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Cigarette Racing Sold to Entrepreneur John H. Ruiz & Miami-Based Lionheart Capital

By: Scott Way

Cigarette Racing 59' Tirranna
The Cigarette Racing 59' Tirranna

Legendary high-performance brand Cigarette Racing has been acquired by Miami-based entrepreneur John H. Ruiz and Lionheart Capital. The terms of the deal were not made public.


The Cigarette Racing team was founded by legendary racer Don Aronow in 1969 and has immeasurable status on as one of the brands developed during the heydey of Thunderboat Row. The brand enjoyed a transformation and revitalization under owner Skip Braver, who took the reins in 2002, who helped the company ink major deals with brands like Mercedes AMG and Ducati Motorcycles. The moves put the impressive go-fast boating style before a new and expanding potential clientele. The high-performance lineup will now come under the tutelage of racing enthusiast and billionaire entpreneur Ruiz and Lionheart Capital.


“Cigarette Racing is such an iconic American name in the world of boating, that it is truly an honor to be a part of the continuation of its legacy that's been going strong for over 50 years,” said Ruiz. “I believe that the brand is on the verge of a new wave of acceleration. [We] look forward to taking it into unchartered waters.”


"Ophir and I both are excited about Cigarette Racing and what we can contribute to the company," said John H. Ruiz, co-owner of Cigarette Racing. Ruiz, who brings expertise in building hugely successful technology platforms, is excited about incorporating the most cutting-edge technological advancements, innovations and safety features to take performance to the next level. "I have been an avid fan for decades. I personally own numerous Cigarette hand-crafted powerboats and believe that the brand is on the verge of a new wave of acceleration. Cigarette Racing is such an iconic American name in the world of boating, that it is truly an honor to be a part of the continuation of its legacy that's been going strong for over 50 years, and look forward to taking it into unchartered waters."


“After 20 years of building the Cigarette product line and brand, I look forward to seeing Ophir and John's vision for the company become a reality,” said Braver in a statement. “Lionheart Capital and John H. Ruiz share my commitment to quality and performance, as well as my passion for Cigarette's brand, and I’m confident in their ability to take the company to even greater heights based on their own successful ventures, resources and business knowledge."


According to Lionheart founder and CEO Ophir Sternberg, "I am thrilled about our acquisition of Cigarette Racing and believe that Cigarette Racing's brand is daring, defiant and pushes barriers. With that, my partner John H. Ruiz and I, look forward to taking the company into its next chapter where we build upon the legacy of the brand and create significant value in the future through powerful partnerships and unique collaborations, production amplification and increased distribution channels."


Cigarette Racing celebrated its 50 year anniversary in 2019 with the launch of the impressive 59-foot Tirranna . The boat was designed in collaboration with famed Italian architect and designer Giorgio Cassetta, who has an extensive resume designing luxury boats and super yachts for Benetti and Lurssen, among others.


You can check out its wildly impressive engineering of the 59' Tirranna in the video below:

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