By Steve & Tamami Laser
Nissan offers cars, trucks, vans and SUVs of every shape and size imaginable. Yet what if Nissan decided to explore the winter sports equipment market and build something crazy like…a bobsleigh?
Tossing conventional wisdom out the window, the hypothetical Nissan Bobsleigh would seat seven (instead of the traditional two or four) inspired by Nissan’s own X-Trail crossover. (X-Trail is similar to the U.S. market Nissan Rogue.)
To bring this dream to life, Nissan worked with bobsleigh experts to transform a traditional four-man sled into an X-Trail inspired “world’s first” seven-seater capable of reaching speeds of over 60 mph pulling a G-force of 4.5G.
Watch the X-Trail Bobsleigh make its inaugural run at the historic Olympic track, in Igls, Innsbruck, Austria, piloted by British Olympic medallist Sean Olsson. (video: Nissan Europe)
Darryl Scriven, Design Manager for Nissan Design Europe (NDE), teamed up with expert bobsled manufacturer Diego Menardi and sport expert Ian Richardson to morph car design with Olympic aerodynamics.
The seven-seater was developed using sketches and computer-aided design (CAD). Nissan says the detail on the bobsleigh’s nose was crafted to express the X-Trail’s V-motion grille and capture the sculpture of the hood character lines.
The bobsleigh mimics X-Trail’s design, with a distinctive front aspect, headlights and seven-seater option. It also gives passengers a 360-degree, bird’s-eye view to capture all of the action like X-Trail’s own Around View Monitor system.
In this video, see the X-Trail Bobsleigh go from an idea to reality thanks to a dedicated team of hard-working professionals. (video: Nissan Europe)
“We wanted to give the opportunity to experience first-hand the adventurous nature of our crossover segment through the thrill and excitement of Olympic bob-sleighing,” said Scriven. “The process we’ve employed on this project is the same as when we were developing the car. We start with a sketch and we move all the way through the digital workplace to the physical assets.”
Director at European bobsleigh factory El fòuro in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Menardi started working on bobsleighs in 1979. Since 1985 he has built competition sledges for national teams, including Canada, Italy and the Principality of Monaco.
Former Director of Sport for the British Bobsleigh Association, Richardson is the founder of IceSpeed Ltd, providing bobsleigh related consultancy and events. He also sits on the Membership Committee of the newly formed British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association.
X-Trail Bobsleigh pilot Sean Olsson has represented Team GB in three Winter Olympic Games. Sean made his debut in 1992 in Albertville, France. Two years later, he competed in Lillehammer before claiming a bronze at the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998. He was the Head Coach to the women’s GB Bobsleigh team for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. He has been British Champion 20 times (in two- and four-man bob) and was the Army and Interservice champion for ten years.
The sport of bobsleigh begin in the late 19th century when the Swiss attached two skeleton sleds together and added a steering mechanism to make a toboggan. A chassis was added to give protection to tourists and the world’s first bobsleigh club was founded in St Moritz, Switzerland in 1897.
In its original form, the first races used skeleton sleds made of wood. However, they were soon replaced by steel sleds that came to be known as bobsleighs because of the way crews bobbed back and forth to increase their speed at the start. Today, the world’s top teams train year-round and compete mostly on artificial ice tracks in sleek high-tech sleds made of fibreglass and steel.
In 1924, a four-man race took place at the first ever Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix. A two-man event was added at the 1932 Lake Placid Games in a format that has remained to the present. The first women’s bobsleigh event – the two-woman bobsled – was held in 2002.
News source, photos and videos courtesy Nissan Europe
Story ©2016 CarNichiWa.com