Racing into the Future

Mercury Racing opened the new millennium with a new identity, a new logo and a new mission. As its president, Fred Kiekhaefer moved to erase the company's image as the "sugar daddy of racing" to instead position Mercury Racing as the maker of the most innovative products for recreational performance applications.

To demonstrate the durability of its low-emissions, direct-injection two-stroke consumer outboards, Mercury Racing entered multiple teams in the widely acclaimed French endurance race, "24 Hours of Rouen," winning in 2000 with its new 2.5 Litre OptiMax 200XS consumer performance outboard. Two years later, Mercury Racing broke its own speed records in six American Power Boat Association Pro Stock Bass Kilo low-emissions classes.

Performance boats kept getting bigger and boaters wanted to go faster, so Mercury Racing returned to the big horsepower market in a revolutionary way. The 1075 SCi, featuring an integrated supercharged electronic fuel injection system (SCi), delivered automotive-like running quality and eliminated the hassles associated with large performance-boat engines.

New innovations continued to appear, such as Racing's noise-reducing X-haust system, but nothing rocked the high-performance world like the Quad Cam, Four Valve (QC4v) 1350 sterndrive unveiled in 2010. The "Quadzilla" was developed secretly under the direction of engineer Erik Christensen. Built on Mercury Racing's own aluminum block, the engine required a new, heavier-duty M8 drive, equipped with an electro hydraulic transmission. The QC4v, now also available in 1100 and 565 horsepower versions, performs so much like a car engine that Mercury Racing has made the QC4v available as a crate engine for the automotive aftermarket.

Steve Schoderer (Mercury Years: 1971 – present)

Growing up in the New York/New Jersey "powerboat corridor" and working as a kid in local marinas, Steve Schoderer was pretty much destined for a job in the marine industry.

He started with Mercury Marine's distribution center in East Brunswick, N.J., in 1971 and applied to attend Mercury Service School. His father, Jack, spent seven years with the company in sales and service.

"The early 70s were exciting times in terms of growth, depth of product and our ability to respond to the market." said Schoderer, who sees Mercury in the same position today.

Now a sales application manager, Schoderer works with boat builders to integrate Mercury products and optimize boat performance. "Nobody in the marine industry has the ability to do what we do," he said. "The challenges are different, but they're still challenges. When you go in knowing you can make a difference, that's the fun."