SailGP veteran Nathan Outteridge will step behind the wheel of New Zealand’s F50 ‘Amokura’ this weekend in Sydney, with driver and co-CEO Peter Burling at home for the birth of his first child.

Outteridge, who previously steered Japan to two season finals, is no stranger to SailGP or the New Zealand team, racing with many of the Kiwi crew as part of their America’s Cup defence. Burling will return to driving duties ahead of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix, next month in Christchurch (23-24 March).

Season 4 // New Zealand underway in Abu Dhabi Final

Speaking about his absence, Burling said: “While I’d love to be racing - staying home for such an important milestone for me and my family is an obvious decision. We’ll be supporting the team from across the Tasman this weekend, and can’t wait to get back out there in front of our fans, friends, and family next month in Christchurch.”

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have someone of Nathan’s calibre able to join us - he’s one of the best, and we know he’ll slot right in,” Burling said.

Season 4 // Close up of New Zealand crew on first day of racing in Abu Dhabi

New Zealand enters the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix second overall after back-to-back event wins in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The event marks just over halfway through the Season 4 championship, and the final stop before New Zealand’s long-awaited home event in Ōtautahi Christchurch. It also marks a hopeful return to bigger breeze, with strong wind expected following a handful of light-air stopovers in Europe and the Middle East.

Welcoming the news, Outteridge said: "Racing for the New Zealand SailGP Team will be an exciting challenge. I've competed with and against many in this crew for years - they're an exceptional group, and I can't wait to join them this weekend.”

Season 4 // Emirates GBR and New Zealand underway in Dubai training

Burling is now the third SailGP driver to miss an event this season due to parental leave. Jimmy Spithill stepped in for Aussie driver Tom Slingsby in Dubai, while Outteridge also received the call up to drive for Denmark last month in Abu Dhabi. Outteridge maintains a regular advisory role with the Swiss SailGP Team, often competing as co-driver alongside Sebastian Sehested in Season 3.

The KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix will unfold over two action-packed days of racing, 24-25 February 2024. Fans can catch all action live and on-demand on ThreeNow, plus a full replay on Three at 4.30pm Sunday and Monday.