BMW helped kick off the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, with a spectacular aerial stunt to deliver the iconic trophy for the opening ceremony. Wingsuit pilot Peter Salzmann descended onto Whistling Straits from nearly two miles above with the Ryder Cup trophy, secured in a special case created by Designworks, a BMW Group company. The trophy was then driven to the opening ceremony in BMW’s first ever, fully-electric BMW iX Sports Activity Vehicle. A video of the aerial stunt, dubbed “The Ultimate Journey,” is available online here, along with additional information on the design of the trophy case and Salzmann.
“The Ryder Cup is of significant importance in the golfing and sporting world,” said Stefan Ponikva, Vice President Brand Communication and Brand Experience BMW Group. “This contest casts its spell over the competitors and teams, just as it does the enthusiastic spectators at the course and the many fans watching from the edge of their seats all over the world. To acknowledge the prominent position of this competition, and to celebrate the premiere of BMW as Worldwide Partner of the Ryder Cup, we wanted to make the arrival of the trophy particularly special. To do so, we created a unique case for the trophy, which is both innovative and representative.”
For the stunt, Salzmann and his team leapt out of a helicopter from nearly two miles above sea level, with the Ryder Cup enclosed in the trophy case, and fastened to the Austrian’s body using a device that guaranteed him the necessary freedom of movement and also had the required aerodynamic properties. This made it possible to land safely with the trophy after two minutes of flying at a top speed of nearly 143 miles per hour.
“When asked to work on this project connected to the historical Ryder Cup event, it was something that excited me to be a part of,” said Tommy Forsgren, Designworks Lead Designer. “We just knew it had to be a product that blends the BMW i excitement for technology with the prestigious and honorable aspects surrounding the event itself. The case design is a true innovative BMW i product – its premium qualities and exclusivity matching the new BMW iX in terms of color and material finish.”
When developing the trophy case, the chief priority was to protect the Ryder Cup during the stunt. At the same time, the case had to be created to also guarantee the freedom to move for Salzmann, as well as the optimal aerodynamic properties. Furthermore, it should be an emotive design, which continues to represent the status of the trophy and the event even after the stunt. The challenge was to create a product that it innovative, luxurious, and inspiring, and thus reflects the spirit of BMW i. A challenge tailor-made for Designworks, the innovative engine of the BMW Group, with its expertise in bringing together the needs of mobility and other sectors.
The trophy case consists of an outer aluminum frame and a 3D-printed space frame capsule with large gaps, allowing the Ryder Cup trophy to be seen, even when closed and during the flight. The case can be attached to the interior skeleton of the wingsuit just as quickly as it can to a wall, with the opening mechanism similarly found on a wing door.
The Ryder Cup is not the first project on which BMW i, Designworks, and Peter Salzmann have collaborated. Together, they developed the ‘Electrified Wingsuit by BMW i’: an innovative, electric drive module, and a wingsuit designed from scratch allowed Salzmann to fulfill his dream of developing his sport and breaking new ground with sophisticated drive technology.