(Reuters) – Tyremaker Pirelli will co-sponsor America’s Cup challenger Luna alongside luxury fashion house Prada, backing the Italian team’s attempt to beat holders Emirates Team New Zealand in 2021.
“Pirelli is the ideal partner for this new America’s Cup challenge,” Luna Rossa chairman Patrizio Bertelli said in a statement released by the two Italian companies on Monday.
The next edition of sailing’s most prestigious cup will be held in Auckland, New Zealand and involves teams designing and building revolutionary new AC75 monohulls which will be able to “foil” at high speeds above the water.
Luna Rossa will be making its fifth attempt to win international sport’s oldest trophy, known as the “Auld Mug”, in what Pirelli chief executive Marco Tronchetti Provera said represented a “sporting and technological challenge”.
The other challengers so far vying to take on New Zealand in the next America’s Cup are New York Yacht Club’s American Magic from the United States and INEOSTEAM UK, which is led by British sailor Ben Ainslie.
During the last edition of the America’s Cup, which was held in the Great Sound in Bermuda in 2017, the New Zealand crew comprehensively beat defender Oracle Team USA in high octane races between high-tech foiling catamarans.
Pirelli was a sponsor of the New Zealand team during the last America’s Cup, with its logo adorning the sleek black, red and white hulls of the winning team, while Luna Rossa lent technological and logistical support to the challengers after deciding not to compete itself.
The first two regattas of the America’s Cup World Series will take place in the Mediterranean next year, with a further three World Series regattas to be held in Europe, the United States of America and Asia in 2020, the companies said.
The 36th edition of the America’s Cup, which is sponsored by Prada, is scheduled to take place in March 2021 in Auckland.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)