On the morning after the unveiling of the 19th BMW Art Car, the BMW M6 GTLM that will race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, artist John Baldessari, BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt and BMW factory driver Bill Auberlen took time to talk with a selected group of international media.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona will be the first time a BMW Art Car will be racing in the U.S.
“BMW has been involved in sponsoring arts for over 50 years,” said Dr. Thomas Girst, head of cultural engagement of the BMW Group.
“It has always been our philosophy that artists must have complete creative freedom, whatever it is that they want to do, but for a race car, there are, of course, certain restrictions that result from the regulations.”
Los Angeles-based conceptual artist John Baldessari was chosen by a selection committee of museum directors from all over the world to design the next BMW Art Car, and he was delighted to do so.
“As a kid, I used to go to races all the time,” he said. “And in Los Angeles, where I come from, people generally do like to drive fast. In our culture, we aren’t fascinated by slowness, we are fascinated by speed. Nobody ever wants to be slow!”
The word ‘FAST’, spelled out in capital letters on the left-hand side of the car, is one of the most striking elements of the livery designed by Baldessari.
On the right-hand side, the car shows an image of the BMW M6 GTLM race car.
“I like redundancy,” Baldessari explained when asked by Sportscar365 what his idea behind this image was. For the rest, Baldessari’s design includes the monochrome dots that are a characteristic element of his work.
Auberlen is very keen on racing the Art Car at Daytona. “We have all seen the Art Cars and they are amazing, and this is another example,” he said. “Throughout my career, I have seen a few of these Art Cars come through and I have always wanted to be associated with one, but it never happened.
“I have won Daytona twice and Sebring three times, but now, being able to drive this Art Car is another highlight in my career. I just don’t want to be the first guy to put a scratch on it!
“We will race this car in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and if we manage to give it a win before it goes into the museum or before it goes on tour, that would just be amazing.”
Marquardt, meanwhile, talked about the significance of the car racing at Daytona.
“For me, it is my first Art Car [since becoming BMW Motorsport director] and it is a very proud moment in my career,” he said. “Racing is all about passion, the passion for cars, and art is about passion, too.
“Bringing that together on a race track is something very special. The Rolex 24 is the most important race and to start the season with that highlight, and then with the Art Car, is outstanding.
“Of course, the drivers will race the car as hard as any other car, there will be some color exchange and maybe some additions to the dots on the cars, but that is part of the job.”
After Daytona, the car will be retired and will go into the BMW collection, from which it will be shown on various occasions throughout the world.
Whether Baldessari will be attending the race at Daytona has not been decided yet.