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BMW, Jeff Koons Unveil 17th Art Car For Le Mans

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BMW unveiled the 17th and latest addition to their legendary Art Cars with a sense of history as artist Jeff Koons took the covers off the BMW M3 GT2 in Paris' Pompidou Centre.

The centre, one of the most prestigious for modern and contemporary art also saw the presentation of a previous evolution of the Art Cars, a 1977 design by artist Roy Liechtenstein. The new car will also follow in all bar one of its predecessors' tyre tracks by racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 12-13) in the hands of Andy Priaulx, Dirk Muller and Dirk Werner. The car will run as no.79, which BMW claim is an homage to Andy Warhol's 1979 Art Car

The unveiling represents the culmination of a partnership between Koons and BMW that began back in2003, when the artist approached the car maker with the idea to produce an Art Car. However, work only began in earnest in February following the announcement of the Art Car project, with Koons travelling to and from Germany and BMW's engineering facility, as well as collecting images of racing cars in action.

“These race cars are like life, they are powerful and there is a lot of energy,” said Koons. “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”.   

The artist even got to experience BMW at Sebring, joining American squad Rahal Letterman Racing for a testing session at the Floridian track, watching from a historic BMW M1 chase car, as well as driving an M3 coupe around the track himself.

Sufficiently inspired the design was produced in conjunction with Schmid Design, transferring 3D CAD designs in 2D digital print-outs on car wrapping vinyl covered with a double wrapping of clear-coat to enhance the colour. Still the car remains as light as possible ready for its racing debut in the 18-entry LMGT2 class.

“Koons design incorporates many bright contrasting colours to communicate the aesthetics of power. The concept design was transformed into hard edged lines of colour,” describes the BMW press release. “Graphics of debris were added to the rear sides and back of the car to simulate the power of the car. Furthermore, two graphic rings on the rear of the car represent supersonic acceleration.”

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