Stephen Kildahl certainly knows his way around a powerboat. After all, he’s been piloting one since long before he could drive a car.
“I started racing when I was 9 years old, and moved up to the pro circuit when I was 16 years old,” says the Estero, Florida resident and second-year Team E3 Racing Tier 1 winner. “When I moved up to the pro circuit, I had to sign a release waiver. This is because they were allowing me to race under the minimum age requirement, which is 18.”
Kildahl quickly proved himself a definite exception to the rule while going deck-to-deck against a pool of older and more experienced racers on the Super Boat International Offshore Boat Racing Circuit. Now entering his seventh season, he remains the youngest full time driver on the circuit and has racked up 15 career wins including three Florida championships, two national championships and two world championships. In 2012, Kildahl’s Scott Free Racing team, which includes father Steve Kildahl as the throttleman, finished second in the nationals standings and third in the Key West World Championships.
Kildahl currently races a 30-foot Phantom with a 525HP racing engine, hitting breakneck speeds of up to 95 miles per hour. While that’s a dangerous enough speed on land, it can be particularly perilous on the water — No set course features and a racing surface that literally changes with the winds and tides. Plus, while auto racers handle both the speed and the steering, powerboat racing is a team effort. One member pilots the craft while another mans the throttle. If one sees something the other doesn’t or makes an unexpected decision, it could mean the difference in winning, losing or even finishing the race.
E3 Spark Plugs congratulates Kildahl on an already spectacular racing career and a solidly competitive future.