Following the enormous success of the inaugural Volvo Ocean Race, it was announced today that the next Volvo Ocean Race will start in Europe in the autumn of 2005.
This was confirmed by Mr Hans-Olov Olsson, President of Volvo Car Corporation, Mr Jorma Halonen, President of Volvo Trucks and representing the Volvo Group, and Mr Helge Alten, current Chief Executive of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Mr Jorma Halonen commented, "We within the Volvo Group found it very easy to make the decision to support the continuation of this race. The media returns have been overwhelming, and the response within the Volvo Group has been very positive. We are looking forward to another successful event starting in 2005, and I can assure you that we, within Volvo, feel a strong commitment to develop the race to even higher levels of success."
The current edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, currently in the middle of the Gothenburg stopover, has been the most successful round the world race to date. On the water, the event has featured closer racing than ever before, new world speed records, and a successful mix of shorter course and long ocean racing legs.
In terms of media coverage, this Volvo Ocean Race has exceeded every expectation, with unprecedented television, radio, print and Internet coverage for a round the world sailing event. Through the first six (of nine) stopovers, the race had reached a cumulative television audience of over 650-million viewers, across major markets in Europe, the United States, South America, Australasia and Africa. Radio distribution through the BBC World Service, and Voice of America has brought the Volvo Ocean Race to millions of listeners while the event has resulted in nearly 13,000 press cuttings in monitored territories, through to the end of leg six. Finally, the event website, www.volvooceanrace.org has reached nearly three-million unique visitors, making it the most widely viewed sailing Internet site.
Hans-Olov Olsson confirmed, "To be an owner of such a great event as this, has proven to be a really valuable asset. It works as a communicator both internally and externally, and just the pure TV and press coverage will give us our money back".
With the 2001 - 2002 Volvo Ocean Race scheduled to finish in Kiel, Germany on the 9th June, thoughts are naturally turning to the next event, and Volvo has been evaluating the future direction the race should take, and what changes should be made to achieve this.
It is expected that the route will include stopovers in South Africa, Australasia, South America, the USA, and Europe. Details of the final course will be announced in the spring of 2003. Also currently under consideration is the possibility of including fleet racing whilst in port with points to count towards the final score.
Innovation has always been a signature of this event and discussions are now underway for the design of a new monohull race boat with decisions expected later this year.
One of the major objectives of the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 is to reduce the entry-level cost of a competitive campaign. Reducing the length of the event and the number of stopovers will significantly contribute to this. Another area where costs can be decreased is in the design, construction and sail plan of the race-boat and Volvo is considering a number of options.
The event will continue to be managed by Volvo Event Management from the race Head Quarters in the UK. Information will be distributed at the time decisions are made, and the Preliminary Notice of Race will be published in Spring 2003.