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BMW Unveils Art Car for Rolex 24

19th BMW Art Car unveiled for Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: BMW

Photo: BMW

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.”

René de Boer (@renedeboer) is a German-based motorsports journalist, contributing to a variety of publications worldwide, including, Autosport Japan and Motorsport aktuell.



  1. Tarek R

    December 1, 2016 at 4:17 am

    Art Car? This one? It’s really really ugly.

  2. FlyingLobster27

    December 1, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Aston’s Art Car was visually atrocious, but at least something was happening. This is just empty, uninspiring.

    • Overtake24

      December 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      I actually liked the Aston art car

  3. John

    December 1, 2016 at 6:22 am

    I’ll just be kind and say that this isn’t one of the more inspired (nor inspiring) Art Cars in BMW’s collection.

    Was Marquardt trying to conceal a giggle as he uttered the quote above?

  4. Louis

    December 1, 2016 at 6:48 am

    To quote an article from a different website “the new BMW art car is like wearing a t-shirt with your face on it”

  5. StueyB83

    December 1, 2016 at 6:49 am

    I like it.

    It really speaks to me and makes me feel really familiar to what Baldessari may have been thinking when he did this work – which I interpret as “#$#%, I forgot I have to do the BMW art car and its due in 5 minutes”.

    It even more impressive if he used MS paint

    • FlyingLobster27

      December 1, 2016 at 7:03 am

      Nice interpretation!
      In trying to make sense of this void of a livery, I thought that maybe Baldessari was going down a childish route, but there’s just not enough there, and the little that is there is too simple, to even make that case.

      It’s not ugly, it doesn’t stand out, it’s not different… It’s indifferent. Meh. The normal liveried car will likely be more interesting.

  6. Nick

    December 1, 2016 at 7:31 am

    But the end plates of the wing have to be red?

  7. James

    December 1, 2016 at 8:02 am

    So Boring, Fast and a picture of the car…..real creative and inspiring. Aren’t the art cars suppose to be vivid and radiant. This one looks like a last minute lazy creation.

  8. WBrowning

    December 1, 2016 at 9:29 am

    OK, the car in the picture doesn’t have a picture of the car on it and so on. It could have been done by a 3 year old, sorry for BMW. Totally boring and uninspired, I could have made something that looks better throwing buckets of paint at it.

  9. pierre

    December 1, 2016 at 10:10 am

    don’t understand how this is art unless they allowed a pre-school to come up with the design. would love an explanation at the decisions made for this.

  10. Ian

    December 1, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    My 10 year old could have done better, and why does it have a Mankini on tne bonnet…..
    Did tney only a single set of words and pictures for another project and thought, sod it lets just stick on the car for the hell of it and say its art.

    Absolutely awful and the presentation/reveal was embarrasing

  11. Kyle

    December 1, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    This is so incredibly disappointing. When I heard there was going to be an art car, I was hoping it would be something along the lines of the Flying Lizard art cars at Le Mans or the Jeff Koons BMW. This is just… ridiculous. It’s just a white car with a few stickers on it. I honestly don’t see the art in this. Too bad.

  12. Bob

    December 1, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I’m look for the ART…..
    The colors
    The creativity
    and so on.
    This one requires a do over!

  13. PowderedToast

    December 1, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    lol wut.

  14. NaBUru38

    December 1, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Ive seen beautiful, shocking, ugly, weird… but boring?

  15. JeffB

    December 2, 2016 at 8:33 am

    “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.”

    This is not accurate. Jenny Holzer’s BMW V12 LMR raced at the Petit Le Mans in 2000. This is the one that had “PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT” written on it.

  16. vanillachinchilla

    December 2, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    yeah sorry what? thats just not an art car. by definition. there’s literally less art on it than virtually all the other typical german corporate liveries, including their own…???

  17. P

    December 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Not the best Art Car that BMW have given us.

    2010 Black with multi colour: Great art car.
    2016 100th anniversary: Magnificent, one for the book.
    2017 19th FAST: It’s a bit boring.

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