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BMW yesterday threw its considerable weight behind an American bid to win the America’s Cup in 2007.
In a deal second only to its involvement with the Williams Formula One team, the German motor manufacturer will pump up to €50m (33.4m GBP) into the Oracle team headed by the software company’s billionaire owner, Larry Ellison.
It is sending three structural engineers, specialising in carbon fibre, from the Research and Innovation Centre here in Munich, to the Seattle design office drawing the lines of the two new yachts for the next staging of the event in Valencia. A fourth engineer will be attached to act as a link. The marketing director of BMW Oracle Racing is also being appointed from Germany.
Dr. Michael Ganal, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, explains the new partnership: “Within our international sports portfolio, the Formula 1 is a supporting pillar and BMW together with WilliamsF1 make up a strong team. In both disciplines we want to bring in particularly our specific technological competence. Analogous to the name BMW WilliamsF1 Team, the team made clear the more significant involvement of BMW in the new America’s Cup campaign by renaming the sailing team BMW ORACLE Racing. At the same time we take into account the even more professional orientation of the America’s Cup and the new organizational challenges.”
The cooperation with BMW enables us to benefit from technological innovations in the automobile sector”, says Team CEO Chris Dickson. “One decisive factor in boat design, for example, is the durability of the individual parts. Thanks to BMW we can assure that the full potential of the individual boat components is tapped, while at the same time improving the quality in terms of robustness. The BMW engineers will perform simulation and optimisation of the sailing yacht to a level not employed in yacht design previously. This will result in a yacht that is lighter, stronger and faster.”
The team will have a whole new identity, hull decorations, logo and clothing, reflecting the hugely increased role from when BMW backed the Oracle challenge in Auckland in 2002-03, when they made the final of the Louis Vuitton challenger series.
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