BMWBLOG was invited to Paris where the #20 BMW Art Car celebrated its world premiere last night. The special event took place at Centre Pompidou where the colorful M Hybrid V8 was joined by the artist. Naturally, Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu shared the spotlight with her rolling work of art. She took inspiration from Everywhen painting when designing the abstract pattern. Mehretu’s design transforms the BMW M Hybrid V8 race car into a dynamic work of art.

We couldn’t miss the opportunity to get up close with the endurance race car and its special wrap we’ll be seeing more of soon. After its first outing in France’s capital, the M Hybrid V8 is heading to the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy. Come June 15, it’ll be at the start of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Carrying the “20” racing number, the V12 LMR’s spiritual successor will attempt to triumph on Circuit de la Sarthe. Doing so would be a great way to celebrate a quarter of a century since the V12 LMR crossed the finish line victoriously.

A Striking Blend Of Art, Colors And Speed

Mehretu, an Ethiopian-born American artist known for her large-scale abstract paintings, has applied her distinctive style to the car using a combination of obscured photographs, dotted grids, neon-colored spray paint, and her signature gestural markings. These elements were mapped onto the vehicle using 3D techniques – both digitally and real life models – creating a visually striking and fluid design that blends art and automotive engineering seamlessly.

This project represents a significant milestone for Mehretu as it is her first foray into three-dimensional art on an industrial object. Her work on the BMW M Hybrid V8 not only showcases her ability to adapt her artistic vision to new formats but also continues the tradition of the BMW Art Car as a “rolling sculpture” that merges performance and aesthetics.

The M Hybrid V8 was already an eye-catching endurance racer but now it should turn heads even more. Julie Mehretu was voted to design the new BMW Art Car in 2018, several years before working on Everywhen. The striking finish was obtained after modifying digital photos and superimposing them in multiple layers of dot grids. She says the end result represents “a remix, a mash-up of the painting.”

Paying Forward Beyond The Car

Additionally, Mehretu’s collaboration with BMW extends beyond the car itself. In 2025, she will co-host a series of artistic workshops across Africa, fostering creative exchange and collaboration among young artists. This initiative will culminate in an exhibition at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town.

The official images don’t do the M Hybrid V8 Art Car justice since the real deal better reflects the artist’s talent. The electrified endurance racer joins a select club of BMW-backed art cars, a tradition that started in 1975. There have been multiple race cars that have received the artsy treatment throughout the years. In fact, more than half of them were based on track-only machines. That said, Andy Warhol’s M1 from 1979 remains our favorite.

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.