Automotive

BMW Art Car adds a bit of culture to Rolex 24 grid

BMW Art Car adds a bit of cult...
The new BMW M6 GTLM Art Car joins a long line of vehicles worked on by famous artists
The new BMW M6 GTLM Art Car joins a long line of vehicles worked on by famous artists
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Minimalism is the name of the game on the M6 GTLM Art Car
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Minimalism is the name of the game on the M6 GTLM Art Car
The M6 GTLM Art Car was designed by John Baldessari
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The M6 GTLM Art Car was designed by John Baldessari
Does painting "FAST" on the side of a car makes it quicker? BMW is hoping so with the M6 GTLM
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Does painting "FAST" on the side of a car makes it quicker? BMW is hoping so with the M6 GTLM
The new BMW M6 GTLM Art Car joins a long line of vehicles worked on by famous artists
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The new BMW M6 GTLM Art Car joins a long line of vehicles worked on by famous artists
The M6 GTLM is powered  by a 585 hp V8
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The M6 GTLM is powered  by a 585 hp V8
The side of the BMW M6 GTLM Art Car is finished with a... picture of itself
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The side of the BMW M6 GTLM Art Car is finished with a... picture of itself
Details in four colors adorn the M6 GTLM Art Car
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Details in four colors adorn the M6 GTLM Art Car
The M6 GTLM weighs just under 1,300 kg
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The M6 GTLM weighs just under 1,300 kg
Baldessari has signed in an unconventional place
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Baldessari has signed in an unconventional place
The latest BMW Art Car under lights in Miami
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The latest BMW Art Car under lights in Miami
Sandro Chia, BMW Touring Racer from 1992
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Sandro Chia, BMW Touring Racer from 1992
This BMW 525i was designed by Esther Mahlangu in 1991
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This BMW 525i was designed by Esther Mahlangu in 1991
The Andy Warhol BMW M1 is arguably the most famous Art Car
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The Andy Warhol BMW M1 is arguably the most famous Art Car
This 1976 Frank Stella 3.0 CSL is one of the most beautiful cars in the world
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This 1976 Frank Stella 3.0 CSL is one of the most beautiful cars in the world
This BMW 320i was designed by Ray Lichtenstein in 1977
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This BMW 320i was designed by Ray Lichtenstein in 1977
Michael Jagamara Nelson created this M3 in 1989
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Michael Jagamara Nelson created this M3 in 1989
Ernst Fuchs designed this 635CSi in 1982
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Ernst Fuchs designed this 635CSi in 1982
The most recent Art Car is this M3 GT2, designed by Jeff Koons in 2010
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The most recent Art Car is this M3 GT2, designed by Jeff Koons in 2010
This Mazato Kayama 535i debuted in 1990
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This Mazato Kayama 535i debuted in 1990
This Ken Done BMW M3 Art Car debuted in 1989
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This Ken Done BMW M3 Art Car debuted in 1989
The V12 LMR, designed by Jenny Holzer, is the fastest Art Car
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The V12 LMR, designed by Jenny Holzer, is the fastest Art Car
Robert Rauschenburg designed this 635CSi in 1986
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Robert Rauschenburg designed this 635CSi in 1986
The BMW Z1 is something of a unicorn to start with, so turning it into an Art Car ups the rarity value 
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The BMW Z1 is something of a unicorn to start with, so turning it into an Art Car ups the rarity value 
The David Hockney 850CSi launched in 1995
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The David Hockney 850CSi launched in 1995

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!"

The M6 GTLM weighs just under 1,300 kg
The M6 GTLM weighs just under 1,300 kg

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.

Source: BMW

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