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Richard Mille Backs SP80’s Floating F1 Racer to Break World Record

Have you ever wondered how someone like Lewis Hamilton might fare on water? Better yet, have you considered what kind of high-speed sea rocket you might get by combining a boat, a plane, and an F1 racer? These ideas certainly turned heads at Richard Mille, with the Swiss watch brand recently backing fellow countrymen at SP80, a firm on a mission to break the world sailing speed record.

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Image: SP80

With the current record sitting at 121km/h (65 knots), SP80 is looking to knock it out of the water – ahem – by achieving an astonishing 150km/h (80 knots). To do so, the studio is developing an ambitious and unique vehicle design, measuring 6 metres wide and 7 metres long with a kite for propulsion that spans 20 metres. The hull is made entirely out of Carbon TPT, a material supplied by Richard Mille’s long-standing partner North Thin Ply Technology (NTPTTM) that had been used exclusively in Richard Mille watch cases until this project.

“Fuelled by the desire to achieve their goal, SP80 are ready to shake up sailing conventions. This same daring spirit has been guiding our brand for the last 20 years. In this young company, we see the effervescence of an enthusiastic and talented team,” said Tim Malachard, marketing director at Richard Mille.

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Image: SP80

SP80 was founded in 2018 by Xavier Lepercq, Benoît Gaudiot and Mayeul van den Broek, three engineers with a passion for kitesurfing, sailing boats of all kinds, and ocean crossings. Together with their now 40-strong team of engineers and students, they’re developing a hybrid vehicle that takes inspiration from aviation, boating and Formula 1, featuring a special ‘super-ventilated’ foil that ensures stability at high speeds. Plus, the team has filed a patent for a power management system that transmits all the power from the kite to the foil while maintaining said stability.

On having Richard Mille come on board the project, Mayeul van den Broek explained, “This is a partnership between two Swiss companies that are committed to high performance, exceptional feats and innovation. Even our respective production processes are similar in their use of Carbon TPT, which features in both Mille watches and our boat. Richard Mille’s involvement in the SP80 adventure is a source of great pride and incredible motivation for our young team. It means that we can step up our development and begin building our sailing boat, so that it can make its first journeys out to sea in 2022.”

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Image: SP80

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Image: SP80

AUTHOR

Rob Edwards

Rob Edwards is Man of Many’s Branded Content Writer. As a former editor of Australian T3 and Official Nintendo Magazine Australia, he has a wealth of experience covering the very latest in consumer technology, gaming, and lifestyle products. While Rob likes to think of himself as a reformed musician – he spent years gigging around Australia’s dingiest venues – his addiction to guitars goes on unabated, as he remains eternally convinced that surely the next guitar he buys will be the one to make him feel whole.