Powerboat Grand Prix transforms Lido Beach for 34th year

- The 34th Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix is this weekend.

As usual, thousands of fans are expected to pack Lido Beach to watch some of the fastest boats in the world take to the water.

Steve Curtis is one of the competitors who’ll be hitting the water. His racing philosophy is straight-forward - and defines why people love this event.

"My main role is to race the boat and make it go as fast as possible," Curtis said.

He’s the throttle man on the Miss Geico, one of the most well-known powerboats in the world. The bright yellow beast will hit speeds of 170 miles an hour, just beyond the crowds off Lido Beach.

"It’s a real wild feeling.To run anything that fast is pretty cool," Curtis said. "On the long bend, as you're coming into the beach, you can see thousands and thousands of people on the beach so I know it’s going to be crowded. Get there early to be a good spot."

"This is probably the Indy 500 of boat racing if not bigger and we’re excited," said Azam Rangoonwala, CEO of Powerboat P1.

Events and races are planned all weekend long. The races will also be streamed lived on Facebook.

"The economics of this event it's about $38 million. It brings in around 18,000 room nights to Sarasota," said Rangoonwala.

Speed, sand, and surf; it’s all happening this weekend in Sarasota.

"Sarasota is a beautiful area [and] one of the nicest places we race in the world. I did one of my first races here in the 80s. Really looking forward to racing here again this year," said Curtis.

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