BMW of North America, the Official Mobility Partner of the United States Olympic Committee, recently announced a new racing wheelchair for the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Team. BMW is working with Team USA athletes and coaches to design and develop the racing wheelchair, set to make its competitive debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The racing wheelchair reflects the aesthetics and engineering of BMW vehicles, with various aerodynamic enhancements, carbon fiber materials, chassis reinforcements, and a personalized signature for each athlete.
The development of the racing wheelchair is something unique for BMW.
“Working on this project has been a truly rewarding experience for my team and we’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in the last year and half with these athletes and their coaches,” said Brad Cracchiola, Associate Director, BMW Group DesignWorks.
According to Cracchiola, a lot of thought went into the project and the team is excited to see its conclusion.
“From fittings and immersion sessions, to data analysis and real-time testing, we had the unique opportunity to build a fully customized racing device. We’re eager to complete the final product and look forward to watching Team USA compete,” he said.
With the help of Team USA athletes, BMW will work over the next few months to adjust and improve the wheelchair leading up to the Games. The final fleet of wheelchairs for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will be delivered to the U.S. Paralympics track and field racers this summer.
“Our partnership with Team USA over the last six years has been a remarkable journey, but the most rewarding part of it all has been the direct collaboration with our athletes,” said Trudy Hardy, Vice President, Marketing, BMW of North America.
The BMW racing wheelchair is the company’s fourth technology transfer project, following a two-man bobsled which helped Team USA overcome a 62-year medal drought at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The automaker has worked with Team USA since signing on as a sponsor in 2010.
“Their dedication to their sport and their fans is unprecedented, and as a company dedicated to performance and mobility, this has been a project that felt right at home for us and we’re honored to be part of it,” Hardy said.
*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.