WITH the motor racing season slowing over the holiday period, Aussie racing legend Russell Ingall is looking forward to spending quality time in his newly renovated Riviera M400.
Powered by a pair of Mercury Diesel TDI 370hp engines with Bravo 3 drives, and controlled via Mercury’s Joystick Piloting system, the boat has been a special project for Gold Coast local Russell who’s particularly proud of the outcome. “I made a ridiculous offer for the boat,” Russell said. “I got it but it hadn’t seen much love. “I thought the work might take a couple of months but it took twice as long. “I’m very happy with the results though. “It looks like a brand-new boat and feels like one too. “It’s economical, quiet and has tonnes of grunt.”
The 2005 V8 Supercar champ and a two-time Bathurst winner, Russell still races regularly but is finding more time for pursuits beyond the track. Working with the team at Boat Service Gold Coast in Coomera, Russell pulled out the Riviera’s old MerCruiser 496s and replaced them with the far more powerful, efficient and reliable TDI 370s.
“These Mercury diesel engines are really impressive,” Russell said. “They’ve taken the best of modern European car technology and adapted it for the marine environment, so you have engines that have a far better power-to-weight ratio and are seriously durable.” On-water testing has shown Russell made the right decision.
The big boat now has a top speed of 34 knots at 4150rpm, with both engines combined using 158 litres of fuel an hour. Cruising at a very comfortable 25 knots and 3200rpm, fuel consumption drops to an impressive 100 litres per hour, providing a range of 352km from the main 800-litre tank. To improve the boat even further, Russell opted for Mercury’s Joystick Piloting system, which makes it so easy to dock and manoeuvre in tight spots.“The joystick system is just amazing,” Russell said.
“It makes me feel like I’ve been driving boats all my life instead of cars. “You can go forwards, backwards, sideways and the GPS anchoring feature just sticks the boat in the one spot – fantastic.” During the refit, Russell also had the dash reconfigured with up-to-the-minute electronics including Digital Throttle and Shift controls, which provide super-smooth shifting and lightning-fast throttle response, and a VesselView 702 display that puts real-time data on boat and engine performance right at Russell’s fingertips.
With the boat now dialled in perfectly, Russell is planning a family holiday to Moreton Island. “For me, it confirms you don’t have to spend big money on a new boat,” he said.
“Repowering a second-hand boat can give it a completely new lease of life and you have fun doing it.”