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A data driven endeavour

Need for speed: Ainslie has turned to the automotive industry in his quest to win the 35th America’s Cup

As we countdown to the 35h America’s Cup The Royal Gazette will bring you one fun fact a day about the boats, the sailors, the crew, or the history of this illustrious competition. There are now 46 days until the month-long sporting spectacle gets under way.

The ACC boats are the most technologically advanced to have ever been used in the competition, and it is no exaggeration to say that they are the equivalent of a Formula One race car. Data, and the analysis of performance, plays such a crucial role in the creation of these boats that Land Rover BAR principal, Sir Ben Ainslie, brought the automotive industry on board at an early stage.

“These boats now foil out of the water. There’s very little in the water. It’s about aerodynamics, it’s about control systems, hydraulic systems and the automotive industry obviously lead the way,” Ainslie said in the summer of 2015.

Martin Whitmarsh, former McLaren Formula One team principal, is the BAR chief executive, while Adrian Newey, the Red Bull designer whose cars have won titles with three F1 teams, is also on board.

On the simulation side, Richard Hopkirk, one of Lewis Hamilton’s race tacticians at McClaren, has been recruited.

“It was a conscious decision that I noted from my time with Oracle,” said Ainslie, who won the 34th America’s Cup with the US team. “We had a lot of issues by trying to create a lot of these systems internally. Hydraulic control systems were constantly failing because we were trying to do it internally and didn’t have the expertise of the automotive industry.”