Friday, 5 March: Norway’s Marit Strømøy will become the first woman to race in the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship for over a decade when she makes her debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro, 26-28 March.

Welmax Offshore Racing has confirmed that the team will run a two-boat entry in their bid for title honours in 2010, with Strømøy joining her fellow Norwegians Jorn Tandberg and Kolbjorn Selmer and the second newcomer to the team, Italian, Giorgio Manuzzi.

Born in Sandefjord, Norway and now living in Oslo, thirty-three-year-old Strømøy made her racing debut in 1989 at the age of twelve. In 1993 she started racing in S-550, winning the European Championship three times (1996, 1998, 1999) and the Nordic Championship twice (1996, 1999). In 2000 she moved up to race in F-2000, and was voted ‘rookie of the year’, finishing second in the UAE Presidents Cup in 2002, second in the Nordic Championship in 2005 and third in the European Championship in 2007. She became the first woman to compete in the F1 World Powerboat Championship in 2007, taking third overall in the Team Cup in 2009. She has also competed in the legendary Rouen 24-hour race, finishing on the podium three times (second in 2009 and third in 2006/7).

This season Welmax Offshore Racing will be looking to build on an impressive 2009, which saw throttleman, Jorn Tandberg, team up with Kolbjorn Selmer to form a fearless partnership and enjoy a stellar first season together, taking five Grand Prix and two qualifying podiums, to finish third overall in the World and Edox Pole Position Championship standings.

Team Principal, Tandberg, started racing in ProVee in 2004, taking two podium finishes and the Norwegian title, winning the European title the following year. He made his Class 1 debut in 2005, taking his first podium at the Norwegian Grand Prix in Trondheim and his first Pole Position win in Dubai.

His first race win came in Arendal in 2006 and his second and third in Arendal and Mamaia-Constanta in 2008 to win the European Championship, and confirm his position as one of the sport’s top throttlemen.  

Kolbjorn made his first Class 1 appearance as a test driver in Oslo in 2007, making his Class 1 race debut at the Romanian Grand Prix and has also competed in the Norwegian ProVee Championship and V1 class.

2010 also sees Giorgio Manuzzi revising his early season plans and joining the Norwegian outfit. He made his Class 1 debut at the Egyptian Grand Prix in Porto Marina in 2007, competing in his first full season in 2008, taking his first podium with third place in the Mina Seyahi Grand Prix. Last year he took his second third-place finish, in the Norwegian Grand Prix.

The two-boat line-up will see the team running MTI- and Maritimo-designed and built hulls, both powered by Mercury V8 power-plants, but the team has stated that it will not finalise its pairings until they arrive in Brazil.