BMW unveils art car livery for Le Mans 24 Hours

BMW unveils art car livery for Le Mans 24 Hours

BMW Motorsport has revealed the art car livery for the #20 Team WRT M Hybrid V8 that will contest the Le Mans 24 Hours next month.

BMW has unveiled its M Hybrid V8 Art Car as it marks a return to battle for overall victory in the French endurance classic next month in a presentation at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

The design is the 20th to carry the Art Car label and has been created by Ethiopian-born, American artist Julie Mehretu. The Hypercar will be entered by BMW M Team WRT for the 92nd running for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Sheldon van der Linde, Robin Frijns and Rene Rast set to share driving duties.

Mehretu’s previous work “Everywhen,” currently on display in Venice, served as the starting point for the design, which saw a two-dimensional image transformed into a three-dimensional representation.

The design features digitally altered photographs, which are superimposed in several layers of dot grids, neon-coloured veils and black markings, the latter of which are characteristic of Mehretu’s work.

“In the studio where I had the model of the BMW M Hybrid V8 I was just sitting in front of the painting and I thought: What would happen if this car seemed to go through that painting and becomes affected by it,” Mehretu said.

“The idea was to make a remix, a mash-up of the painting. I kept seeing that painting kind of dripping into the car. Even the kidneys of the car inhaled the painting.

“The whole BMW Art Car project is about invention, about imagination, about pushing limits of what can be possible. I don’t think of this car as something you would exhibit. I am thinking of it as something that will race in Le Mans. It’s a performative painting.

“My BMW Art Car was created in close collaboration with motorsport and engineering teams. The BMW Art Car is only completed once the race is over.”

The event, attended by several hundred invited guests, was also attended by the artist, as well as Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Human Resources and Real Estate.

“The BMW Art Cars are an essential part of our global cultural commitment,” said Zipse. “For almost 50 years, we have been collaborating with artists who are just as fascinated by mobility and design as they are by technology and motorsports.

“Julie Mehretu’s vision for a racing car is an extraordinarily strong contribution to our BMW Art Cars series.”

This is BMW’s first Art Car since the 2017 season, when a BMW M6 GTLM designed by John Baldessari raced at the 24 Hours of Daytona (below), and a ‘virtual’ BMW M6 GT3 Art Car by Cao Fei competed at the FIA GT World Cup in Macau.

Prior to Le Mans, the M Hybrid V8 will make an appearance at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este in Italy on May 26, where the car will be presented alongside six previous Art Cars. This includes both the inaugural, Alexander Calder-designed BMW 3.0 CSL, as well as the BMW M3 GT2 created by Jeff Koons in 2010, which is the last Art Car to date to race at Le Mans.

“The deployment of the 20th BMW Art Car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is as much an honour for us as it is a motivation,” said BMW M Motorsport director Andreas Roos. “We at BMW M Motorsport are all aware of the enormous significance that BMW Art Cars have in the brand’s racing history.

“Our goal for the weekend is for the #20 BMW M Hybrid V8 to attract attention, not only with its great design, but also with its strong performance on the racetrack.

“Robin Frijns, Rene Rast, and Sheldon van der Linde are outstanding drivers who have already proved this season that they can fight for top results in the Hypercar class. We have prepared as best as possible for the season highlight and are determined to present ourselves and our cars in top form.”

BMW M GmbH CEO Franciscus van Meel added: “The prospect of competing in a BMW Art Car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is an additional incentive for the entire M Motorsport team to prepare the BMW M Hybrid V8 as perfectly as possible for this big stage.

“In the 100th year of the race’s existence and 25 years after BMW’s last victory at Le Mans, winning there with a BMW Art Car would be the greatest possible success for all of us.”

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