Three BMW race cars that wore livery, painted on them by the most renowned artists of our times
Cars become masterpieces when an artist gives the finishing touch. From a sculptor to a visual artist and balloon modeller, BMW had commissioned some of the greatest minds in art to design the paint scheme for its cars. We follow some of the gems.
The first BMW art car was a 3.0 CSL, commissioned by French race car driver Herve Poulain. With just the use of primary colours, Calder’s art captured the sense of motion and dynamism that a race car exudes. With 480PS on tap, the car went on to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and was raced by Poulain himself.
Associating with the pioneer of pop-art, Andy Warhol, in 1977, BMW placed its car amidst the cream of the art circles. Unlike his predecessors, Warhol refrained from painting on a miniature scale model and went to work directly on the full-size M1. Warhol’s BMW M1 took a total of 23 minutes to paint, with blurred lines and colours used to portray speed. Raced in the 1979 Le Mans, the car was placed sixth overall and came second in its class.
The latest iteration of the project was taken up in 2010. Departing from the tradition of sticking to two or three shades, Jeff Koons’ version of the E92 BMW M3 is an explosion of colours that looks like it’s streaking past you, even when it isn’t in motion. Unfortunately, it had to retire after 53 laps at the historic Le Mans circuit.