Team Principal and SkipperGBRSir Ben AinslieTeam Principal and Skipper
Sir Ben Ainslie, Land Rover BAR's Team Principal & Skipper, has developed and led a British team to compete in the America's Cup. Land Rover BAR exited the 35th America's Cup at the semi-final stage, losing to the eventual winner and new defender, Emirates Team New Zealand. The team is now preparing to compete in the 36th edition in 2021.
Ben is the most successful Olympic sailor of all time. At his first ever Olympic Games, aged 19, he won an Olympic silver medal and went on to establish himself as the world’s best by winning consecutive gold medals at the next four Olympic Games.
Fresh from his London 2012 success, Ben turned his focus to the next challenge, competing with Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) on the 2012/13 America’s Cup World Series. In the summer of 2013, he went on to join ORACLE TEAM USA on-board for their defence of the 34th Cup, helping the American team win the event, 9-8, against Emirates Team New Zealand.
He was an instrumental part in one of the greatest comebacks sport has ever seen, becoming the first Briton, for 110 years, to be part of a winning Cup team.
• 2013: Winner of the 34th America’s Cup, San Francisco – USA with ORACLE TEAM USA
• 2013: Broke the ‘Round the Island Race Multihull record’ with J.P. Morgan BAR in the AC45
• London 2012 Olympic Games: Gold Medal
• Beijing 2008 Olympic Games: Gold Medal
• 2007: Winner – Louis Vuitton Cup, Valencia – Spain with Team NZ
• Athens 2004 Olympic Games: Gold Medal
• Sydney 2000 Olympic Games: Gold Medal
• Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games: Silver Medal
• 11 times World Champion
• Nine times European Champion
• Four times World Sailor of the Year
Chief Executive OfficerGrant SimmerChief Executive Officer
Grant Simmer joins the team as CEO. He has competed in 10 America's Cup cycles, winning sport's oldest international trophy four times. His first came as the young navigator aboard Australia II's, during their historic victory in 1983, breaking America's 132-year stronghold on the Cup. It was the first time in the competition's history that the trophy had left American shores. The Australian born sailor/designer has gone on to win the America's Cup three further times as head of design, managing director and general manager with Swiss team Alinghi and more recently with ORACLE TEAM USA.
Chief Executive Officer of BAR TechnologiesGBRMartin WhitmarshChief Executive Officer of BAR Technologies
Martin Whitmarsh is Chief Executive Officer for BAR Technologies and advisor to Land Rover BAR. He formerly held CEO position with the McLaren Group. Martin studied engineering at Portsmouth University, BAR’s home port, before starting his career at BAE Systems’ Hamble facility. He was quickly promoted to work on advanced composites in Weybridge, rising to Manufacturing Director before moving to join McLaren as Head of Operations in 1989.
By 1997 Martin was Managing Director of the McLaren Formula One team, eventually rising to CEO of McLaren Racing and McLaren Group alongside his role as Deputy Chairman of the McLaren Automotive Group.
Jo is the Head of Commercial, Marketing, Communications and Events for Land Rover BAR. Jo has worked alongside Sir Ben Ainslie for 13 years securing all his commercial funding through three Olympic campaigns. In 2011 the pair set the
strategy of setting up a British America’s Cup team, to challenge for and win the trophy for Britain.
Jo attended University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, and on her return to the UK worked for Lloyds Bank in International Marketing. Her love of sailing eventually pulled her from the City to the South Coast of England where she competed on the International Match Racing Circuit for 4 years with double Olympic gold medallist, Shirley Robertson.
The team were ranked number one in the world for over 12 months. With a need to supplement the Sports Funding, Jo used her marketing background to freelance as a sailing writer and TV news producer. These tools along with her marketing background proved invaluable when Jo started the agency Into the Blue.
Technical DirectorGBRRichard HopkirkTechnical Director
Richard was born in Leeds, UK. He studied mechanical engineering at Cambridge University where he achieved a first-class degree, before gaining a Herchel-Smith Scholarship to study for and achieve his Masters in Engineering Science at Harvard University. Whilst at university, Richard took a gap-year commission with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, becoming Platoon Commander in the Territorial Army for a further six years. After completing his studies, he joined McLaren Racing as a Powertrain Simulation and Development Engineer, before becoming Lewis Hamilton’s Race Team Tactician. In this role, Richard was the main driver contact via radio during races and responsible for tactical execution of all track activity. He left Formula 1 to became Hybrid Function Group Manager at McLaren, taking the P1 Hybrid engineering program from initial ideas to worldwide consumer use.
Following his time with McLaren, Richard had a brief career sabbatical supporting the Great Pacific Race and touring Hawaii. He then became a Project Leader at the newly formed Red Bull Advanced Technology group, leading the relationship with our team, before leaving to join Land Rover BAR full-time.
Chief DesignerNZLNick HolroydChief Designer
Nick joins the team as Chief Designer. Originally a University of Auckland graduate in Mechanical Engineering, Holroyd began to specialise in sailboat racing with an MSc in Maritime CFD and Applied Mechanics at the University of Southampton. He followed that with an 18-year stint at Team New Zealand, beginning in 1997 as a foil designer and naval architect for the team that won the 30th America's Cup in Auckland in 2000. Before joining Land Rover BAR, Nick was formerly the Technical Director at Softbank Team Japan for the 35th America's Cup.
Sailing Team Manager / SailorNZLJono MacbethSailing Team Manager / Sailor
A three-times America’s Cup winner, New Zealand’s Jonathan ‘Jono’ Macbeth is the most successful and experienced America’s Cup (AC) sailor in the Land Rover BAR team. Jono’s Cup career started when he joined ‘Team New Zealand’ in 1997 ahead of their successful defense of the 31st America’s Cup in 2000. He moved across to BMW ORACLE Racing to campaign for the 33rd Cup in 2010 and claimed his second AC win in Valencia, Spain.
Jono shared AC success alongside Land Rover BAR skipper, Ben Ainslie, as a grinder on-board winning 34th America’s Cup team, ORACLE TEAM USA. His relationship with Ben dates back to 2007, when they joined forces on-board Team New Zealand to win the Louis Vuitton Cup in Spain. Jono takes on the position, as Land Rover BAR Sailing Team Manager.
• 2013: Defender and Winner – 34th America’s Cup, with ORACLE TEAM USA
• 2010: Winner – 33rd America’s Cup, with BMW ORACLE Racing
• 2007: Challenger and runner up – 32nd America’s Cup, with Team New Zealand
• 2007: Winner – Louis Vuitton Cup, with Team New Zealand
• 2003: Defender and runner up – 32nd America’s Cup, with Team New Zealand
• 2000: Defender and winner – 31st America’s Cup, with Team New Zealand
Manufacturing ManagerFRAMichel MarieManufacturing Manager
Michel Marie was born in France and is married to a New Zealander. He graduated from the University of Caen in Physics and Measurements and studied Construction Technologies at the University of Nantes. He twice raced the Mini-Transat on boats he designed and built himself. He subsequently competed in the Whitbread Round the World Race as a bowman aboard Rucanor Sport before moving into boat-building, initially with Marten Marine in New Zealand. His first involvement with the America’s Cup was with the construction and shore team of Le Défi Français in 1992. He has since competed in five Cups, most recently holding senior management positions with Alinghi (2000 – 2007) and BMW Oracle Racing (2007 – 2010) for three America’s Cup victories. He has also worked on the construction and project management for yachts as diverse as Mari Cha III (carbon fibre cruiser), RAN 5 (72’ Mini Maxi), Merit Cup (Whitbread 60) and Merit / La Poste (Maxi IOR Whitbread)
Head of FinanceMatt RobinsonHead of Finance
Matt joins the team as Head of Finance. He comes from a background of Engineering & Construction and Project Finance, helping Finance teams to understand and interact with everyone in the organisation to provide a first-class finance service. He has graduated from Manchester University with a degree in International Management with French. In his spare time, Matt enjoys training for triathlons and doing charity work.
Head of OperationsGBRJames StaggHead of Operations
James began his marine career with a brief period as a trainee sailmaker at North Sails, but quickly moved onto the regatta circuit, sailing as a bowman, and working on boat build, refit and maintenance projects. He spent many successful years on the World Match Racing Tour, as well as competing in the Admiral’s Cup, Med Cup and many other top flight events. James raced in the 2003 America’s Cup with GBR Challenge. He slowly moved into project management and has brought to life a succession of high profile and successful racing boats.