U.S. Chrome has been providing high performance coatings since 1940. It's not a tag line for us, we live it! When it comes to the performance demands of the racing industry, US Chrome is the one company, top racing companies look to for high performance coatings, to give them the racer's edge. It is especially true for offshore powerboat racing and our client Mercury Racing. Their need for speed in their offshore powerboat racing is beyond obvious. But breaking high performance barriers is easier said than done, but they did, and here's how.
The engineers at Mercury Racing (Fond du Lac, WI) wanted to create the world’s most powerful inboard recreational marine engine, setting a goal of 1350 HP. In the process, they exceeded their own expectations and developed the 1650 Race Sterndrive, a state-of-the-art, turbo-charged, 32 valve V-8 engine that runs on pure 112 Octane plus race gas. It is the most powerful production engine Mercury Racing has ever offered. Critical to achieving this breakthrough was collaboration with U.S. Chrome’s Wisconsin plant team on a “linerless” engine block maximizing displacement in all eight cylinder bores.
Typical racing engine designs call for iron lining of the bores, but U.S. Chrome felt that performance could be achieved with its NiCom plating (an electro-composite coating consisting of a nickel metal matrix with hard particulate dispersed uniformly within it). Its process electroplates nickel in the presence of hard particulates, specifically silicon carbide, under closely controlled conditions that permit the hard particulate to co-deposit with the nickel. NiCom offers increased wear resistance over standard hard chromium plating.
Incredibly, the NiCom plating of the bores was so successful that Mercury Racing was able to boost horsepower beyond its goal of 1350, all the way to 1650. What’s more, plating vs. lining led to added benefits such as improved durability, oil retention, and better frictional properties overall.
Mercury Racing unveiled the new 1650 at the 2013 Miami International Boat Show, generated a ton of industry buzz, and had to limit availability to professional racing teams only. Of course, the QC4v is for select customers, the first being the Miss GEICO racing team.
Marc Granet, driver for the Miss GEICO catamaran noted at the time of signing, “This is more than just the best-known offshore racing team running the latest and greatest power from the world’s leading high-performance marine engine builder. This is two 825-pound gorillas teaming up to form one 1,650-pound gorilla.”
According to Scott Reath, of U.S. Chrome, “The QC4v platform is an engineering marvel and we are proud to have been a critical part of it.” Erik Christiansen, Mercury Racing’s GM and project team head, notes “Reliability is always your greatest concern during development and achieving it is a balancing act. We’ve changed some of the base internal components, upgraded the crank train, added larger turbos, and remapped the computer control system.”
For more information, contact: Mercury Racing, N7480 County Road UU, Fond du Lac, WI 54935, Phone: 920-921-5330, FAX: 920-921-6533, www.mercuryracing.com. Or: U.S. Chrome, 650 Oak Park Avenue, Fond du Lac, WI 54935, Phone: (920)922-5066, Fax: (920)922-5069 www.uschrome.com.