With a year to go until the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games 2022 in Beijing, GB Snowsport have teamed up with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), a world-leading technology and engineering business born out of Williams F1, in support of the country’s quest for more Paralympic success at the Games and indeed across the whole 2021/22 winter season.
Drawing on expert knowledge from WAE’s Sports and Human Performance Team, the partnership will see athletes and performance specialists from GB Snowsport’s elite programme work with product designers, engineers and performance specialists to boost the nation’s chance of success.
“We are working across a number of areas but at the moment, to maintain confidentiality, we are unable to provide any further information” said a WAE spokesperson. However Paul McNamara, Technical Director at Williams Advanced Engineering, did confirm that, “…in just a few months we have already seen exciting progress, and we look forward to seeing this translate into positive gains over the next 12 months.”
In the past Williams Advanced Engineering worked with Paralympic athlete Karen Darke to develop a state-of-the-art hand cycle for use at the Rio Paralympics in 2016.
Using race bred race principles, the team designed a lighter and more aerodynamically efficient hand cycle employing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and team of aerodynamicists to ensure that the bike’s shape was optimised to reduce drag. Additionally, carbon composite materials were used to keep it lightweight yet strong and the bike’s ergonomics were completely redesigned for better usability allowing easier access to gear changes for the rider. The result was immediate success and Karen won the gold medal in the H1-3 Time Trail beating her previous personal best by a significant margin.
The new wintersports partnership will bring learnings from WAE’s previous successes such as Karen’s and will also be supported by industry-leading expertise from Coventry University, BAE Systems and Formaplex.
“We are committed to working with our incredible Paralympic athletes to ensure they have the best chance of success at competitions throughout the season but also as they head into the Paralympic Winter Games. By working with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) we are gaining access to some of the country’s leading experts in engineering and performance.” Said Vicky Gosling, GB Snowsport Chief Executive.
The outcomes of the partnership are expected to be in-place by the end of this year to support athletes across the full 2021/22 season and into the XIII Paralympic Winter Games, which get underway in Beijing on Friday 4 March 2022.