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America's Cup Racezone: Emirates Team NZ open simulator to the public

by Diandra Cave, Anthem PR 28 Sep 2020 05:39 PDT 29 September 2020
ETNZ skipper, Peter Burling gives some tuition on the ETNZ simulator - Spark 5G Race Zone - September 28, 2020, Emirates Team NZ base, Auckland © Richard Gladwell /

Spark has launched its 5G Race Zone, an immersive multi-sensory experience that gets New Zealanders closer to the America’s Cup than ever before.

It will open to the public on Thursday. Because of the interactive nature of the Race Zone, it is essential that you pre-book a time slot.

The centrepiece of the Race Zone is the Emirates Team New Zealand simulator complete with steering wheel and two other crew positions. The simulator is one used by the team and has not previously been put on display.

The ultimate preview of Spark’s 5G network, a month out from its launch in Auckland, the 5G Race Zone gives visitors the opportunity to feel, create, learn and even smell all things sailing – without getting on the water – by bringing together the best of sailing and technology in seven fully interactive zones.

Powered by Spark’s 5G technology and created alongside partner Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), the 5G Race Zone is located at the ETNZ base in Wynyard Quarter, Auckland and is due to open to public on the 1 October.

Spark Technology Director Mark Beder says from now until the America’s Cup in March 2021, Spark’s 5G Race Zone will provide Kiwis with the opportunity to get up close to the America’s Cup action, thanks to the unique applications of 5G technology.

“Emirates Team New Zealand has been leveraging Spark’s 5G network to gain an edge in its America’s Cup preparation for several months now and while much of the team’s technology remains top secret, they have agreed to give the public a taste of how they’ve been preparing to defend the America’s Cup at our 5G Race Zone,” says Beder.

“Using our 5G network we will give visitors the chance to feel what it’s actually like onboard the team’s boat, Te Aihe, during a 4D virtual experience, where they will hear the sounds of the boat racing through the water, feel the breeze and even smell the sea air.”

Each of the seven zones at Spark’s 5G Race Zone tap into the different benefits of 5G: speed, low latency and mass connectivity.

Sailing fans can build their own AC75 and test their design skills in a 5G streamed gaming environment. They can even take the helm of an AC75 through the same multi-crew simulator ETNZ use, or capture selfies with the crew and the America’s Cup through Augmented Reality.

Visitors will also be able to see daily visual representations of the wind particles on Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf, collected from NIWA. They can also familiarise themselves with the America’s Cup course through a high-res projection of the Waitemata Harbour, showing wind, ocean currents and weather patterns that ETNZ analyse to make the boat go faster.

ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton said technology and innovation have always been critical elements of successful America’s Cup campaigns, and this year the team is pushing the boat out further, innovating and testing harder than ever before with the help of Spark’s 5G.

“We’re excited to offer our supporters the chance to experience the buzz of the event off the water and see first-hand how the America’s Cup is as much a technology race as it is a yacht race. Spark’s 5G Race Zone is a place for anyone who wants to get closer to how we’ve been preparing our America’s Cup defense.”

Visitors will receive a RFID lanyard on arrival at Spark’s 5G Race Zone to use as their digital companion to capture shareable photos and content from their tour.

The family-friendly experience is free to the public and bookings can be made at

Spark worked with key technology partners Nokia, Huawei, Cisco, HP and NIWA to deliver the Spark 5G Race Zone experience, with a shared goal of educating New Zealanders about the powerful potential of 5G technology.

About Spark 5G Race Zone: What: A free, multi-sensory event suitable for ages eight to eighty Where: Emirates Team New Zealand Base, 161 Halsey Street, Wynyard Quarter When: 1 October 2020 – March 2021 Pre-book your experience at

About 5G: 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. It has the potential to bring super-fast downloads, minimal latency, massive connectivity and outstanding reliability. 5G has the potential to reach download speeds of up to 100 times faster than 4G, opening up huge possibilities for business and the way New Zealanders live, work and play.

Operating Spark 5G Race Zone under Alert Level 2:

The Spark 5G Race Zone has been built to safely operate within Alert Level 2 guidelines. This includes rigorous cleaning processes of all equipment and limiting the number of guests in the zone. Visitor safety is our top priority and we ask anyone feeling unwell to delay their visit. We also request all visitors to sign in via the provided QR code on site.

Spark 5G Race Zone experiences:

Wind Tunnel

Step into a slice of today’s wind visualised like you’ve never seen before. 5G will open up all new ways to collect and visualise essential data. Emirates Team New Zealand study masses of NIWA data from across the region to understand the differing windstates and use nature to their advantage.

Course Selection Knowing every part of the Waitemata gives Emirates Team New Zealand an edge. This super high-res weather model visualises today’s data. By analysing NIWA weather and tide data they can predict the course and set the boat up to make the most of the conditions.

Te Aihe

Get on board an immersive insider experience as Te Aihe takes flight during a development day. Join the crew as they test the limits, collecting data with Spark 5G, looking for more ways to make the boat go faster.

5G Portal

Connect to multiple data streams and experience the speed of 5G. You can explore the 5G Feed to see what's trending in the America's Cup world or pose for a photo and become part of the Emirates Team New Zealand support team.

Meet the team

Meet the team behind the scenes, get to know the crew and use Spark 5G to snap your own interactive AR photo with the sailors or the America’s Cup.

Boat Builder

Create your own high-performance AC75 and put your design skills to the test in a 5G streamed gaming environment.

AC75 Simulator

Take the helm of Emirates Team New Zealand’s high tech secret weapon. It uses Spark 5G to collect data on the water to help them push boat design to its limit. Test your skills at the helm or take charge of the foils as you fly across the Waitemata.

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