The wait is over … the “Steeler” GP-777 team has made their choice and will go with Andrew Tate who will be in the driver’s seat of the 2019 championship boat next season in the Hydroplane Racing League.
The talented driver from Walled Lake, Michigan, succeeds Jimmy King, who won his fourth career Grand Prix title in the “Steeler” on September 8 in Beauharnois, and will occupy the seat of the new “Pleasure Seeker” GP-2 of Roger Mahan in 2020.
Tate who celebrated his 30th birthday on August 12th told the Journal Saint-François,
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to drive for the great Steeler team. I’m very excited and I’m already dreaming of the next season. “There will be very high expectations for the team and me. I hope to be able to meet those expectations. I succeed a legend in Jimmy King and we know about the success of Bert Henderson in the “Steeler”. I am ready to live with the pressure coming with driving of this hydroplane that marked history since the return of the class Grand Prix (in 2007) , “ commented the 2018 Unlimited class champion driving Les Schwab U-9 property of Mike Jones.
In fact during the telephone conversation that the “Journal Saint-François” had with Andrew Tate the charismatic driver emphasized that he will devote himself entirely to HRL events with the “Steeler” GP-777 team next year. “I will drive wherever HRL goes, it will be my priority. I spoke with Mike Jones, it is possible that the U-9 team (now Delta / Real Track U-1) take a break from the circuit “Unlimited” in 2020. Otherwise, it will be a restricted schedule with a few races said the man who will be back behind the wheel of the H-300 “Penzoil” with which he won the H-350 finals in Cambridge (Maryland) and Detroit (Michigan) this season.
Asked about the possibility of running against Richard Hearn’s GP-14 team whose engines are the responsibility of his father, Mark Tate, the son replied, “It has been a frustrating year for all of us on the GP-14 team. The plans are not stopped for 2020 but if the boat comes back, it will be with another driver. Powerboat racing is a big family. I am often on the racecourse with friends and maybe the GP-14 will be driven by a friend who will try to beat me to win for my father. It’s a unique chance to drive the Steeler and my dad understands that I want to take this opportunity. That’s the nature of the sport. ”
It goes without saying that the arrival of “Tater” in the Steeler stable will pose new challenges for other drivers. Andrew Tate has won 3 Grand Prix Finals with Randy English’s “Fat Chance Too” GP-101 (now Brandon Kennedy’s GP-25) since he entered the Grand Prix class 5 years ago in Tonawanda (NY) and Detroit in 2015 and Beauharnois in 2016.
Andrew Tate comes from a family whose origins in powerboat racing date back to the 1930s. His great-grandfather, Joe Tate Sr., his grandfather, Joe Tate Jr., and his father, Mark Tate, a great champions in the history of powerboat racing, all predating Andrew, who made his “outboard” debut in 2001 at the age of 11. His mother Sandy Wray Tate a native of California was a hydroplane driver in the ’80s and’ 90s in the 2.5-liter class driving the Country Girl.
“Things happen fast at 200 miles an hour on the water (in Unlimited) and anyone who is scared at this speed has no place in a hydroplane,” Andrew Tate told a Detroit reporter when the “U” and Grand Prix boats returned to the Detroit River a few years ago.