Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli will be the Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup, where they will face Emirates Team New Zealand in the best of 13 match-race series.
Completing a 7 to 1 victory over Ben Ainslie’ Ineos Team UK on Sunday in the Prada Cup Final, put Italy in the America’s Cup match for the third time since the challenger series was introduced in 1970.
In 1992 Italy, with Raul Gardini’s Il Moro di Venezia lost 1-4 to Bill Koch’s America, and with Prada Challenge, Luna Rossa they lost 0-5 to Team New Zealand’s NZL-60 in 2000.
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli are the first Challenger of Record to win a Challenger Selection Series and go on to Challenge for the America’s Cup.
Racing for the 36th America’s Cup is scheduled to start on the Hauraki Gulf on Saturday 6 March 2021. Racing will continue until one team wins seven races.
Britain has been the challenger in 18 America’s Cup matches.
But, in the modern era, since WWII, only making the actual Cup Match twice . . . with Sceptre in 1958 and Sovereign in 1964, both times losing 4-0 to American defenders.
This latest defeat is one small step as Ineos Team UK is the first British team to to make the Challenger Series Final since it was introduced in 1970.
There have been rumours that Britain will challenge again with the continuation of backing from Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Ratcliffe, Britain’s third richest man, has a stable of sports teams, including the Mercedes F1 team, a couple of football teams, the cycling team formerly known as Team Sky and the GB SailGP team.
The next America’s Cup is expected to be in 2025, but British involvement is likely to depend on who wins in March and what plans they have for the future of the event.
For the immediate future, Ineos skipper Ben Ainslie will be involved with the Great Britain SailGP team in the 2021 series which kicks-off in Bermuda over the weekend of 24-25 April.
And for tactician Giles Scott, focus will be on the Tokyo Olympic Games in July, where he will defend his Rio gold medal, warming up with the Finn Europeans at Hyeres, France in April.
For the rest of the team it’s a case of ‘watch this space’.