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BMW M Hybrid V8: The 20 th Art Car by Julie Mehretu.

This race car continues the long tradition of the BMW Art Cars. Just a few weeks after its World Premiere in the French capital, the newest edition in the storied BMW Art Car collection will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

14 June 2024

“The whole BMW Art Car project is about invention, about imagination, about pushing limits of what can be possible. I don’t think of this car as something you would exhibit. I am thinking of it as something that will race in Le Mans. It’s a performative painting. My BMW Art Car was created in close collaboration with motorsport and engineering teams and is only completed once the race is over.”“The whole BMW Art Car project is about invention, about imagination, about pushing limits of what can be possible. I don’t think of this car as something you would exhibit. I am thinking of it as something that will race in Le Mans. It’s a performative painting. My BMW Art Car was created in close collaboration with motorsport and engineering teams and is only completed once the race is over.”

“The whole BMW Art Car project is about invention, about imagination, about pushing limits of what can be possible. I don’t think of this car as something you would exhibit. I am thinking of it as something that will race in Le Mans. It’s a performative painting. My BMW Art Car was created in close collaboration with motorsport and engineering teams and is only completed once the race is over.”

The 20th BMW Art Car.

  • World premiere on 21 May 2024 by Julie Mehretu at the Centre Pompidou in Paris
  • BMW M Hybrid V8 race car as a performative work of art
  • V8 turbo engine with supplementary electric drive
  • Max. output (regulated): approx. 640 hp
  • Top speed: up to 345 km/h
  • Competes in the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race

THE BMW M HYBRID V8.

The new race car from BMW M GmbH features a hybrid electric drivetrain system with approximately 640 hp, powered by a 4.0-litre V8 engine supported by an electric motor (top speed: up to 345 km/h or 215 mph, depending on the race track layout). This makes the 4,991 millimetre long, 1,994 millimetre wide, around 1,200 millimetre high and weighing just 1,030 kilograms prototype racing car a flagship for typical M performance and fascination with electrified drive.

During this year’s official FIA World Endurance Championship races, the BMW M Hybrid V8 will take on high-calibre competition in the Hypercars category. The car will also compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the first BMW M Motorsport prototype to do so since the BMW V12 LMR, which won the classic race in 1999.

The prospect of competing in a BMW Art Car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is an additional incentive for the entire M Motorsport team to prepare the BMW M Hybrid V8 as perfectly as possible for this big stage.
Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH

A Performative Painting.

Space, movement and energy have always been central motifs in Julie Mehretu's work. For the design of the 20th BMW Art Car, she transformed a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional representation for the first time, with which she succeeded in bringing dynamism into form. Julie Mehretu used the colour and form vocabulary of her monumental painting “Everywhen” (2021 - 2023) as a starting point for her design. The work is currently on view at the artist’s major retrospective at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice and will subsequently become part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, to which it has been gifted.

Its abstract visual form results from digitally altered photographs, which are superimposed in several layers of dot grids, neon-coloured veils and the black markings characteristic of Mehretu's work. “In the studio where I had the model of the BMW M Hybrid V8 I was just sitting in front of the painting and I thought: What would happen if this car seemed to go through that painting and becomes affected by it,” Julie Mehretu says. “The idea was to make a remix, a mash-up of the painting. I kept seeing that painting kind of dripping into the car. Even the kidneys of the car inhaled the painting.”

Even the kidneys of the car inhaled the painting.
Julie Mehretu, artist

FROM THE MUSEUM TO THE RACE TRACK …

The close connection between art and motorsport is also an integral part of the history of the BMW Art Car Collection. The very first BMW Art Car, designed by Alexander Calder in 1975, made its dynamic debut at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans. As the 20th BMW Art Car, Julie Mehretu's vehicle will compete at Le Mans with starting number 20 and will be driven by BMW M works drivers Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Robin Frijns (NED) and René Rast (GER) in the 24 Hours of Le Mans from June 15 to 16, 2024. The artist will also design the racing suits in which they will compete at Le Mans.

… AND BACK AGAIN.

Following its race at Le Mans, the 20th BMW Art Car will also become an exhibit that will be presented to the public in museums and on art platforms worldwide.

Elaborate realisation.

Julie Mehretu working on the BMW Art Car Nr. 20Julie Mehretu working on the BMW Art Car Nr. 20

The fusion of image and vehicle was realised with the help of 3D mapping, with which the motif was transferred to the contours of the vehicle. The elaborate foiling allows for the fully designed BMW M Hybrid V8 to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Julie Mehretu and the BMW M works driversJulie Mehretu and the BMW M works drivers

BMW Motorsport drivers Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Robin Frijns (NED) and René Rast (GER) will enter the 20th BMW Art Car with starting number 20 at the Circuit de la Sarthe on 15 June. Like them, Julie Mehretu is also eagerly awaiting the race: “I went to see the BMW M Hybrid V8 race in Daytona, and this experience was overwhelming. Designers, engineers, aerodynamicists and so many other creative minds are working on taking this vehicle to its extreme. When it goes out on the racetrack now, so many dreams will be fulfilled.”

Historic come together at the Lake Como.

Leading up to race day, Julie Mehretu's BMW Art Car will make an appearance at the Concorso d'Eleganza at Villa d'Este in Lake Como on its way to Le Mans. As part of the exhibition for historic vehicles organised by the BMW Group and the Grand Hotel Villa d'Este, Julie Mehretu herself will present the 20th edition of the BMW Art Car Collection. It will be featured on the grounds of the Villa Erba together with the BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder (1975), Frank Stella (1976), Roy Lichtenstein (1977), Andy Warhol (1979), Jenny Holzer (1999) and Jeff Koons (2010), which also made their race debut at Le Mans. Julie Mehretu will discuss the creation of the 20th BMW Art Car in an artist talk with Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, on Sunday, 26 May 2024.

BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car by Julie MehretuBMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car by Julie Mehretu

THE ARTIST.

Julie Mehretu is a world-renowned American painter. She was born in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, in 1970. Together with her family she moved to the U.S. at the age of seven. She lives and works in New York City and Berlin.

Mehretu’s practice in painting, drawing and printmaking engage the viewer in a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space by exploring palimpsests of history, from geological time to a modern-day phenomenology of the social.

Mehretu received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Kalamazoo College in Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, and completed her Master's degree of Fine Art with honors from The Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. Mehretu has received numerous awards, including the The MacArthur Award (2005), The Berlin Prize: Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship at The American Academy in Berlin (2007) and the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts Award (2015). A midcareer survey of Mehretu's work recently toured at LACMA (Los Angeles), High Museum (Atlanta) The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York) and The Walker Museum of Art (Minneapolis) from 2019 to 2023. Her largest European solo exhibition to date entitled “Ensemble” opened March 17, 2024 at Palazzo Grassi in Venice.

Mehretu is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and The National Academy of Design. Her global representative is Marian Goodman Gallery. She also exhibits with White Cube, London, and Carlier Gebauer, Berlin.

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