We’ve seen previews of BMW’s latest Art Car, but we hadn’t seen the finished product — a M3 GT2 racer decorated by artist Jeff Koons — until its official unveiling in Paris this morning.
With its 17th Art Car, BMW is returning to its roots, and actually racing the Koons-styled GT2 in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first Art Car — a 1975 3.0 CSL — was the brainchild of driver Hervè Poulain, who commissioned artist Alexander Calder to dress up the exterior. Poulain ultimately raced the car at Le Mans that year, while two other Art Cars — a 1976 3.0 CSL decorated by Frank Stella, and a 1979 M1 Procar painted by Andy Warhol — also competed in the endurance race.
Unlike those early Art Cars, Koons’ product isn’t actually painted. Thanks to both a tight timeframe and the weight-conscious mindset of BMW’s racing directors, Koons applied his radical pattern to the M3 GT2 with a vinyl wrap. Better yet, the vinyl wrap process allows Koons’ design to be applied to a number of spare parts — important, should the M3 suffer a collision during the Le Mans event.
Before crafting his design, Koons was given the chance to witness the M3 GT2 in action for inspiration. According to the artist, he was reportedly inspired by the “raw, unfiltered performance” of the GT2, and decided to give the M3 a design that gives the impression of motion even when at a standstill.
“These race cars are like life; they are powerful and there is a lot of energy,” Koons said. “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’ M3 GT2 was unveiled earlier today at Paris’ Centre Pompidou, the same venue Roy Lichtenstein used to unveil his 320i Art Car back in 1977. The car will be on public display today, before the car heads to Circuit de la Sarthe for the 24 Hours on June 12 and 13.