BMW has announced that it will run its 17th Art Car in the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
The #79 BMW M3 GT2 - which will be driven by Andy Priaulx, Dirk Muller and Dirk Werner – had been designed as a rolling sculpture by American artist Jeff Koons, with the preliminary design concept being presented at a press conference in New York.
The 17th Art Car sees BMW continue a long tradition, which dates back to 1975 and celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.
Auctioneer and racing driver Herve Poulain came up with the idea of allowing famous artists to design BMW racing cars, with Alexander Calder getting the ball rolling with the BMW 3.0 CSL.
The greatest sporting success by an Art Car came with the BMW M1 designed by Andy Warhol, which crossed the finish line at Le Mans in sixth.
“The race in Le Mans is one of the most important events in international motorsport,” BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen said. “This makes it the perfect stage to revive the tradition of the BMW Art Car. Jeff Koons' work of art will leave a lasting impression with all those who see it, even long after the BMW M3 GT2's race appearance. BMW Art Cars have often also been able to impress with their sporting achievements. I am optimistic that this will be the case again this year.”
The BMW M3 GT2 Art Car will make its world debut at Paris's Centre Georges Pompidou on 1 June 2010 – just two weeks before the race on 12/13 June. Koons himself will unveil and sign his car, just as Roy Lichtenstein did with the BMW 320i Group 5 Racing Version in 1977.
“For us drivers it's a huge honour to drive the latest Art Car at Le Mans,” Priaulx said. “I find our BMW racing cars aesthetically pleasing anyway, but the result of Jeff Koons' work on the BMW M3 GT2 Art Car is just incredible.
“We will do our best to make it a successful return of the Art Cars to Le Mans from a sporting angle as well.”