Olympic champion Giles Scott returns to compete for Land Rover BAR – after his gold medal success in Rio – as the 2016 Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series (ACWS) heads into the home straight with the penultimate event of the year in Toulon.
Giles Scott racing with Land Rover BAR in Oman LVACWS © Harry KH / Land Rover BAR
Scott will step back into the strategist's role that Ed Powys has held for the past three events, where he was instrumental in the team finishing second in Chicago, and taking the win in Land Rover BAR's home town - Portsmouth - just six weeks ago. Scott last raced with the team in Oman, where the team started the year with a win.
Jono Macbeth, Sailing Team Manager commented; "We're approaching Toulon as if it were any other regatta, our build up has been exactly the same and we're not looking to change anything at all. The one exception is that Giles is back from his Olympic duties and is now back inside the team filling the shoes that Ed Powys has been keeping warm for him. I think the results over the last few regattas show just how deep the sailing team is and how much experience and youth we have in there."
Land Rover BAR race to victory in front of big crowds in Portsmouth LVACWS © Lloyd Images
Giles Scott added: "It's great to be back, the last event I did was Oman, which went well and then the guys have been doing a great job in my absence. Hopefully we will be able to carry that on in Toulon. I think that the best thing about combining the Cup with my Olympic programme has been to stay very race-fresh and that can be hard to do locked into just the Cup scene."
Land Rover BAR hold the overall lead after the second consecutive victory at their home event in Portsmouth – the first team to win three ACWS events in this America's Cup cycle.
Ben Ainslie, Skipper and Team Principal commented; "We're looking forward to Toulon, and it's great to have Giles [Scott] back in the team. Ed [Powys] did a great job in his absence but on the back of Rio – and particularly Giles' success in Rio – having him back on the boat gives the team a really good boost building up towards the Cup next year, and into the closing stages of the World Series. The focus now is to see if we can get some of those bonus points to end up on top at the end of the series, and keep developing as a team."
Land Rover BAR testing in the Solent ahead of LVACWS Toulon © Harry KH / Land Rover BAR
It will be the first time that America's Cup World Series racing has taken place in France, a nation that first competed for the America's Cup in 1970, but – like Britain – has never won the world's oldest international sporting trophy.
The beautiful Mediterranean city of Toulon is located between Marseille and St Tropez, with the racing taking place right off Mourillon beach. The country that gave us Tabarly, Moitessier and the Vendee Globe is expected to turn out in huge numbers for the new era of America's Cup racing.
All the action - in the UK and Ireland - can be watched live on BT Sport EPSN, with Saturday and Sunday's racing coverage beginning at 1.30 (UK). They will also run replays of the racing throughout the weekend.
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Leader board after five events:
1. Land Rover BAR 367
2. ORACLE TEAM USA 366
3. Emirates Team New Zealand 357
4. SoftBank Team Japan 328
5. Artemis Racing 315
6. Groupama Team France 292
Land Rover BAR Toulon line up
Ben Ainslie - Skipper and Team Principal
Paul Campbell-James - Wing Trimmer
David 'Freddie' Carr - Floater
Nick Hutton - Trimmer
Giles Scott - Strategist
Ed Powys - Floater/Strategist
Jono Macbeth - Sailing Team Manager
Jo Lees - Boat Captain
Ian Pattison - Shore support
James Chapman – Rib driver and Shore support
Matt Haslam - Shore support
Ben Williams - Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach / Safety support/ Shore support
Rob Wilson - Coach
Luc du Bois - Performance Analysis