Mario Rankin is the Caymanian businessman and powerboat racing enthusiast heading the 345Racing team. Rankin is leading a new drive to place Cayman amongst the elite in international powerboat racing.
In an exclusive interview with PRW Rankin shared his plans for the UIM Class 1 World Championships and announced that following a successful meeting with The Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism & Transport of the Cayman Islands they are all set to host a round of the World Championship in September 2023 based at the world famous Seven Mile Beach corridor.
As a kid I lived my dreams through the pages of books at the book stand in the supermarket. Now I am at the heels of one of my dreams and in full control of its reality representing the Cayman Islands at one of the largest offshore power boat racing events in the world with some of the fastest boats on the planet.
Rankin’s love with powerboat racing came about through his friendship with Andreas Ove Ugland, the 64-year-old Norwegian shipping magnate and investment banker whose offshore racing exploits won him both the Beaverbrook and Needles trophies in a phenomenally successful career.
When Ugland retired from international racing he brought that passion to Cayman when he founded the ‘Million Dollar Poker Run,’ an event that Rankin actually won the last time it took place. Two years ago, Ugland died after a short illness, two days before his 65th birthday.
Although an extremely rich man, worth hundreds of millions, he contributed immensely to local charities and worthy causes. He was a patron of various charities and institutions in Cayman, including the National Gallery. He was also well renowned as a classic car collector, and creator of the Cayman Motor Museum in West Bay. Outside the museum sits a Buzzi built Pro Vee hull that was raced by Christian Zaborowski.
Just recently Uglands wife Natalie introduced Rankin to the Zabo Racing Team owner Jan Zaborowski, Christian’s father, who was looking sell his team along with the ex-Fazza boat from Dubai’s Victory Team that had been running in the colours of Zabo Racing.
Rankin together with Jason Butcher purchased the team. Butcher did not hesitate at the opportunity to invest in a boat racing team that would allow him the opportunity of placing the Cayman Islands on the sports tourism stage. Rankin spoke about future plans that they have for the team.
We chose to call the new team 345 Racing as it’s a cornerstone brand in the Cayman and for the 2023 season it will become a two-boat team competing at the world championships. We are now planning to train local drivers to race the boat. I have spoken to our driver Miles Jennings, and he has agreed to help teach them and literally get them up to speed.
When Powerboat P1 CEO Azam Rangoonwala spoke about the prospect of racing in the Cayman Islands he said,
The opportunity to race internationally is extremely attractive to Powerboat P1. The heritage of UIM Class 1 is truly global and it has always been our intention to look further afield whilst maintaining a strong presence in the USA.