Former United States driver Jimmy Spithill will return to the SailGP circuit in Dubai, taking the wheel of the Australian F50 in place of Tom Slingsby.
The news, which was announced on the latest episode of Racing on the Edge, comes after Slingsby previously announced that he will miss Dubai to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.
Dubai will mark the first time the Australia driver has ever missed a SailGP event and the first time Sydney-born Spithill has competed for Australia since 2001.
The news comes just days after Spithill announced his departure from the U.S. team, following its sale to a group of investors, and his intention to set up an Italian SailGP Team to enter the league in Season 5.
Reflecting on his decision to appoint Spithill as his substitute, Slingsby pointed to his qualities as a ‘natural leader’, who ‘brings the perfect blend of race smarts, aggression and composure on the water’.
“Despite a shaky start in Dubai in Season 3, we were able to achieve some pretty remarkable things there with our comeback victory, and I’m really keen to see what Jimmy can deliver using his previous experience racing in SailGP with the Aussies next weekend,” Slingsby said.
Spithill meanwhile said driving for Australia in Dubai would be ‘a great honor’.
He added: “This team has been the absolute benchmark since SailGP started, I have personally raced and worked with a lot of the team, and I’m really looking forward to learning and racing with the most consistent squad in SailGP.”
His goal, he said, is ‘no different to past races with the USA SailGP Team - go out, race hard, stay consistent, and hopefully be in a position on Sunday to make the Final’.
Australia is currently top of the Championship leaderboard heading into the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas - the 6th stop on Season 4’s 13-event calendar.