Land Rover and Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) Will Continue Their Partnership

By - Jaguar Land Rover BAR Ben Ainslie Racing 2017 2018 America's Cup Race

Land Rover will again sponsor BAR in the 36th America’s Cup.

Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) didn’t win the America’s Cup this year. It got to the playoffs and squared off against Emirates Team New Zealand in Bermuda. However, it ultimately had to bow out of the competition. On the plus side, it can plan and prepare for next year knowing that Land Rover will once again be its Title and Exclusive Innovation Partner.

That means Sir Ben Ainslie and his team will receive help from Land Rover in the form of aerodynamics, machine learning, and human machine interface (HMI) control systems that can improve the performance of his R1 race boat.

The Land Rover BAR team has only been around two years, but has already reached important milestones. Mark Cameron, Land Rover’s Experiential Marketing Director, said, “It would have been fantastic to have progressed further, but you cannot underestimate how significant Land Rover BAR’s achievement has been. To win the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series outright as a rookie team and to successfully launch the Land Rover BAR Academy, also competing here in Bermuda, are real highlights for Land Rover.”

Next year, Land Rover BAR’s goal goes beyond just winning the 36th America’s Cup. It wants to bring the Auld Mug – the oldest international sports trophy – back home to Britain. No team has done in that in a while – since 1851, to be exact. Let’s wish Land Rover BAR luck – and remind them they’ll need to dry the trophy off (if they end up getting it) before they put it in their display case.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management from Texas State University, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism from Austin Community College as well. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including and, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram and Facebook to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

Derek can be contacted at [email protected]

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