Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton is expecting all four America's Cup syndicates to "bring their 'A' game" to this week's World Series and Christmas Cup events despite them having a "preseason" feel.
After two weeks of official practices, Team NZ and the three challengers will get some real races under their belt from Thursday when the double round robin World Series kicks off ahead of Sunday's Christmas Cup.
Dalton said this week's action is particularly important for the Kiwis as it's the only time they'll get to race before they defend the Auld Mug for real next year.
"The Prada Cup is the challengers deciding on someone to race us so we don't race in that," Dalton said.
"So the only actual racing we'll do against the challengers is this week and then the next time we'll see them is at the start of the America's Cup on March 6."
Dalton said for that reason Team New Zealand will put their best foot forward this week on the water and he expects the others to do the same.
"People talk about whether teams will sandbag and not bring their A game, but they'll bring their 'A' game to this because there's so little racing based on Covid, you've got to bring your A game to find out where you're at.
"Every team feels good at this stage but by Sunday, one or two may not."
Thursday's racing starts at 3pm with Team NZ squaring off with Challenger of Record Luna Rossa.