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June 29, 2023

BMW To Race 20th Art Car At Le Mans 2024

Copied, but never equaled, BMW has announced the latest BMW Art Car. New York-based artist Julie Mehretu will create the 20th BMW Art Car.

Mehretu was unanimously chosen by an international jury of museum directors and curators, and will be given total creative freedom to design the next instalment in BMW’s legendary collection of “rolling sculptures.” BMW will enter Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car in the 24-Hour race of Le Mans in June 2024. This continues an almost 50-year tradition that has delighted not only motorsport enthusiasts but anyone into design or the arts, technology, and mobility. Since 1975, artists such as Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, Cao Fei, and John Baldessari have created racing cars for BMW.

Julie Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, in 1970. Together with her family she moved to the USA at the age of seven. She received her B.A. from Kalamazoo College, Michigan, graduated from The Rhode Island School of Design with a Masters of Fine Arts degree in 1997, and also spent a year studying at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar Senegal. In exploring palimpsests of history, from geological time to a modern-day phenomenology of the social, her paintings, prints and drawings engage the viewer in a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space.

Mehretu has been running a studio in New York since 1999. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the MacArthur Award and the US Department of State Medal of Arts Award. A representative survey of her work has been exhibited at LACMA (Los Angeles), the High Museum (Atlanta), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), and the Walker Museum of Art (Minneapolis) from 2019 to 2023. In 2021, Julie Mehretu became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Design.

The canvas for the 20th BMW Art Car is the BMW M Hybrid V8. BMW M’s new competition car in endurance racing features a hybrid drive system with around 640 horsepower, whose 4.0-liter V8 engine is supported by an electric motor (maximum speed of 345 km/h, depending on track layout). This makes the prototype race car, which weighs just 1,030 kilograms, the poster child for BMW M performance and the fascination with electrified drives.

The BMW M Hybrid V8 is currently competing successfully in the GTP (Grand Touring Prototype) class of the North American IMSA endurance racing series. BMW M Motorsport will also return to the FIA World Endurance Championship in the 2024 season. In the races for the official FIA World Endurance Championship, the BMW M Hybrid V8 will face top-class competition in the Hypercars category. This means that the BMW M Hybrid V8 will also be competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the first BMW M Motorsport prototype since the BMW V12 LMR won the classic in 1999.

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