Building an Olympic bobsled like a racecar

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

BMW bobsled
The sleek BMW bobsled.

Bobsledding is a winter sport in which a group of people lie in a bobsled and race down to the bottom of a winding ice track. It’s been more than 50 years since American athletes won a gold medal in the Olympic event, so they recruited a BMW car engineer to design their sled for this year’s Sochi Winter Games.

In order to reach the highest speeds possible, the bobsled should be lighter on the top and heavier towards the bottom. In order to do this, the fiberglass shell on the bobsled was replaced with a material known as carbon fiber, which is used in BMW’s latest car model. This small change took off about 15 pounds from the sled, which the engineer then redirected to the bottom for increased speed.

Additionally, the sled is designed to provide a smooth and quiet ride, which will allow the sled drivers to focus on control and accurate turns. The sled was further fine-tuned with a narrower nose, slimmer body, and sharp tail so the athletes can cut through the air at top speeds.

Images courtesy of Team USA on YouTube.