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  1. #1

    Mercury Announces New X-Site Test Facility

    Mercury Announces New X-Site Test Facility

    Lake X and Placida Operations Integrated at Panama City, Fla., Site

    -- A Mercury Marine Press Release --

    FOND DU LAC, Wis. The sun will set on Mercury's Lake X operations for the final time March 26 when Mercury Marine leaves the legendary test center to open a new 8.4-acre, integrated research-and-development site on

    Watson Bayou near Panama City. Lake X served as Mercury and Mercury Racing's premier proving grounds the past 47 years, providing confidentiality for the company's secret, and often industry-changing, test efforts.

    Lake X has also provided a home base for Mercury Racing's offshore race support team. Race teams, OEM boat builders and dealers have valued Lake X because of its secluded location and access to Mercury Racing's on-site rigging and technical support.

    The new facility at Watson Bayou, recently named X-Site will feature multiple in-water slips, as well as an office, laboratory and boat-rigging building. Former Lake X operations, including offshore race support, will be based there.

    "Mercury has a rich history from its decades at Lake X, but we have simply outgrown it," said Fred Kiekhaefer, president of Mercury Racing and son of Mercury founder Carl Kiekhaefer. "As a kid, when I was driving endurance there, it seemed like hours to get around the lake. At today's boat speeds, it's seconds! This has become a limitation in the services we can provide. Since we could not stretch the lake, we needed a new X-Site."

    X-Site is scheduled to open by April 14, though the exact date will depend on the progress of construction.

    Mercury selected Watson Bayou near Panama City over 52 other potential sites based on criteria that included realistic boating conditions, available marine technical personnel and a degree of seclusion.

    Watson Bayou also offers suitable calm and rough conditions in both saltwater and freshwater, which will allow the same facility and staff members to test everything from high-end offshore race boats to small outboard-powered tenders. Additionally, a combined testing facility adheres to the company's lean-thinking philosophy and migration toward increased integration.

    Lake X Operations Manager Bill Harris will oversee Mercury Racing's customer support and offshore race activities at X-Site.

    "Because of the high-speed capabilities of today's offshore race
    boats, Mercury Racing has outgrown Lake X's usefulness," said Harris. "We look forward to the vast amount of water available to us in Panama City, along with the state-of-the-art building that will feature drive and engine-rebuilding, and our legendary rigging capabilities, once construction is complete."

    Bill Nesslar, manager of Mercury's former saltwater test facility in
    Placida, Fla., will oversee all Mercury production research-and-development testing at the new Panama City site. John Sherlock will oversee Mercury Racing's research-and-development testing.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails mercury_racing.jpg  
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    lost in GA
    So what are they going to do with Lake X that place is mythical.
    Pin it to win it

    99 Triad V-21 Mercury Racing 280

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Central Florida
    The Lake X property is owned by Ken Kirchman. Based on his reputation, I'd guess he will do anything he pleases with it

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Menomonee Falls WI


    Well That spins it in a good light but I cant help but think this is a huge loss.
    It makes sense with regard to offshore boats which outsells and out profits the outboards but the history and legend of lakeX just cant be understated.
    Its always sad when something thatís considered and institution is gone...
    1980 Ventrua 2
    Looper V4 Outlaw
    Ventura Bros

    Bomber Brothers

  5. #5

    Bygone Era

    Propnut's Lake X photos
    Some photos from the early days of Lake X

  6. is the rumor true about the development of a 2.5 optimax (265hp) at this new lake x location

  7. #7

    New Scream & Fly Club House

    Just think our very own test facility. 12 months a year boating.
    Sean, 19 J-Craft ,225 Johnson
    If everything seems to be going well,you have obviously overlooked something

  8. #8
    I really wish Greg would buy it and turn it into a private ScreamandFly club. I'd probably be willing to move down and live there and keep it runnin' smoothly.

    When I was there I kept feelin' like I could feel Carl around everywhere. It's a damn shame that something wasn't worked out for Merc to stay there, whatever the reason they're leaving.

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    St. Pete Bch., FL
    8.4 acres is not very large, espeically since outgrowing lake x was a reported motivation. Is this number correct?


    96' STV Euro

    Smarta$$ of the
    Sunshine Syndicate,

    How to upload pics (click here)

    Quote Originally Posted by jphii View Post
    Well then, give her a $50 bottle of booze and don't let her know about the hookers, or what you spend on them
    Quote Originally Posted by 1BadAction View Post
    oh no. i just realized I am the voice of reason on a thread. i am so done, RIP 1Bad.

  10. #10
    I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty sure it was considerably larger than 8 acres.

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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    North Bay, Parry Sound
    new 8.4-acre, integrated research-and-development site on
    The 8.4 refers to the property foot print of the new facility -ie land and buildings.

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