Caterham F1 boss Mike Gascoyne to join world of ocean racing

Gascoyne plans to take part in the Transat Jacques Vabre

From 200 miles an hour down to 20 – and sometimes a lot less than that - is in prospect for Caterham F1 boss Mike Gascoyne as he prepares to join the world of ocean racing.

He has already completed a solo transatlantic – from Cascais, Portugal to Grenada  last year – but he now plans to be on start line of one of the big doublehanders, the Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre to Brazil in November.

Alongside him on a new boat designed by Marc Lombard will be a man who has both set round the world records and sailed alone around the world, Brian Thompson.

The boat, designed by Marc Lombard, is also entered for the Global Ocean and built with the input of Caterham’s carbon fibre boffins.

Starting from the Southampton Boat Show next year, the route takes it via Cape Town, Auckland, Punta del Este, Uruguay, and Charleston to the finish in Portsmouth. Even if it is entered in the two-handed division, Gascoyne may not doo all the legs.

For Gascoyne the rationale is to do with marrying engineering skills, establishing a wider franchise and looking for sponsorship cross-branding.

But, for man who once thought he may be a professional mountaineer after leading two expeditions to the Himalaya, and who loved the thrill of paragliding, he says this is what he always dreamed of doing “I always wanted to go off sailing,” he says.

Caterham has, in any case, other marine connections. It made a partnership input to Alex Thomson’s Vendée Globe singlehanded round the world campaign in which he finished third earlier this year and it was Thomson’s company which project managed Gascoyne’s transatlantic debut.

It is also linked to Future Fibres, the Valencia-based, British founded company which, among other things, makes the tethers which attach F1 racing car hubs to the cars. Further partnerships with Future Fibres and Future Masts are being discussed.

And does the 50-year old hope to win the TJV? “I’ll be a competitive guy,” he says. “You have got to go out and try and push. But there are some very competitive hard racers out there.”

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