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Nathan Outteridge teases permanent SailGP driver seat in latest episode of Racing on the Edge

by SailGP 15 Mar 11:59 PDT
Racing on the Edge Season 4 Episode 7 © SailGP

The latest episode of Racing on the Edge, in partnership with Rolex, is now live, and unfolds the story behind on-off SailGP driver and renowned 'wind whisperer', Nathan Outteridge.

One of the sport's best foiling athletes, the two-time Olympic medallist has remained without a driver seat throughout Season 4. The behind-the-scenes docuseries delves into the pressures weighing on Outteridge's career, the challenges of life as a step-in driver and his remarkable come-back to the sport after a near-fatal car accident. The episode drops a week ahead of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix which is returning to Whakaraupo, Lyttelton Harbour on March 23-24.

Filmed during the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney, the latest installment of Racing on the Edge also goes behind the scenes during the intense final three-boat podium race featuring Tom Slingsby's Australia, New Zealand - at the time driven by Nathan Outteridge - and Nicolai Sehested's ROCKWOOL Denmark. The pressure was on both for Slingsby to win his first SailGP event of the season and Outteridge to demonstrate what he's made of and try and secure a full time spot in the league.

Lisa Darmanin, SailGP Presenter said: "Nathan has the opportunity to step into the fastest boat out there, bar the Australians, and with a team which is A-Grade. We know this boat can perform with Peter Burling, but can it perform with Nathan Outteridge?"

As life-long sailing friends, Slingsby and Outteridge showcased very different styles of sailing on the Sydney Harbour racetrack - a racecourse they both know very well and the final was shaping up to be a great battle, with all the teams having something to prove. However, a timing error from Outteridge and the Kiwis in the pre-start - which should have meant they got the best start as the Aussies were holding the Danes back - gave the Aussies the opportunity to take the lead, resulting in Slingsby securing his first Season 4 victory on home soil. And for Outteridge, a bitter-sweet third place behind Australia and Denmark.

Commenting on the situation of not having a permanent seat in SailGP, Outteridge said: "I feel the pressure, I understand the pressure - and it's like asking a driver who doesn't have a seat in F1 to come and drive a Mercedes or Red Bull, have some fun and do some hot laps and see how you go."

After leading the Japan SailGP Team in Season 1 and 2 - placing second in consecutive seasons - since then Outteridge has been the go-to, step-in driver. In the latest episode he explained the challenge as being "a very hard couple of years for me to be honest, to be in a supporting role when you are in the prime of your career. It's hard to do that, and you hope you will be able to find a drive again in the future. But for one reason or another it's not happening at the moment."

For a man who was told 20 years ago he would never sail again following a near-fatal car accident, Outteridge has undoubtedly demonstrated to the sport what he is made of. However perhaps this marks the conclusion of his journey and Outteridge, renowned as the wind whisperer, may already know which direction the wind is blowing and if this is the end of his sailing career or not.

When questioned on his plan for the next season, and if he will go sailing around the world if nothing comes forward, Outteridge explains that "if I don't get a good opportunity in SailGP for Season 5, then we have some ideas what we will do as a family."

The episode bluntly ends with Outteridge calling his wife to give her some big news - will he be returning to a drivers seat? Tune into the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch to find out more and see what is in store for Outteridge for the rest of the season.

The ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix gets under way in just over one week's time in Otautahi Christchurch, March 23-24, 2024. For the final few tickets, visit SailGP.com/Christchurch.

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