Team Brunel breeze out of Cape Town
- Gusts of up to 35 knots send fleet off to flyer
- Follow the race all the way on our app
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 19 – Skippers of the seven boats in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, which set out for the 6,125 nautical mile (nm) Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, left with warnings of possible cyclone activity and tropical storms ringing in their ears.
Race organisers took late measures to keep the 66 sailors away from the very worst of the weather on the Indian Ocean with a new exclusion zone leading to the Seychelles.
There were already zones in place to avoid icebergs in the Southern Ocean and the more unlikely menace of pirate attack further down the route on the east coast of the Indian Ocean.
The latter zone was being kept secret from the public to avoid the possibility of the fleet being intercepted.
From the very start on Wednesday (1800 local/1600 UTC), the sailors were given a taste of things to come with gusts of up to 35 knots kicking up a procession of white-capped waves.
It was a question of 'don't break your boat' as most opted for conservative sail choices, while they wrestled to keep them under control and intact.
For the second leg start in a row, Team Brunel led the fleet out of port after wrestling the lead, first from MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP), and then Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) who were well in the hunt.
The fleet will continue to sail in these gale-force conditions, which Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright (USA) described before the start as ‘heinous’.
“I think we’re all going to have to be pretty conservative,” he told the skippers’ press conference, just over 24 hours earlier. “This could be the worst sea state these boats have ever seen.”
Favourites for the leg are Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), who have barely made a false move since setting out from Alicante on October 11.
They followed their 12-minute win over Dongfeng Race Team in Leg 1 on November 5, by securing victory on Saturday in the Cape Town in-port race.
When asked if there were such a thing as ‘home advantage’ in sailing, Walker, 44, was determined to keep his crew's feet on the ground - as well as his own.
“First we have to get there,” he smiled. “I’ll be happy just to get within range and then arrive in Abu Dhabi. There’s a fantastic welcome for everybody in store once we get there, that’s for sure.”
Team Vestas Wind surprised onlookers when a choir on board their support boat burst into song just prior to the start. Their message was loud and clear: 'There's an even more important race we must win - to save the environment'.
Leg 2 is expected to take between 22 to 28 days to complete, depending on conditions. The boats will remain in Abu Dhabi over Christmas and the New Year before setting sail again on January 3 for Sanya, China.
VOLVO IS FIRST AUTOMOTIVE BRAND TO USE GOOGLE CARDBOARD
Volvo’s XC90 Experience Is World’s First Full Virtual Reality Test Drive on a Smartphone – at the Los Angeles Auto Show & on Smartphones Everywhere
Rockleigh, N.J. – November 13, 2014 – Volvo Cars is the first automotive brand to use Google Cardboard to transform the way businesses enable audiences to experience a product: through the lens of virtual reality via Google Cardboard. Starting at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Volvo is inviting auto and innovation enthusiasts to experience a revolutionary way to test drive the all-new XC90, months before it arrives in the US.
After downloading the Volvo Reality app and inserting their phone in the Google Cardboard, viewers will be transported into an XC90 where they can explore and immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of the car on the open road.
“Using Google Cardboard exemplifies the marriage of innovation and design engineering. With nothing more than a smartphone, cardboard, two lenses and a magnet, customers can experience a test drive that puts them in the driver’s seat of the XC90,” said Bodil Eriksson, EVP, Product, Brand, Marketing & Communications, Volvo Cars North America. “With Google Cardboard we can deliver an experience that is so much richer than simple videos or pictures. We can now transport people into a 360-degree world where they can explore and experience the next-generation luxury SUV, months before it’s in dealerships.”
Themed around a weekend escape, the Volvo Reality experience with Google Cardboard lets users immerse themselves in a stunning natural landscape, the interior of the car, and the road itself. The first in a trilogy, “Friday Getaway” begins in an open field, takes you far up into the mountains, and culminates in a stunning look at a star-filled sky. Future episodes will continue the journey. The experience also includes a custom soundtrack to complement the test drive.
"With Cardboard, we want to inspire and encourage the creation of immersive digital experiences," said Andrew Nartker, Product Manager for Google Cardboard. "We're excited to see Volvo build and share their own unique experience at the LA Auto Show using Cardboard."
Volvo teamed up with two award-winning companies to bring this first-of-its-kind experience to the virtual reality road. R/GA created the concept with Volvo and led the design, technical development and implementation of Volvo Reality. Framestore used its virtual reality expertise to film and create an unparalleled test drive in multiple dimensions. Their approach for their first-ever Google Cardboard project included a combination of photoreal CGI and a proprietary, 360-degree VR camera technique.
Initially the experience will be available on Android, with iOS following shortly after. For more information or to request a Google Cardboard kit, please visit www.volvocars.com/us/volvoreality. Fans can follow @VolvoCarsUS on Twitter for more news and share their experiences with the hashtag #VolvoReality. They can also build their own Cardboard using these schematics at g.co/cardboard.
Volvo’s XC90 will be in the South Hall Lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center from November 18 to 30, 2014.
Volvo Cars at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show
Volvo Car Group reveals US Revival Plan
- Complete renewal of entire model range in five years
- Targets sales of over 100,000 in the medium term
- Volvo CEO: “We will not only stay in the US, we will prosper”
Volvo Cars today revealed full details of its plan to revive sales in the US, which will be led by a complete renewal of its entire product range in the next five years, a renewed focus on its dealer network, world first engine and safety technologies, a new management team and increased marketing spending.
The announcement of the plan comes at the LA Auto Show, where Volvo will introduce the all-new XC90 seven seater SUV to the US and also reveal the new V60 Cross Country wagon.
The Swedish company is confident that it can reverse a 10-year trend of falling sales in the US to sell around 100,000 cars a year in the medium term, compared to around 60,000 forecast sales this year. This will bring the company's performance in the US into line with the strong sales growth it has generated in Western Europe and China.
“Volvo is in the US to stay. Not only will we stay, we will prosper,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo Cars. “We have a plan and we are implementing it. We sold over 100,000 cars a year in the US in the past. Our initial aim is to get back to that level and in the longer term surpass it.”
Volvo's US Revival Plan has five elements. They are:
- The complete renewal of the product range in the next five years which begins with the all-new XC90 and V60 Cross Country
- A full scale strengthening of the brand with a marketing budget set to double in the next year
- A focus on developing the dealer network to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support brand development and new products
- A focus on managing residual values to ensure that the company’s premium position is reflected in the long term value of its products
- A drive to improve service operations and deliver real profit opportunities to the dealer network as well as an uncompromising approach to service quality
This revival plan will be implemented by a new management team, which is already in place. It will also be underpinned by several new technologies. These include Drive-E, the most powerful and environmentally friendly engines on the market, world beating safety technologies and the latest connectivity capabilities.
The all new XC90 in LA
The US public is being offered its first look at the all new XC90 at the LA Auto Show.
The XC90 is a visually striking, premium quality seven seat SUV with world leading safety features, new powertrain technologies, an unrivalled combination of power and fuel efficiency and a superlative interior finish.
The new XC90 marks the beginning of a new chapter in Volvo’s history, capturing its future design direction, incorporating its own range of new technologies and utilising its new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) technology.
The First Edition of the all-new Volvo XC90, 1,927 individually numbered cars only available for sale via digital commerce, sold out in 47 hours after it was released in early September 2014.
World premiere in Los Angeles: the Volvo V60 Cross Country
In Los Angeles, Volvo Cars also showcases the long-awaited Cross Country version of its successful V60 sports wagon.
Compared to the regular V60, the V60 Cross Country has an increased ground clearance of 65 mm. Furthermore, offering new Cross Country 18” and 19” wheels, the V60 Cross Country comes with high profile tyres, adding comfort and off-road aesthetics, reducing road noise and providing added wheel protection whether climbing kerbs or negotiating rocky roads.
The US and Canada will get the first V60 Cross Country cars, and they will launch with Volvo’s iconic five cylinder 250 hp petrol engine with All-Wheel Drive coupled to an automatic transmission delivering a highly competitive 23 mpg.
Volvo’s new class-leading Drive-E four-cylinder petrol engines, which will be available in the V60 Cross Country globally in early 2015, will be the base for the Front-Wheel Drive variant, while the proven five-cylinder D4 powertrain will provide the power for the All-Wheel Drive variant.
The Cross Country brand has a long and distinguished heritage. Volvo Cars was the first premium brand to offer increased all-road capability and styling on its wagons as far back as 1997 when it introduced the V70 Cross Country, creating a whole new type of car experience that has since captured the imagination of the motoring public.