New two-man bobsled design delivered to Team USA

Sunday, 18 November 2012
By Mike Rowbottom

BMW-designed-two-man-bobsled-for-Team-USA-Nov 18November 18 - The United States bobsled team has had a new two-man bobsled designed and constructed by BMW of North America, which will be ready for use in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The US ambition of matching the traditional technical expertise of the European Alpine model has been hugely advanced through the development of the new bobsled, which replaces the basic sled used by Team USA for the last 20 years.

While Team USA won gold in the four-man bobsled at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the two-man Olympic gold is one that has eluded the US since 1936.

The prototype sled - which has been more than a year in development, has now been delivered to the US Bobsled and Skeleton Foundation (USBSF) by the Official Mobility Partner of the US Olympic Committee (USOC).

After drawing on the experience of members within the USBSF, engineers from BMW then examined the design and performance history of existing two-man sled platforms, one of which has been the default bobsled of Team USA for more than 20 years, in order to completely re-engineer the two-man bobsled.

The company has paired intelligent lightweight materials, optimised aerodynamics and chassis dynamics to leverage the energy output of the two-man team, increasing overall sport performance.

"We're extremely proud of what we've been able to accomplish as a team in the last 10 years, and know that we have the athletic potential to bring home more Olympic gold medals next year,"
said Darrin Steele, chief executive officer of USBSF.

1936 winter olympics usa two man bobsled Nov 18Ivan Brown and Alan Washbond, the last two Americans to win two-man bobsled Olympic gold medals, pictured at the 1936 Winter Olympics, held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany

"By bringing BMW in to provide its expertise, we see an opportunity to close an equipment gap between Team USA and countries that have historically led Olympic two-man bobsled competition."

The prototype will be refined through testing over the next year.

"What's been unique to this process is the level of collaboration by our creative team with the performance staff at USA Bobsled and Skeleton," said Laurenz Schaffer, President, BMW Group DesignworksUSA.

"The level of immersion we've been able to achieve, which included athlete interviews for preferences and improvement areas, ergonomic evaluations and optimization studies in aerodynamics, has helped us to design what we believe will be a truly improved and innovative product."

This announcement succeeds the completion of BMW's first and second technology transfer projects as part of its partnership with the USOC: a velocity measurement system for long jumpers and a motion tracking system for swimmers.

USA bobsled 2010 Winter Olympics Nov 18 Team USA in action at the fourman bobsleigh event during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

All are part of BMW's larger commitment to advancing the training and performance goals of the athletes of Team USA as part of a sponsorship that extends through the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"At BMW, we're no strangers to sport performance characteristics such as agility, speed and aerodynamics," said Ludwig Willisch, President and chief executive officer, BMW of North America.

"To be involved in a project with opportunity for such direct transfer of our core competencies to the advancement of Team USA was a very exciting proposition for us.

"We can't wait to see this finished sled on the ice."

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