Tom Slingsby is excited to show off how far SailGP has come when he takes to the water for his Sydney homecoming at the Australia Sail Grand Prix presented by KPMG this week.
Twice before Sydney has hosted SailGP, first in Season 1 and then again in 2020, but the upcoming racing is the first time the NSW crowds will witness in person eight F50s speeding around Sydney Harbour.
Only seven teams were part of the global championship during the 2020 event, at which Ben Ainslie’s Great Britain defeated hometown hero Slingsby in the deciding match race, with New Zealand joining to expand the league to eight teams ahead of Season 2 kicking off in Bermuda earlier this year.
Two further teams have been confirmed to start racing in a ten-team Season 3 from next year, with the initial calendar for the upcoming campaign also recently confirmed.
SailGP’s growth has come at a breakneck speed, and Slingsby, speaking to the media ahead of Thursday’s practice racing, admitted he is thrilled to show off the development of the league in front of his supporters over the coming days.
“It’s amazing,” he began, “and I’m proud to show the Australian public how far SailGP has come.
“We came here in a couple of our early events, and I’m excited to show how far it has come. I’m really proud of where SailGP is now.”
Slingsby, who won in Sydney in 2019 before losing to the Brits last time out, has even stiffer competition for victory this year.
Japan and the United States make up the current top three behind the Aussies and will be going all-out for the win, while New Zealand have ambitions of getting one over Australia at their first ever SailGP event in Sydney.
Kiwi Driver Peter Burling said: “We always really enjoy coming over here and racing against Australians.
“But one of the best things about this event is it’s the first in a time zone where the Kiwis don’t have to wake up at 5am to get behind us!
“But the Kiwi contingent here is pretty strong as well so we will be doing our all to take down Tom this weekend.”