Having come so close to winning the title in 2010, France's Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team, is back for another crack at the Championship alongside fellow countryman Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, a former winner of Match Race Germany.
They will be joined by Olympian and America's Cup campaigner Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino and former Argo Group Gold Cup winner Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson Sailing Team) of Sweden.
Completing the line up are two of the most exciting young prospects in match racing, Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team and New Zealand's Phil Robertson, WAKA Racing Team. Still just 24 years-old, Mirsky will be competing on the Tour for the fourth time and will go into the season as one of the hot favourites having finished second in 2009 and third in 2010.
Commenting on the list of Tour Card Holders, WMRT CEO Jim O'Toole said, "We're very satisfied with the response that we had from the application process and can now reveal a great line up for 2011, which is sure to provide dramatic action for fans to follow.
"One thing that really stood out during the application process was the level of professionalism of the teams' tenders. All the teams involved demonstrated a combination of excellent match racing credentials, robust sponsorship and funding models and an ability to add value to the Tour through their own marketing activities which will be a vital element as the Tour looks to expand its profile."
The Tour Card Holders, who represent six different countries, are guaranteed entry to at least six of the Tour's nine events which get under way with Match Race France in May and concludes with the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia in November when the top nine teams will be battling for a share of the USD 500,000 Tour Bonus Pool.
For biographies and past results of the Tour Card Holders visit www.wmrt.com
2011 WMRT Tour Card Holders
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Mascalzone Latino
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Jesper Radich (DEN) Radich Racing Team
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Phil Robertson (NZ) WAKA Racing Team
Ian Williams (GBR), Team GAC Pindar
WMRT Tour Card decisions are based on the following criteria:
- Sailing skill
- Current Tour or ISAF Ranking
- Past Tour or ISAF Ranking
- Financial submission for Tour Card
- Recent achievements in other sailing disciplines
- Media awareness, interaction and pro-active public relations plans
- A demonstrable financial and logistical commitment to the 2011 season
- Sponsor activation of a teams participation on the Tour
- Overall Team presentation