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Toyota celebrates enduring sponsorship

The launch of Emirates Team New Zealand's first boat for the 2021 campaign marks 27 years since Toyota climbed on board as a major sponsor of the team. 
Posted on 11 September, 2019
Toyota celebrates enduring sponsorship

With a partnership nearing three-decades-long, Toyota New Zealand’s support for Emirates Team New Zealand has become synonymous for belief in the team.

The launch of Emirates Team New Zealand’s first boat for the 2021 campaign marks 27 years since Toyota climbed on board as a major sponsor of a team that has always believed in extending itself through innovation.

From the first ‘plastic fantastic’ boats of 1992 sailing against Denis Connor to the ‘cyclor’ powered AC50 catamaran of 2017, Emirates Team New Zealand has always found a way to innovate, says Toyota New Zealand. 

Toyota New Zealand’s general manager of marketing, Andrew Davis, says the campaign would celebrate the sheer audacity of the sailing team’s innovations over the last three decades.

“Our support for Emirates Team New Zealand through thick and thin really comes down to the team’s willingness to try anything to make the boat go faster. We draw on that innovative and sometimes crazy kiwi spirit and see strong parallels with Toyota’s own determination to make even better cars,” adds Davis.

In 1987, the New Zealand Challenge stunned the sailing world by turning up at Fremantle, Western Australia, with two fibreglass yachts to take on the challenger series for the America’s Cup. With funding support from Toyota New Zealand, KZ7 romped through the series, winning 37 from 38 races before finally being stopped by Denis Connor in the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

In San Diego in 1995, proudly displaying the support of Toyota on its hull and sails, the renamed Team New Zealand, led by Sir Peter Blake, mounted a textbook perfect sailing campaign. Black Magic NZL32 swept away the competition and brought home the America’s Cup.

Just two years later in 1997, Toyota revealed its technological prowess to the world by launching the Toyota Prius – the world’s first petrol-electric hybrid car – the same year the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was adopted by 193 countries.

The Prius was the culmination of a five-year programme to produce a mass-market, low-emitting family-friendly vehicle. More than four million Prius have been sold to date.

Arguably, Emirates Team New Zealand’s most eye-catching innovation in 27 years of America’s Cup racing was the decision to replace four grinder pedestals on the foiling catamaran AC45 in 2017 with four ‘cyclor’ stations and tasking one of the ‘cyclors’ with additional responsibility for the daggerboard and sail trimming.

For America’s Cup 2021, a new class of boat, a foiling monohull, will be deployed.

“No doubt Emirates Team New Zealand will bring a number of crazy innovations to this campaign. I am sure they will push all of the boundaries in a whole new way so just like most Kiwis, we’re excited by these new boats and can’t wait to see them in action,” explains Davis.