2010 BMW Art Car Exhibited at the Pompidou Centre

As the Bavarian company did with the 1977 Roy Lichtenstein 320 Le Mans challenger in 1977, this year BMW chose the Pompidou Centre to ‘exhibit’ its latest Art Car: an M3 GT2 with a dazzlingly designed colour scheme by American artist Jeff Koons.

The 500bhp, V8-engined coupé will be driven by Andy Priaulx (GB), Dirk Müller (DE) and Dirk Werner (DE) at the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours, to be held over the weekend of 12/13 June. It will be joined by another, more traditionally finished works BMW piloted by Jörg Müller (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR) and Uwe Alzen (DE).

The latest Art Car, the 17th in the series (according to BMW – although sources differ...), will be one of a select few to be driven at the famous endurance event. Artists such as Frank Stella (‘graph paper’ CSL ‘Batmobile’), Roy Lichtenstein (Group 5, 2-litre 320) and Andy Warhol (hand-painted and ‘scratched’ M1) have become iconic images at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

“These race cars are like life, they are powerful and there is a lot of energy,” said Koons who, as part of the creative process, had collected images of race cars, related graphics, vibrant colours, speed and explosions.

“You can participate with it, add to it and let yourself ‘transcend with its energy’. There is a lot of power under that hood and I want to let my ideas transcend with the car – it’s really to connect with that power.”

Koons used his regular artistic techniques of 3D CAD modelling to create the design and envisage the final effect, working closely with BMW throughout the creative process.

It will be interesting to see how the pristine, multi-million-dollar ‘moving canvas’ survives 24 hours of racing in one of the toughest events in the world.

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: BMW

ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter
Free Subscription!