Shelley will be racing with Patrick Huybreghts in 2010
Shelley will be racing with Patrick Huybreghts in 2010

Shelley Jory-Leigh has been confirmed as the new driver for the Spirit of Belgium team ahead of the 2010 Powerboat P1 SuperSport Class World Championship campaign.

Jory-Leigh, British powerboat racing’s leading female pilot, formerly part of the Ikocasa team, will debut alongside Patrick Huybreghts in Split at the Croatian Grand Prix of the Sea, on April 16-18.

Following the recent announcement of Jory-Leigh’s sponsorship deal with international watch manufacturers, Rotary, Shelley has opted to part company with Audrien Ciantar after just one-year together, insisting she will miss their unique bond inside the cockpit, but is extremely pleased with her growing relationship with team owner, Huybreghts.

“Everything has been really positive so far. It’s great to be racing with Patrick and I am really excited to be joining a new team. The new boat looks amazing and we both truly believe that we have a fantastic chance of winning the world championship this year.”

The team’s official testing is due to begin at the end of February with Shelley joining Patrick at the team’s Nor-Tech base in Fort Myers, Florida. Jory-Leigh said: “Having started preparations earlier this year, we are much more organised and in great shape for testing.

“Patrick and I are working brilliantly together on team arrangements, logistics and sponsorship. Hopefully with my finesse and Patrick’s aggression, we can hit the ground running in Croatia in April and build upon some strong team foundations.”

Huybreghts, who set a Guinness World Record for the fastest crossing of The English Channel in a powerboat in 2007, was impressed with Shelley’s drive and determination, during his rookie year in 2009.

Having finished his first full championship season in fourth position, Huybreghts has his sights firmly set on the top three and matching his co-pilots feat in Istanbul in 2009, by winning his first Powerboat P1 Grand Prix of the Sea.

“Her commitment and drive is admirable. These are key skills to have in a small team. I watched her drive last year and I really liked her aggressive style on the water. Her passion for powerboating and chilling confidence when handling difficult situations made her an attractive person to race alongside. She’s very direct in attaining her goals and that is crucial in powerboat racing.