BMW has long believed that cars can be works of art. The brand has been handing its cars over to significant artists since 1976, creating a back catalog of race cars that wouldn't look out of place at the Museum of Modern Art. Now, there's a new BMW Art Car. Designed by John Baldessari, the M6 GTLM will make its debut in Miami next month.
Minimalism is the name of the game on the M6 GTLM Art Car, in keeping with the rest of Baldessari's work. The exterior features prominent spots in red, yellow, blue and green, with "FAST" written in bold on the left-hand side. On the right, there's a picture of the car, which we can only assume is the automotive equivalent of talking about yourself in the third person.
"I have done only one work in my life involving a car before, and that was an image of a car," says Baldessari. "So for the BMW Art Car project, I entered uncharted territory, not just in terms of the subject, but also moving from two to three-dimensional art. A challenge I did enjoy!"
"The ideas all came at once: for instance, the red dot on the roof, so you can see it from above, FAST on one side and a picture of the car on the other side," adds Baldessari. "I like the ambiguity, having two-dimension and three-dimension at the same time. Considering the car as an icon of contemporary life, my concept turned out playfully satirical, but it also highlights some of the trademark ideas that I use. So you can say, the BMW Art Car is definitely a typical Baldessari and the fastest artwork I ever created!"
Baldessari joins the likes of Frank Stella and Andy Warhol in designing a BMW Art Car. The last car to be treated to an artistic makeover was a the 2010 M3 GT2, which competed at Le Mans. Although fans loved the bright livery, it suffered mechanical problems just five hours into the race, and was forced to retire. BMW will be hoping the M6 GTLM doesn't suffer the same fate when it takes on the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
On paper, the car certainly has what it takes. Power comes from a variation of the twin-turbo S63 V8 doing service in the road-going M6, modified to make around 585 hp (436 kW) of power. Inside, an FIA-approved roll cage works with the carbon tub to keep drivers Bruni Spengler, Bill Auberlen, Alexander Sims and Augusto Farfus safe.
Once it's done racing, you can expect BMW to put the Baldessari M6 GTLM on display alongside its other Art Cars. If you fancy a walk down memory lane, they're all in our gallery.