Team USA is now driving a BMW.
Team USA's brand new BMW-designed two-man bobsled made its world debut over the weekend at the FIBT World Cup in Igls, Austria. BMW teamed with the USA Bobsled & Skeleton Federation last year to overhaul Team USA's 20-year-old bobsled design.
The BMW-made sled was developed around the automaker's EfficientDynamics model, with a heavy emphasis placed on lightweight materials optimized aerodynamics. However, the design is clearly in need of some fine tuning as the new rig could only muster a 14th place finish in Igls.
Steven Holcomb, part of the two-man team that piloted the experimental BMW-designed sled, complained that the bobsled was a bit too narrow. As a result of that size issue, Holcomb struggled to get a clean start.
"The sled is a little narrower, so it's not as easy to get into," Holcomb said. "But it's not like you can go half speed in a race. We went as hard as we could. My spikes got caught in the ropes and I reacted one way while the sled reacted the other way. Unfortunately we wasted half a second right there when we hit the wall and skid."
He added: "I don't know any sled project that comes out of the box and wins, so we knew we might have to lose before we can win."
Team USA won't have much time to make adjustments. Holcomb and teammate Curt Tomasevicz will run the new BMW bobsled in the 2013 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland next week.