German athlete Andrea Eskau will literally have the full support of Toyota at the upcoming Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, as Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) has developed the sled she will compete on at the games.
Our motorsport team based in Cologne, Germany, first collaborated with Andrea in 2011, when they developed a seat insert for her double gold medal-winning performance in the cycling at the London 2012, Paralympics.
Utilising their experience in advanced composite technologies honed in Formula 1 and at the Le Mans 24 hours, the experts at TMG have developed a sled made entirely from carbon fibre that weighs an incredible 4.172kg - down from a typical 5.5kg.
Designed from a scratch, the project team of Gerard Winstanley, Norbert Schäfer and Sergej Biech at TMG cooperated closely with Andrea. Their target was to build a sled that weighed as little as possible, with an ergonomic shape that fitted Andrea perfectly.
Crafting a slender 1.5mm carbon body shell that extends to 2mm only in areas that have to cope with extreme loads, the composite experts called on Formula 1 suspension elements to create strong and aerodynamic legs that bonds to the main body of the sled.
To save weight and ensure performance at speeds as high as 50km/h, the team have developed an innovative solution that allowed the skis to be clipped on and off the body. This, and the fact the sled needs to function reliably at temperatures as low as -20ºC, meant the team at TMG were tested in a way that motorsport never tested them!
Andrea will be competing in a total of seven events from the 8th March: the Biathlon (6km, 10km, 12.5km), cross country (1km, 5km, 10km) and team relay.
Andrea said: ‘Thanks to TMG I now have absolute confidence in my sled and I’m determined to reward their energy with medals in Sochi.’
We will all be cheering Andrea on in her quest for gold.