At the 2014 Miami International Boat Show in February, Mercury Racing introduced a product that flew under the radar of most show visitors but was big news for in-the-know go-fast boat lovers of means.
That product—the M8 “R” drive—is actually a refinement of the M8 drive that pairs with the company’s 1,100-, 1,350- and 1,650-hp quad overhead cam turbocharged engines.
The new drive has an enhancement in the gear case profile for improved efficiency and performance. Subtle changes were made to the M8 drive’s original structure. The Fond Du Lac, Wis., high-performance marine power and propulsion leader reduced the size of the torpedo (diameter and length) and enhanced the shape of the skeg.
According to a company representatives, this eliminates the need for blueprinting, an aftermarket process in which the tiny imperfections in a drive, from gear case to skeg, are removed. The result is a more efficient unit that leaves “cleaner water” for the propeller and reaps top speed, acceleration, and overall handling gains. (The blueprinting or “lab finishing” process in Mercury Racing parlance is typically offered for propellers, but in recent years has made its way to stern drives.)
Among the first boats to be outfitted with M8 “R” drives is a Dave’s Custom Boats M-35 catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 1350s. Owned by Southern California performance boaters Dave and Buffie Megugorac, the 35-footer will see most of its action Arizona’s Lake Havasu. The couple took delivery of the boat in late June; reports on its performance are not yet in. That said, M-35 cats have a solid track record of performance with Mercury Racing QVC4-platform engines.
Without question, the owners are expecting big things, so much so that they had DCB embroider “R” throughout the six-seat cat’ blend of 50/50 blend of Alcantara and Ultraleather upholstery.