JLR’s Tech Partnership Helping Take Home America’s Cup
Jaguar Land Rover is lending its hand in a technological arms race by supporting Great Britain’s BAR sailing race team, who are fighting hard to win the 2017 America’s Cup. Winning is of great importance to GB, as they established the international sailing race in 1851, then lost it to the Americans for the next 100 plus years.
Britain’s most-decorated active sport sailor, Ben Ainslie, won the Cup in 2013 with Team Oracle. Soon after, he broke away from the championship crew to build Ben Ainslie Racing for a shot at the Auld Mug. He was quickly backed by world-class strategic partners like Jaguar Land Rover.
Throughout the fours years between the America’s Cup, there are qualifying races around the world. Right now BAR looks to be at the top of the standings. As one of the newest teams, its surprisingly quick advancements may be due to the boat’s Formula 1 development structure, incorporated by BAR’s CEO Martin Whitmarsh, formally McLaren F1 Head Director. Jaguar Land Rover’s design and testing facilities helped tune the boat by placing sensors that read real-time data like an automobile. Ainslie’s team, led by Whitmarsh, cracked into the data and redeveloped key areas for speed. Half a race is won inside the labs and design studios these days.
America’s cup changed drastically in 2013 when a loophole exposed that hydrofoils on racing vessels are allowed, changing the climate of professional sailboat racing forever. If you haven’t heard of a hydrofoil, it’s basically an upside-down airplane wing stuck to the hull of the boat, which produces a lift exactly like an airplane. This transitioned teams to focus on aerodynamics rather than hydrodynamics, now that the boats fly above the water.
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