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24 Hours of Le Mans: BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car set for Action

On 21st May, the BMW M Hybrid V8, designed by artist Julie Mehretu and set to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 15th/16th June, will be presented at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France.

The artist is already providing glimpses into her work. Additionally, it is now confirmed that the Art Car will carry the starting number 20 and will be driven by Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Robin Frijns (NED), and René Rast (GER).

The #20 BMW M Hybrid V8 will be the first Art Car since the 2017 season, where the BMW M6 GTLM designed by John Baldessari raced at the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA), followed by the virtual BMW M6 GT3 Art Car by Cao Fei at the FIA GT World Cup in Macau (CHN). In the past, the most famous BMW Art Cars have participated in Le Mans: in 1975, Alexander Calder’s BMW 3.0 CSL, in 1976, Frank Stella’s BMW 3.0 CSL, in 1977, Roy Lichtenstein’s BMW 320i Turbo, in 1979, Andy Warhol’s BMW M1, in 1999, Jenny Holzer’s BMW V12 LMR, and in 2010, Jeff Koons’ BMW M3 GT2. This illustrious collection is now enriched by Julie Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8.

Fusion of image motif and racing car creates art on wheels.

For the design of the 20th BMW Art Car, Mehretu uses the colour and form vocabulary of an existing large-format painting from a more recent series of works: obscured photographs, dotted grids, neon-coloured spray paint and Mehretu’s iconic gestural markings give her design an abstract visual form.

She transfers the resulting image motif as a high-resolution photograph onto the vehicle’s contours using a 3D mapping technique. This creates the unique artistic foiling with which the BMW M Hybrid V8 will compete in the Le Mans race.

For the first time, Mehretu is working with BMW on a three-dimensional format. The interplay of the surfaces and geometry of the vehicle creates a remix of elements of her painting and opens up new perspectives for the artist in her creative process. In accordance with the regulations of the FIA, the 3D version of the artwork can only be applied to the BMW M Hybrid V8 with a film wrap.

For this, Mehretu is working closely with the German Race Spirit team led by Manuel Eberl and Gertraud Brenninger to design the 20th BMW Art Car. Race Spirit was already involved in realising the design created by Jeff Koons for the 17th BMW Art Car.

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