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What is Lake X?

Lake X is a 1,440-acre lake in central Florida that Mercury Marine founder Carl Kiekhaefer purchased in 1957. The lake is surrounded by 10,000 acres of forest and swamp.

Kiekhaefer named the lake "Lake X" because it was close enough to his Orlando headquarters for convenience, but far enough away to keep it secret from competitors.

Mercury used Lake X for product development and publicity stunts. For example, in 1957, Mercury ran boats around a 5.8-mile course for 50,000 miles, 24 hours a day.

Mercury built seawalls, boat launches, work buildings, and a six-room "motel" at Lake X. The crew slept in trailers and ate in tents. They were under strict orders not to reveal anything about their activities at the lake.

Mercury Marine closed and sold Lake X to Kenneth Kirchman in 1984. Kirchman turned the property into a 10,426-acre nature preserve called the Kenneth Kirchman Foundation. The foundation's mission is to educate the public about Florida's ecology and wildlife.

Mercury Racing later leased the Lake from the Kirchman Foundation until 2004. It was closed until 2017 when Mercury and the Kirchman foundation made arrangement to reopen the facility to start using Lake X for product testing once again.

Most recently tunnel boat drivers who own APEX 200 Competition Outboards were invited for a private test session at the lake.

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