Jeff Koons debuts his BMW art car

You don’t have to be a gear head to appreciate Jeff Koons’ design for BMW’s 17th artist collaboration, a tradition dating back to the seventies that includes artists Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg and more recently, Olafur Eliasson. Koons revealed the finished car, an M3 GT2 with a warp-speed striping effect, in France two days ago. Koons will donate his artist fee to a children’s charity, and will double that amount if the car wins.

With triple world champion Andy Priaulx (and two co-drivers) behind the wheel, there’s a good chance it will. For those unfamiliar with the race, Le Mans is the world’s oldest 24 hour endurance race, held annually since 1923. It’s a special race for a lot of reasons, and a true test of stamina not only for the drivers but for the cars, which cannot be worked on by mechanics – including tire changes – during refueling. This rule has prompted teams to develop innovative ways of economizing lengthy pit stops. It’s also the race that started the tradition of champagne spraying vs. champagne drinking when the high profile racing duo Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt sprayed the crowd, which included Henry Ford II and Carroll Shelby, with a magnum after their 1967 win.

Photos courtesy