Thanks for the great info Pitkis!
Coincidently, I have been looking at the "Scream & Fly" TECHNICAL (not General) site over the last week or so for just this type of information about the Verado engines. There is a good thread but you will need to look back a couple of pages or so to find it.
The boys on the site are primarily interested in the development of race engines and their reliability. The seemingly well-informed site administrator thinks that a race version will be available quite soon. There is also a view expressed on the site that 100hp per litre is a good output for a "normal" engine and that today's standard "go-faster" kit could add perhaps another 40%.
On this basis, it looks like a 300hp or even 350hp version could easily be achieved by modifying the "chip" - but then I'm not a techie, so I am taking a simplistic view. BTW - What's the difference between a "turbo" and a "supercharger"? I believe that one is "driven" and the other is self-propelled, but what does this really mean?
There is some concern about the long-term effect of salt-laden air being sucked into the "whizzy" bits and there may also be some sort of initial problem with the lower gear (shades of Bravo drives perhaps?). However, I cannot believe that Mercury would cap its development budget at $100m and not spend a few dollars more on finding a solution.
I for one am 90% of the way towards choosing a Verado for Aries III, which will hopefully emerge in 2005 but may have to wait until 2006, when I hope to have a launch vehicle. (What else would you use with a "rocket"?).
Still, if it has to be 2006 - who knows - we could have a 350hp verado to play with by then!
AKA "Minty" on non-RIB sites