD file was passed along to Cape Coral, FL.-based Marine Concepts, which tackled the tough task of tooling the curvaceous hull and deck. From there, the process went quickly and smoothly with the molds being delivered to Mystic Powerboats, who was chosen as the lamination partner to construct the all-carbon composite, epoxy, autoclave baked boat—all in less than three months. Weighing in at 8,000 pounds, the SilverHook is equipped with BPM surface drives, a Latham Marine rudder/steering system and a pair of Mercury Racing 1075 supercharged V8 engines.
The SilverHook 48GP hit the race scene in the turbulent waters of Malta during the first race of the 2011 European series competing against the best of the UIM Evolution class. “I was very excited and proud to race it. This is a purpose built race boat which started from a clean sheet of paper taking into account all the hulls I’ve raced. And when I say a clean sheet of paper, SilverHook was conceived 100% using state-of-the-art software” says Hook. And Hook knows a thing or two about race boats as he’s owned and or raced every brand that has won a championship in the last three decades.
So today Nigel Hook is now racing his own brand, a 48GP SilverHook, and he is planning to build more SilverHooks, both race and pleasure versions, and will be reinvesting in the development of ocean racing following the pattern trodden by Ferrari and particularly Bugatti. Both iconic brands fashioned first by success on the race track and then by funneling their commercial success back into racing.