America’s Cup – Eight months after officially signing up for the 35th America’s Cup, the French challenge mounted by Franck Cammas, Michel Desjoyeaux and Olivier de Kersauson welcomes the arrival of the first official partner alongside title partner, Groupama. An international brand, a European leader in its field, Norauto joins an ambitious project, which combines human challenge and technological proving.
In the majority of major sports projects, victory is built prior to the start and notably in a team’s ability to attract partners to fund its technological developments. The toughest competition in the crewed sailing world, an event never before won by the French despite numerous attempts, the 35th America’s Cup is no exception to this rule.
Through this signing with Norauto, Groupama Team France has numerous causes for satisfaction in what promises to be a five-year partnership: “It was important for us to balance the budget for our new AC50 boat, which will have to be competitive against the extremely refined international competition. As such, it’s excellent news that Norauto has come on the scene. Norauto is also a partner that ties in well with Groupama and the team in terms of values. I believe I am able to say that we are simple, humble and ambitious people. Thanks to changes in the rule, right now the Cup is no longer reserved for the richest teams, instead it is accessible to the best. That’s what we want to demonstrate and Norauto’s commitment to working alongside us through until 2020 is as invaluable as it is encouraging,” says Franck Cammas, skipper of Groupama Team France.
Norauto’s management team was quick to see the benefits they will be able to derive from this project for the America’s Cup. Indeed, the international group, created in 1970, boasts a strong presence with its car centres spanning some eight countries. Thibaut Derville, CEO of the Belgian subsidiary of Norauto, Auto 5, in charge of the partnership explains: “The stature of our brand is a combination of its notoriety and its image. It is built through having a presence in peoples’ everyday lives, which is something we do very well at Norauto. However, it is also built through participation in events and actions that inspire in some special way. The America’s Cup is one such event that is both rare and powerful. For Norauto, participating in it is synonymous with being part of the inner sanctum of the world’s major car brands and demonstrating our ability to innovate, progress and be tuned into our clients and suppliers”.
Armed with some 620 centres across Europe, Norauto is inaugurating twenty or so more centres each year, recruiting over 800 new representatives, in France (370 centres) as well as in the other seven countries (Belgium, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Poland and Romania) where it has developed further, consolidating its position as leader: “Norauto’s significant growth overseas has prompted us to commit to working alongside Groupama Team France. By supporting an ambitious team, which shares a good number of our values, we want to develop the pride our representatives feel in belonging to Norauto and more broadly to Mobivia, a group that is characterised by its willingness to make mobility easier.
Both at sea and in our car centres, one must be able to adapt to one’s environment, be supportive and constantly innovate in order to win. Norauto strives for operational and technological excellence at the service of its clients”.
Title partner to the French team, Groupama is delighted about the arrival of Norauto: “During the launch of the project last June, our CEO invited successful and ambitious companies to join our ranks. As such, we’re delighted to welcome Norauto aboard. We will be stronger together. Today, over thirty companies and institutions are supporting this challenge and there will soon be even more of us.” explained Sylvain Burel, Groupama’s Director of Communications.
Happy to see a new partner signing up to the project as well as supporting the sports and technological network through until the 36th America’s Cup, the skipper of Groupama Team France added: “We know our objective and today we have more means to satisfy it than we did yesterday. Though we’re obviously not in a position to say that we’ll bring the Cup back to France, we can say that we will devote all our energy to doing just that”.
In what is an important year for the Olympic sailing team, the President of the French Sailing Federation, Jean-Pierre Champion, welcomed the arrival of a new partner that is able to recognise itself in the values of sailing: “Whether it’s around the world or coast hopping, yacht races reveal man and woman’s ability to commit themselves, to adapt to the elements and to brave the competition. When I see the team, which is leading this project with its partners Groupama and Norauto, I’m proud that the FFVoile (French Sailing Federation) is part of it, as much by placing specialised managers at its disposal as actively contributing to the detecting and training up of young champions, who will one day take over from Franck, Michel and Olivier”.
Whilst the Groupama Team France crew racing in Oman this Saturday and Sunday is in situ for the first of the six ACWS events of 2016, Franck Cammas concludes: “In addition to the LVACWS, we will be flying the Norauto flag on the GC32 circuit, notably in Italy, Spain and Portugal, where they have a strong presence. For us it will be the opportunity to meet and share some special moments with their teams”.
Committed on multiple fronts, as much technological as sporting and commercial, Groupama Team France is, more than ever before, in action mode to take up the challenge of the America’s Cup, and enthusiastically illustrates its battle cry: “#One for all, all for the Cup”.
The competition programme:
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in AC45
• Oman from 26 to 28 February
• New York from 6 to 8 May
• Chicago from 10 to 12 June
• Portsmouth from 22 to 24 July
• Toulon from 9 to 11 September
• Japan from 18 to 20 November (tbc)
GC 32 Racing Tour with Norauto
• Italy, Riva del Garda from 26 to 29 May
• Italy, Malcesine from 7 to 10 July
• Spain, Palma de Mallorca from 3 to 6 August
• Portugal, from 22 to 25 September (tba)
• France, Marseille from 13 to 16 October