If BMW built wheelchairs... it's Munich's trick racer for 2016 Paralympics

Published: 05 August 2015

► BMW's radical racing wheelchair
► Improvements for Paralympic athletes
► Set to arrive before Rio games in 2016

Meet the BMW of the wheelchair world: it's a racing chair designed by the company's Designworks team in California especially for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.

BMW North America is entering its sixth year as official mobility sponsor for the United States Olympic Committee (USOL), explaining why the German car giant is teaming up with the track and field team to identify weaknesses in their equipment. This nifty new racing wheelchair, revealed in this first official design sketch, is the first fruit of the collaboration. 

Where’s the kidney grille on the BMW racing wheelchair?

Quite. Instead of focusing on Munich look and feel, the car designers have given the wheelchair racer a complete chassis redesign, honed its aerodynamics, used carbonfibre for greater durability, added an athlete restraint and boosted the steering and braking systems. Wheelchairs are usually rear-wheel drive, after all... 

Trudy Hardy, vice-president of marketing for BMW North America, said: ‘This one is special not only because it presents a unique design challenge, but it helps solve a bigger mobility challenge for our Paralympic athletes.’

By Matt Bell

Former digital intern at CAR