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Art of racing

1 week ago

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Gavin Green | Journalist


10 June 2024

It may not be favourite to win nor anything close, but the most spectacular car racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend will be the BMW M Hybrid V8 driven by Sheldon van der Linde, Robin Frijns and René Rast. Appropriately, and for reasons we shall see, it is car number 20.

The M Hybrid V8 is BMW’s new Hypercar and it is attempting to score BMW’s second outright win in the French classic, after the victory of the McLaren F1-powered V12 LMR in 1999, a race rather better remembered for airborne Mercedes. It’s also one of the shapelier Le Mans racers. But the standout feature is its abstract artwork paint job, a kaleidoscopic 3D eyeful of neon colour, dots, squiggles and stripes. Only the occasional (small) sponsor logo injects a touch of motor racing normalcy.

It’s BMW’s 20th art car – thus that race number – and the seventh to compete at Le Mans. The latest celebrity artist to use a car as a canvas is Ethiopian-born American Julie Mehretu, who originally rejected BMW’s offer. She says her motor racing mad nephew Theo persuaded her to reconsider. She is the latest in a long line of artistic royalty to accept the commission.

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