The 17th BMW Art Car, designed by American artist Jeff Koons, has been revealed at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, before racing at this weekend’s Le Mans 24-hour endurance event.
Based on the BMW M3 GT2 race car that’s competing for class victory in the year’s Le Mans, the unique graphic design should make it stand out in the pit lane. According to Jeff Koons, the design is “evocative of power, motion and bursting energy.” We think those multiple neon streaks and occasional explosions around the rear bumper certainly give the impression of dynamism, even when the car is standing still.
According to BMW, the art work went from concept to rolling masterpiece in just three months, so to help speed up the application, the designs were digitally printed and applied to the car as a vinyl wrap. The same production method was also meticulously applied to numerous spare body parts, should the BMW Art Car experience any on-track scuffles during this weekend’s racing.
The Jeff Koons BMW Art Car has been given the number “79” to pay tribute to the 1979 Andy Warhol BMW Art Car. The Warhol car was in fact assigned the number “76,” an homage to the 1976 Frank Stella car, both of which raced at Le Mans.
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The racing car canvas
The BMW M3 GT2 is a stripped-down racing version of the stellar BMW M3 sports car. It boasts a 4.0-litre V8 engine that develops 500bhp and can reach 100mph in just 3.4 seconds. Over a stock BMW M3, it benefits from lightweight components, an upgraded chassis, racing brakes and a race-specification roll cage. The BMW M3 GT2 has already experienced success at the 24-hours of Nurburgring, so the team is hoping for similar success this weekend.
The origins of the BMW art car
The art car phenomenon started in 1975, when American artist Alexander Calder painted a BMW racing car. One year later, Calder’s co-driver Sam Posey introduced Frank Stella to the art car concept, and the New York-based artist covered a BMW with his typical grid-like pattern. There then followed all manner of artistic luminaries, including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and David Hockney, all keen to put their pen on the latest BMW racer.
A selection of the BMW Art Cars are on full time exhibition at the BMW Museum in Munich.
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