Fukuoka, Japan will be the venue for the final showdown of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. The stakes could not be higher as the six teams regroup after the penultimate round in Toulon and turn their attention to racing Asia for the first time in the 165 year history of the America’s Cup. Why does it count so much? The answer is simple. The winner of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series will take a two point lead into the double round robin Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in Bermuda in May 2017. There is also a single point on offer for the team that finishes second in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, a significant advantage in the race to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs in Bermuda 2017. This all means that the America’s Cup’s first visit to Asia will be a thrilling affair, both on and off the water. The city of Fukuoka is gearing up to cheer on Softbank Team Japan as the local favourites.
And the three top teams on the Series leaderboard – Land Rover BAR, ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand – are within 17 points of each other in the race for the bonus points. That means they are separated by less than the points available for a single win on Super Sunday racing. Or perhaps a dark horse candidate will emerge from further down the leaderboard. Could the home support propel SoftBank Team Japan, just 24 points out of second place, into a bonus point position?
Dean Barker, skipper of Softbank Team Japan, touched on just how much it will mean to him and his team to be racing in Japan with the support of their home fans: “We cannot wait to get out there and start the final round in Japan. Our team has come a long way in a relatively short time and we’ve made good progress, as we showed in Toulon, especially on Sunday, but we know we have to keep improving.
“The chance to do that at the final event of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series on our home waters is very special for our whole team. It means a lot to us to have the chance to write a new chapter in the history of the America’s Cup, bringing America’s Cup racing to Asia for the first time, and we are determined to do ourselves and the Japanese fans proud.”
More information about the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka will be posted as the countdown to the final round continues – stay tuned for more details at americascup.com.