America's Cup 2021: 'Bring it on' - Luna Rossa's Jimmy Spithill lays down challenge to Team NZ

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill is already salivating at the prospect of gaining some revenge over Emirates Team NZ in the America's Cup next month.

On Sunday, the Australian helped the Italian syndicate close out its challenger final against INEOS Team UK with two more commanding wins to clinch the best-of-13 series by a dominant 7-1 margin.

And before his boat was barely dry, the Aussie was already talking up the opportunity to heal the wounds that are clearly still fresh from his defeat to Team NZ four years ago, when he was at the helm of Oracle Team USA in Bermuda.

"For me personally, it’s been a long time since Bermuda," Spithill says. "A lot of sleepless nights since then.

"I'm very grateful for being given a shot to work within this team. The entire team of Luna Rossa have accepted me into their passion, they are an amazing Italian team.

"But now the work begins, this is what we live for, what we have been working so hard for year after year. 

"I can't wait, bring it on."

Team NZ emerged 7-1 victors in that series in the Carribean in 2017, which went some way towards erasing its staggering collapse at the hands of Spithill at the 2013 America's Cup regatta in San Francisco -  the beginning of a deep-seated rivalry with the brash Aussie.

Heading into his fourth consecutive America's Cup match, the 41-year-old realises the magnitude of the challenge ahead of him, with another chapter in that heated rivalry with Team NZ set to be written.

Team UK skipper Sir Ben Ainslie likened racing against Team NZ on the Hauraki Gulf to "taking on the All Blacks at Eden Park", and Spithill agrees wholeheartedly with that assessment.

"What an incredible opportunity," he says. "It's going to be a real undertaking against a team like that - a very talented team on and off the water.

"To me, they are fast. They have created a very nice package.

"It's no surprise to be honest, they have always been very, very strong as a team."

One advantage Spithill and his crew will have on their side is time on the water in genuine match-racing conditions.

"We have taken a lot from the racing," he insists.

"As we've seen in training, as we have seen in the simulator, nothing can replicate real hard racing. That's really where your learnings come from. We are going to build on what we went through against INEOS.

"But we are not going in there underestimating the Kiwis. They are the best in the world, they are the defender for a reason, and we are in for one hell of a fight.

"Man, these Kiwis are going to be tough. But that’s the great thing about sport - if it was easy it wouldn’t be worth doing."

Spithill will get his first crack at the Kiwis on March 6, when the opening two races of the best-of-17 series take place.

Join us on March 6 for live updates of the opening America's Cup races between Team NZ and Luna Rossa