illbruck CEO Michael Illbruck has given his America’s Cup challenge – the first ever from Germany – until the end of April to find at least three other suitable backers
illbruck CEO Michael Illbruck has given his America’s Cup challenge – the first ever from Germany – until the end of April to find at least three other suitable backers. If financial support is not forthcoming, 42-year-old Illbruck says they will give America’s Cup 2003 a miss and focus on the next Cup, starting in 2006.
Two years ago Illbruck said in an interview with Yacht magazine: “We can provide 90 percent of the Cup budget ourselves.” However when he uttered those words he could have had no idea how events during those two years would affect global commerce.
Now, Illbruck says: “For the first illbruck AC challenge, the hull of the new boat, being built in Bremen, is already finished. But it’s more expensive than we’d planned. We need at least three other partners.”
In an interview in Suddeutsche Zeitung, he added: “Even Illbruck has its limits. We have set a time limit of the end of April to find at least three other partners. If this doesn’t happen then the team will just have to sit tight until the next challenge begins in 2006. We’re fanatical but we’re not mad.”
Illbruck stressed that they will continue to contest the Volvo Ocean Race as it better fits their global marketing strategy. “The Volvo Ocean Race costs two percent of yearly turnover, which in 2001 was 950m euros. We have already made that investment but the work goes on and on. A round the world regatta is the best advert we can have – worldwide we have 20,000 customers.”
GBR Challenge, bankrolled primarily by computer networks millionaire Peter Harrison, is facing a similar situation. Harrison founded GBR Challenge with plans to campaign the next two America’s Cups but with major financial backers proving reticent, Harrison has suggested that the second challenge will not go ahead, regardless of how well the syndicate performs in the 2003 America’s Cup.