Former U.S. driver Jimmy Spithill has said he’d ‘absolutely love to smoke’ the new U.S. team when racing gets underway in Dubai with Spithill at the wheel of Australia.
Speaking at a pre-event press conference, Spithill was said there was ‘no question’ about his desire to beat the new-look U.S. team following its sale last month.
However, he said the Australian team’s main strategy across race weekend would be to complete ‘consistent, clean races’ and come into Sunday with ‘a chance for the Final’.
“One thing we’ve all learned in SailGP is that if you focus on just one team, you can end up in last or second last - you just can’t get caught up worrying about just one team in this sort of racing.”
Spithill is subbing in for permanent driver Tom Slingsby, who is out on paternity leave and Dubai marks the first time Sydney-born Spithill has competed for his home nation since 2001.
Speaking about crucial training time, Spithill described Australia as the ‘benchmark team’ in SailGP, but his efforts ‘to transition in as seamlessly as possible’ had been ‘harder than [he] thought’.
“A lot of the maneuvers in the playbook are different from what I’m used to and not going back to a reflex action of what I’m used to in a high pressure moment is very challenging,” he said.
Looking ahead to official practice racing on December 8, Spithill said: “I’ve got to build on that and get out of these hats that I’ve established over the last couple of seasons sailing with the USA.”
The Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas will take place on December 9 & 10.