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.

Source: BMW

BMW Team USA Racing Wheelchair

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BMW Unveils Team USA Racing Wheelchair for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

BMW of North America, the Official Mobility Partner of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), today announced the official unveil of its new racing wheelchair designed for the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Team. BMW designers are working in close collaboration with Team USA athletes and coaches to design and develop the racing wheelchair which is set to make its competitive debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Developed by world-class designers and engineers, the new racing wheelchair draws upon the aesthetics and engineering of the automaker’s signature vehicle design. Encompassing BMW’s core competencies and fundamentals, the wheelchair features modernized aerodynamic efficiencies, carbon fiber material, a complete chassis redesign and a personalized approach for customized athlete fit.

“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. “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.”

“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. “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.”

With the help of Team USA athletes, BMW will work over the next few months to continue to adjust and improve the wheelchair in the lead up to the Games. The final fleet of wheelchairs for use in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games is slated to be delivered to the U.S. Paralympics track and field racers in the summer of 2016.

BMW has been implementing its resources to advance the training and performance goals of Team USA since signing on as a sponsor in 2010. The BMW racing wheelchair is the company’s fourth technology transfer project, following the delivery of a two-man bobsled which helped Team USA overcome a 62-year medal drought at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. To learn more about BMW’s partnership with the USOC and National Governing Bodies USA Bobsled & Skeleton, USA Swimming, USA Track & Field, USA Golf and U.S. Paralympics Track and Field visit