QinetiQ teams up with Ben Fogle & James Cracknell in race to the South Pole

17 Jun 2008

QinetiQ today announced a technology partnership with Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell and TV presenter Ben Fogle. The partnership will see QinetiQ apply the company’s science and technology expertise to support Ben and James in their attempt to win the international Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race later this year. Ben and James' team, known as Team QinetiQ, will be competing against other teams from around the world.

All participants will be using identical equipment but Team QinetiQ will prepare for the gruelling race, the first to the South Pole since the Scott-Amundsen race nearly a century ago, at QinetiQ’s state-of-the-art facilities in Farnborough, Hampshire.

The team will draw on QinetiQ’s expertise in human sciences, and its emerging capability in energy and environmental sciences. With over 50 years' experience in applying science to human performance – gained from working with fast jet pilots and Formula One racing drivers – QinetiQ will be ensuring Ben and James maximize their own physical and mental endurance.

“To get ahead in the race to the South Pole you need world beating science and technology behind you," commented James Cracknell. "QinetiQ was the obvious choice when we were looking for a partner to help prepare us for one of the most dangerous and inhospitable places on earth. QinetiQ has a unique background and knowledge in areas such as human performance that means we are well positioned to win." Monitoring sleep patterns, devising special diets, preparing their bodies for the effects of extreme cold in climate chambers and analysing their personalities in order to maximize teamwork will all form part of QinetiQ’s rigorous preparation plans.

Simon Wickes, Capability Group Leader of Human Protection and Performance at QinetiQ said: “Using our climate chambers, Ben and James will be exposed to extremes of temperature, physical endurance and solitude. With the right preparation we can go a long way to giving them the edge they need to succeed."

Clive Richardson, QinetiQ's Chief Operating Officer for EMEA said: “We are very proud to be partnering with Ben and James to help them in their build up to this historic race. We will draw on our rich heritage of science and innovation in order to maximize Team QinetiQ's chances of success.”

The race itself is expected to start in December 2008 and will include international teams racing over 400 miles to the geographical pole. The first race of this century, almost 100 years after Scott and Amundsen’s historic race, will see the teams pulling 200 lb sledges over the same route, with the same equipment from the same start line.

Ben Fogle and James Cracknell seek third team member to join Team QinetiQ

On Tuesday 24 June the search for a third person to join the team was announced and those interested in applying should visit www.cometothepole.com for full details. The closing date for applications is 1st July 2008.

The successful applicant will gain a place in Team QinetiQ and, as part of the team, will have the science and technology backing of QinetiQ human performance expertise and its emerging capability in energy and environmental sciences to help them maximise their physical and mental endurance in preparation for the race. Preparation will also include training in Austria and a pre-expedition training visit to Greenland.

“We are looking for applicants who are physically fit, strong, able, dedicated and committed and who will be able to withstand the potentially harsh race conditions,” said Fogle. “Applicants should be prepared to endure isolation, deprivation and danger, be able to live in a small three-man tent, sharing daily duties and chores including man hauling, navigating, cooking and be capable of walking for up to 20 hours a day over snow, ice and crevasses.” he added.

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QinetiQ teams up with Ben Fogle & James Cracknell in race to the South Pole