M3 Art Car racer unveiled
American artist Jeff Koons has revealed his (very) bright #79 BMW M3 GT2 Art Car, set to race at next weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hour.
4l in-line six
Though Koons is perhaps best known for massive balloon animals and odd sculptures, his Art Car is unlike any other medium he has worked with.
The Koons surfaced car is BMW’s 17th Art Car and illustrious artist such Calder, Stella, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Holzer have all embellished BMW’s products with their vision of power in motion over the years.
A proud heritage of madness
BMW’s Art Car tradition was started, by accident, when Frenchman Hervé Poulain first had the idea of asking an artist to paint a car he would compete with at Le Mans back in 1975.
Koons completely immersed himself in the creative process, flying regularly to BMW’s Munich motorsport headquarters to acquaint himself with the M3 GT2 and its inherent design intricacies.
BMW’s American Le Mans Series race team even invited Koons to join them for testing in Sebring, Florida, towards the end of February. Here he was able to experience the M3 GT2 at race speed to further inspire his design.
So taken was Koons with the M3 GT2 he even navigated a few exploratory laps in the M3 road car...
Koons, looking rather civil in a grey suit, next to his outrageous M3 creation.
Looks crazy, configured to be very quick
Artistic merit is mostly subjective; even so, the Koons colour scheme and line work on BMW’s #79 BMW M3 GT2 Le Mans entry is as outlandish as shopping for floral Hawaiian shirts on LSD - an no, we don't mean the acronym for limited slip differential.
Developed using CAD software, Koons' design was digitally printed on vinyl film before being painstakingly applied to the M3 GT2. Duplicates were made for spare panels, considering the high frequency of damage which occurs during the Le Mans endurance race.
If you can manage to deduce any structure from Koons’ work, there is apparently debris graphics along the flanks to simulate "the power of the car," and two rings on the rump to suggest "supersonic acceleration." Right.
Mechanically M3 GT2 boasts a 368kW version of the roadcar’s 4l V8 engine enabling the GT2 spec car to sprint from 0-160km/h in a very rapid 3.4 seconds. It also happens to be a car on good form, with the AC Schnitzer team having won the illustrious Nurburgring 24 Hours in an M3 GT2 only a few weeks ago.
The Koons BMW Art Car’s #79 numbering pays tribute to the 1979 Andy Warhol car, if you are the superstitious type.
Whatever happens to it at Le Mans, you can be sure nobody will be mistaken as to what has overtaken them if Andy Priaulx, Dirk Müller and Dirk Werner are on pace with what is simply the gaudiest M3 ever built.