BMW Bobsled High Tech Hopes
When Michael Scully, a designer for BMW was given the task of developing a new BMW bobsled design for Team USA two years ago, he wasn’t expecting much when he took his first ride in a bobsled in October 2011. The 70mph run down the Lake Placid track however, made a huge impact on the designer of 20 years.
“Just the brutality and the violence of it was something that really left an impact on me.”
After the initial shock of the run, Scully got down to business and according to reports, it took 69 attempts using computer design tools to create a blueprint. A prototype was created using the lightweight carbon fiber that is used in BMW’s newest all-electric cars. The end result, 6 two-man bobsleds were built for the U.S. men’s and women’s teams.
The sleds, complying with the The International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation are shorter and have a completely different weight distribution than previous sleds used by the U.S. team, or for that matter any of the the countries participating in the Sochi 2014 games.
BMW’s Bobsled Ultimate Machine
The BMW designed sled moves the weight from the front to the centre of the sled. This helps to improve the handling and maintain the momentum during the directional changes on the track. In a race prior to the Sochi Olympics, one of the U.S. mens bob sledders, Steven Holcomb won the World Cup title in the new machine. The technology according to Scully and its 3 year development process can be applied to BMW vehicles, with potential improvements in handling aerodynamics.
“Designing something that has to experience so many varied positions as it goes down the track, that’s a new level of aerodynamic challenge compared to what a car would have experienced typically.”
The sleds look sleek and much different that anything that is currently on the bobsled circuit. Although no figure has been disclosed by BMW as to the cost of development and production, BMW has confirmed that these 2014 Sochi Olympic games are the biggest investment that they have made to support the U.S. Olympic team.
The U.S. bobsled team is hoping to see some positive results from the BMW designed sleds. In a sport where races are won by hundredths of a second, the new sleds could be the difference between a medal or not. BMW has supported the U.S. Olympic team and their quest for gold for many years. Currently advertising for the Olympics includes an series of vignettes that focus on the development of the new bobsleds.
BMW is all about controlled speed, performance and precision, all attributes that can result in gold medal athletes! Perhaps when the Olympics are over, Young Drivers of Canada could test the bobsleds. After all, winter driving is similar to bob sledding as it also involves control of speed, performance in terms of having the right tires and precision, ensuring that you make the right moves on ice and snow.
Good luck to all the athletes participating in the Sochi 2014 Olympics!