NEW YORK (MainStreet) To further assert its "Ultimate Driving Machine" reputation, BMW North America used a team of engineers to design the new two-man bobsleds for the U.S. men's and women's Olympic teams. These speedy torpedoes, made from carbon fiber and using the application of EfficientDynamics as with the i3 and i8, are part of an ambitious branding exercise, associating the excellence in speed and dynamics in Sochi with the company's fleet of vehicle options.
Yesterday brought catharsis: this technology helped end the 62-year medal drought, as Steve Holcomb used the BMW sled to pilot the U.S. men to a two-man bronze, just .03 seconds ahead of the Russian pair that took fourth.
That's vindication for the car company's allocation of resources: the Olympic partnership marketing is BMW's biggest media marketing investment in the U.S. this year, and though the company would not confirm the scale, it has a six-year sponsorship deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) reported to be at $24 million.
Of course, the stakes were high: the U.S. men's two-man sled hadn't medaled since the 1952 Oslo Olympics. That's been in large part due to inferior equipment, with poor computational fluid dynamics testing and a lack of investment in the development of the sled.
This is in a sport where every tenth of a second matters.
Michael Scully, BMW Group DesignworksUSA Creative Director and a former race car driver himself, was the lead designer on the project and used the carbon fiber to make the sled lighter, sleeker.