Prodrive boss David Richards takes a ride with Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie

Prodrive chairman David Richards pictured with Ben Ainslie on the Land Rover BAR sailing boat which will be competing for the America's Cup. NNL-160305-120554001
Prodrive chairman David Richards pictured with Ben Ainslie on the Land Rover BAR sailing boat which will be competing for the America's Cup. NNL-160305-120554001

Banbury-based Prodrive is hoping to help Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie sail Britain to victory in the next America’s Cup.

Company chairman, David Richards took a ride on the Portsmouth-based Land Rover BAR team’s boat with Sir Ben, a four times Olympic sailing champion.

The Land Rover BAR sailing boat which will be competing for the America's Cup. It will be captained by Sir Ben Ainslie. NNL-160305-120606001

The Land Rover BAR sailing boat which will be competing for the America's Cup. It will be captained by Sir Ben Ainslie. NNL-160305-120606001

Sir Ben is leading Britain’s challenge to win the coveted America’s Cup for the first time. The next race is due to take place in Bermuda next year.

The cup was first competed for in 1851 and at the last race in 2013, Sir Ben skippered the American entry to victory over New Zealand in the final in San Francisco harbour.

Prodrive is the technical supplier for the team and has helped develop the control systems for the hydrofoils, which make the boat fly, and for the ‘wing’ or sail.

Prodrive has also made the electrical wiring harnesses for the boat.

Mr Richards said: “These boats are the most extraordinary feats of engineering and as sophisticated as the most advanced racing cars.

“It is not only the speed at which these craft can travel, powered only by the wind, but the fact the ride is so smooth being elevated above the waves on the hydrofoils.

“What Ben Ainslie and his team, many with motorsport backgrounds, have achieved is remarkable and I am sure they will be battling to bring the America’s Cup home to Britain for the first time at the final in Bermuda next year.”