by Oliver Dewar
Mike Gascoyne, famous for his work with several Formula One racing teams and now CEO of Caterham Technology and Caterham Composites, will be at the PSP Southampton Boat Show for the start of the round-the-world race in September 2014 with a new Class40 boat, Caterham Challenge, to be launched this summer.
2013 Caterham Challenge
Since the late 1980s, Mike Gascoyne has been at the highest level of F1 design and Caterham Challenge will bring the sport’s standards of technology, innovation and logistics to offshore yacht racing. Gascoyne’s team – which includes the UK’s most experienced round-the-world sailor, Brian Thompson – is building an Akilaria RC3 Class40 and their high-powered racing yacht will be launched on the South Coast in early August 2013 with sailing and training in The Solent and English Channel.
2013 Caterham Challenge
A press conference was held on Wednesday at the Caterham F1 Team’s HQ in Oxfordshire: 'It is a very proud day for me with the announcement of the Caterham Challenge sailing project,' said Gascoyne. 'Sailing has always been an important part of my life and the opportunity to combine my love of sailing with my experience of 24 years at the top of F1 motorsports is very unique.'
Mike Gascoyne is an experienced shorthanded and single-handed sailor and completed a solo transatlantic passage on a Class40 last year. Ahead of the round-the-world Global Ocean Race 2014-15, the racing programme for Caterham Challenge includes the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre in November 2013. 'With the launch of our new Class40 boat, the Global Ocean Race was a natural target for the project with the ultimate challenge of racing around the world,' Gascoyne continued.
Mike Gascoyne International (MGI) – Gascoyne’s engineering consultancy firm - will bring his team’s experience in F1, R&D and competitive sport marketing to yacht racing: 'I am also very happy that MGI joins with the GOR as a Race Partner, which clearly demonstrates the commitment of MGI to the offshore sailing world.'
Britain’s most capped round-the-world sailor, Brian Thompson, joins Caterham Challenge as Sailing Director: 'I’m very excited to be on board for the launch of the Caterham Challenge project,' said Thomson, holder of 27 sailing world records and the only person to have circumnavigated the globe four times non-stop. 'I will be combining sailing duties with Mike and also looking at the development of the whole sailing and racing program for the team. Class40 and the GOR are a great challenge, but just the start of the story for Caterham Challenge and the whole team.'
The Caterham Challenge entry brings the current total of GOR teams to nine. 'Having Mike's Caterham Challenge campaign alongside our other entries for the event next year shows the attraction of the Global Ocean Race to sailors from different countries,' comments Mark Howell, Media Director of the GOR. 'This project brings F1 know-how, thinking and management to an offshore racing campaign adding another dimension to this international event.'
Josh Hall, GOR Race Director, has been working closely with the Caterham team: 'Mike Gascoyne has augmented his already talented team with some impressive sailors,' says Hall. 'He is a skilled and driven individual who creates a culture for success in whatever he does. This is what is making the race next year so exciting already. I am sure that Caterham Challenge will be in the fast lane in every respect. Welcome to the GOR.'
The GOR starts from the PSP Southampton Boat Show on Sunday 21st September 2014 and finishes in Gunwharf Quays Portsmouth in early May 2015 with the racing fleet making stopovers in Cape Town, South Africa; in Charleston, USA, before returning to Europe. The Australasian and South American stopovers have been confirmed and will shortly be announced officially.