BMW builds bobsled for US Olympic team
BMW has provided a sneak peek at its two-man bobsled, in the form of this illustration
When the US Bobsled Team hits the ice at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, they’ll be doing it in a BMW. The team hasn’t won a gold medal in two-man bobsledding since 1936, so the USA Bobsled & Skeleton Federation (USBSF) asked the automaker to design them a faster sled – and it did just that.
BMW's DesignworksUSA group started by hitting the USBSF up for its own input on what it would like to see in a sled, plus it looked into the history and design of existing two-man sleds. It then spent over a year designing the new sled, applying its BMW EfficientDynamics principles – which are usually used for designing lighter, faster, more fuel-efficient cars – to the task.
The resulting prototype is said to combine “lightweight materials, optimized aerodynamics and chassis dynamics to leverage the energy output of the two-man team, increasing overall sport performance.” Michael Scully, Creative Director of Design at DesignworksUSA, told us “In concert with the extensive regulatory requirements which define a bobsled, our shape is dedicated to optimized aerodynamic flow characteristics not only in regions of critical drag-inducing elements of the sled, but also the athletes themselves.”
The prototype has been delivered to the USBSF, where the BMW engineers will continue to refine the design in collaboration with athletes and coaches, via on-ice testing.
Once complete, the new sled will replace a model that has been used by the US Bobsled Team for over 20 years.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
Can't show us any pics. Don't want to provide fair competition in amateur athletics. The competition now has to hire NASA, Space-X or Ferrari to be competitive. Interesting how the misallocation of resources has screwed up our world. People need to start thinking about the affects of their decisions and actions even though it is a really cool project. Most people have no idea what many people could do with the amount of money probably expended on this project? It's kind of sad because we are on the precipice of breaking the Holy Grail in energy. Not over-unity but just understanding & breaking barriers once thought limited in both chemisty and physics.
Misallocation of resources is usually the province of governments. Having read the USBSF minutes from June of this year, it does not appear to be associated with the government (although they did lose money, does that count?). Staying with 20-year-old technology is so...well...20 years ago. So I say, damn the mixed metaphors, full speed ahead!
Bruce H. Anderson
If you can't win... cheat...
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