BMW used its official partnership of the Art Basel art fair in Miami to unveil its 19th BMW Art Car. The car, a BMW M6 GTLM with a special livery designed by Los Angeles-based artist John Baldessari, will be racing in next month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Bruno Spengler, Augusto Farfus, Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims will drive the car in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener.
The unveil came on the eve of the grand opening of the art fair, during a reception at the Botanical Garden in Miami Beach.
The BMW M6 GTLM follows in a long line of BMW Art Cars, initiated by French auctioneer and hobby race car driver, Hervé Poulain, who had commissioned American painter, Alexander Calder, to provide the livery for the BMW 3.0 CSL he raced during the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1975.
Since, renowned artists like Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and, most recently, Jeff Koons designed various BMW Art Cars.
Some of the cars were also used in competition at Le Mans. The new BMW Art Car designed by Baldessari will be the first example of the Art Car collection that will be raced in the U.S.
Eighty-five-year old Baldessari had been appointed by a selection committee that included important museum directors from all over the world, among them the directors of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, to design the next BMW Art Car.
The car displays the word ‘FAST’ on the left-hand side of the car and an image of the car on the right-hand side.
Characteristically for Baldessari’s work, a large red dot has been painted on the roof and red and green dots have been painted on the front apron of the car.
The rear wing has been colored in blue and yellow. “This certainly is the fastest piece of art I have ever created,” Baldessari said.
Among the attendees at the unveiling of the car were Auberlen, Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW North America, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt and IMSA CEO Ed Bennett.
“It will be a great honor for us to present the 19th BMW Art Car on the race track, and especially to bring it to an event steeped in tradition such as the 24 Hours of Daytona,” Marquardt said.
“The design of this BMW M6 GTLM is absolutely unique. We will give our very best to ensure that this rolling work of art will not only provide a visual highlight but also be successful on the track.”