BMW of North America has introduced a racing wheelchair developed specifically for the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Team.
With less than 100 days to go until the Rio Games, BMW is showcasing a racing wheelchair which represents a joint effort from the company’s engineers and designers. Work started with a 3D scan of athletes in the existing aluminum racing chair that has now made the switch to a carbon fiber construction to improve strength-to-weight ratio. In addition, the use of carbon fiber allowed the developers to play around with the wheelchair’s shape in order to achieve improved aerodynamics.
Compared to the previous racing wheelchair, the latest version adopts a completely redesigned chassis substantially stiffer than before which keeps the wheels more aligned. The seat’s height, along with the knee angle, width and steering device are all adjustable to better fit each of the four members of the BMW Performance Team. During development, BMW made numerous measurements and also custom molds of the athletes’ legs, so each racing wheelchair has a different size tailored to the member of the team.
In the lead up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Team USA athletes are going to help BMW make the necessary tweaks to further improve the racing wheelchair’s performances. Brad Cracchiola, Associate Director, BMW Group DesignWorks, says it's a “fully customized racing device” and will be delivered to the U.S. Paralympics track and field racers early in the summer.