Spirit of Qatar
Driver Profile: Dave Villwock
Dave Villwock would not be denied in 2011. On the strength of three wins in six races, Villwock became the all-time winningest Unlimited driver. He concluded the year with a total of 65 race victories since 1992.
In 2011, Dave was National High Point Driver and triumphed in the APBA Gold Cup at Detroit, the Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup at the Tri-Cities (Washington), and the Bill Muncey Cup at San Diego.
In 2012, Villwock added wins in the season opener at Madison, Indiana and the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit, the tenth time his name has been added to the historic trophy.
Villwock now leads the late Bill Muncey, who accumulated 62 victories between 1956 and 1981, and the retired Chip Hanauer, who won 61 races between 1979 and 1999.
Over the years, Villwock has driven some of the sport’s greatest boats. At the very first Unlimited race in which he ever competed, Dave steered the underrated COORS DRY to victory on San Diego’s Mission Bay in 1992.
With PICO AMERICAN DREAM, he claimed first-place in eight races, including one Gold Cup and the National Championship. As pilot of MISS BUDWEISER, he won 37 races, four Gold Cups. and six National Championships. And, with SPIRIT OF QATAR (formerly ELLSTROM E-LAM PLUS), he has to date won 22 races, five Gold Cups, and two National Championships.
Team Profile: Ellstrom Racing
The Ellstrom family–consisting of father Sven, sons Erick and Tom, and daughter Lisa–made its debut on the Unlimited racing scene as the sponsor of an experimental four-point hydroplane, owned by Glen Davis, in 1994. The next year, the family acquired a boat of its own and, under the leadership of crew chief Erick Ellstrom, the U-96 has racked up 20+ victories since 2000 and won the National High Point Team Championship in 2005, 2007 & 2011.
Despite a trio of first-place finishes in 2006, MISS E-LAM PLUS was unable to defend her High Points crown. However, with legendary driver Dave Villwock behind the wheel, the Ellstroms were determined to reclaim their spot atop the leaderboard in 2007. And they did.
The Ellstroms followed a reduced schedule in 2008 and only appeared at two races but still took first-place at their hometown Chevrolet Cup on Seattle’s Lake Washington.
In 2010, racing as the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, the team scored victories in the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit, the Air Guard Championship in San Diego and the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar on the way to strong second place finish in 2010 Season High Points.
The 2011 season showed the Ellstrom team back on top after a rocky beginning of the season in Madison, where Dave Villwock was involved in one of the most dramatic accidents in hydroplane history when the U-96 Spirit of Qatar spun out in the first turn and was broadsided by Steve David in the Oh Boy! Oberto, severely damaging both hulls, but fortunately resulting only in a couple broken ribs for David. With only five days until the start of the 2011 Gold Cup event in Detroit, the team worked around the clock to rebuild the boat, allowing Villwock to drive to what was probably the team’s most hard-fought victory ever. Two more wins in Tri-Cities and San Diego helped deliver the team’s third National High Point Team Championship.
- Follow the Team:
- Boat Name: Spirit of Qatar
- Team Website: http://www.ellstromracing.com
- Owner: Marine Technologies
- Founded: 1994
- Home Port: Seattle, WA
- Driver: Dave Villwock
- Boat Colors: White/Maroon
- Primary Sponsor: Qatar
- Associate Sponsors: 5 Axis Industries
- Engine Builder: Whispering Turbines
- Crew Chief: Erick Ellstrom
Sven Ellstrom II
- Length: 29' 4"
- Width: 14'
- Weight: 6350 lbs.
- Engine: Lycoming T-55/L-7 Turbine
- 2012 Boat Points: 6845
- 2012 Driver Points: 6845
- 2012 Season Finish: 3rd
(1) 2000 – Tri-Cities, WA (Columbia Cup); driver-Mark Evans
(2) 2001 – Seattle, WA (General Motors Cup); driver-Nate Brown
(3) 2001 – San Diego, CA (Bill Muncey Cup); driver-Nate Brown
(4) 2002 – Madison, IN (Indiana Governor’s Cup); driver-Nate Brown
(5) 2002 – Tri-Cities, WA (Columbia Cup); driver-Nate Brown
(6) 2004 – St. Clair, MI (St. Clair International Trophy); driver-Terry Troxell
(7) 2005 – Madison, IN (Indiana Governor’s Cup); driver-J.W. Myers
(8) 2005 – Tri-Cities, WA (Columbia Cup); driver-Dave Villwock
(9) 2005 – San Diego, CA (Bill Muncey Cup); driver-Dave Villwock
(10) 2006 – Evansville, IN (Thunder On The Ohio); driver-Dave Villwock
(11) 2006 – Madison, IN (Indiana Governor’s Cup)
(12) 2006 – Tri-Cities, WA
(13) 2007 – Evansville, IN (Thunder on the Ohio)
(14) 2007 – Madison, IN (Indiana Governor’s Cup)
(15) 2007 – Detroit, MI (APBA Gold Cup)
(16) 2007 – Tri-Cities, WA (Columbia Cup)
(17) 2008 Seattle, WA (Seafair)
(18) 2009 Madison, IN (Madison Regatta)
(19) 2009 Detroit, MI (APBA Gold Cup)
(20) 2009 Seattle, WA (Seafair)
(21) 2010 Detroit, MI (APBA Gold Cup)
(22) 2010 – San Diego, CA (Air Guard Championship
(23) 2010 – Doha, Qatar (Oryx Cup UIM World Championship)
(24) 2011 – Detroit, MI (APBA Gold Cup)
(25) 2011 – Kennewick, WA (Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup)
(26) 2011 – San Diego, CA (Air National Guard Championship)
(27) 2012 – Madison, IN (Lucas Oil Madison Regatta)
(28) 2012 – Detroit, MI (APBA Gold Cup)