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M3 artcar will race at Le Mans

2010-04-09 15:22

Jeff Koons, curiously the guys without shades, during a BMW racing M3 GT2 testing session in Florida.

BMW’s Le Mans effort will be especially striking this year thanks to a (very) lurid M3 GT2.

American artist Jeff Koons has used the M3 racer as a canvas of interpretation and will unveil the 17th artcar in Paris on 1 June – just as Roy Lichtenstein did with his artcar back in 1977.

BMW’s artcars are legendary – both in the art and motoring worlds. The Koons M3 promises to be no different.

The Koons M3 GT2 racecar will have a design like this - should give competitors and spectators plenty of motion sickness.

A great racing heritage

Koons, who is renowned for his sculpture work, joins an illustrious group of artists - Calder, Stella, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Holzer – who have all embellished the BMW’s products with their vision of power in motion over the years.

The preliminary design for the Koons M3 GT2 was released earlier this week in New York. Featuring signature Koons saturated hues on a black background - set against the M3 GT2’s silver interior – the design is meant to encapsulate the dynamic values of endurance racing.

"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 Koons M3 GT2 will ride with ‘79’ door numbers as a tribute to the 1979 Andy Warhol artcar racer.

BMW’s artcar traditional was started, by accident, when Frenchman Hervé Poulain first had the idea of asking an artist to paint the car he himself would compete with back in 1975.

Koons giving the M3 roadcar some stick at Sebring, gauging the artistic value of power oversteer...

Getting a feel for M3

As one would expect from an artist of his calibre, Koons aimed to completely immerse himself in the M3 experience before setting about his design. He has been flying into Munich for months now, matching his artistic skills with BMW’s impeccable technical people.

Koons even joined BMW’s American Le Mans Series race team 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.

Boasting a 368kW version of the roadcar’s 4l V8 engine, the GT2 spec car is able to sprint from 0-160km/h in a very rapid 3.4 seconds...

So impressed was Koons with the racecar experience on track he even did a few dynamic driving sessions himself during the day’s testing – behind the wheel of a stock M3.

The Koons artcar BMW M3 GT2 will be piloted by former British Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx and two Germans -  Dirk Müller and Dirk Werner.

There will be a second BMW M3 GT2 running at Le Mans too  - not in Koons artcar livery though – piloted by the team of Jörg Müller, Augusto Farfus  Uwe Alzen.


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