Fans of the Jeff Koons-penned BMW Art Car were left disappointed by its performance at the weekend when it retired from the Le Mans 24-Hour after only five hoursspent out on the circuit. For despite making a good start that saw the first of its three drivers, Dirk Müller, quickly commandeer sixth place in the LMGT2 class , the #79 car soon had an accident after picking up a puncture and consequently spent a lot of time being repaired in BMW pit. When British driver Andy Priaulx got behind the wheel things got progressively worse as the Art Car started to develop various technical problems. He eventually had to retire at the entrance to the Indianapolis curve shortly after 20h00 on Saturday night. Fortunately BMW fans had something to cheer about after the #78 M3 GT2 driven by Jörg Müller, Augusto Farfus and Uwe Alzen completed 320 laps to finish sixth in the LMGT2 class in front of 240 000 spectators.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said: “The 17th BMW Art Car caused a real stir among fans and media. Everyone in the team enjoyed working with Jeff Koons and it was fascinating to see how his work of art was received in Le Mans. It goes without saying, we hoped this car would see the chequered flag. We were well aware this weekend would represent a major challenge, due to the short preparation period. The BMW M3 GT2 seen in action here differs in many areas from the car that won at the Nürburgring. During qualifying we were still busy working on the car’s basic set-up. In addition, it is very difficult to get involved in the fight for the top positions in the strong GT2 category when you then have to cope with incidents in the race, which result in unscheduled pit stops. Despite this, car # 78 had the podium in its sights until four hours from the end of the race. The return of BMW to Le Mans, eleven years after our 1999 overall victory, attracted massive attention.”
I can see why it flopped.