2017 BMW M6 GT3
The future is now: Following the contributions by Jeff Koons and John Baldessari, Cao Fei (b. 1978) is the youngest and first Chinese artist ever to create a BMW Art Car. By employing augmented and virtual reality, the internationally acclaimed Chinese multimedia artist addresses the future of mobility such as autonomous driving, airborne cars and digitalization.
In the presence of Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and hundreds of invited guests, the reveal of BMW Art Car #18 was celebrated at the Minsheng Art Museum in Beijing on May 31, 2017.
Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG:
“We were thrilled by the decision of an independent jury of international museum directors to have nominated Cao Fei. Considered as a lucky number in China, her vehicle is the official 18th rolling sculpture of the collection. For her project, Cao Fei chose an unprecedented and immersive approach, empowering the viewer to engage with the artwork through cutting-edge technology. This is truly a BMW Art Car for the 21st century!”
Cao Fei commented upon her BMW Art Car:
“To me, light represents thoughts. As the speed of thoughts cannot be measured, the #18 Art Car questions the existence of the boundaries of the human mind. We are entering a new age, where the mind directly controls objects and where thoughts can be transferred, such as unmanned operations and artificial intelligence. Which attitudes and temperaments hold the key to opening the gateway to the new age?”
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Cao Fei | China
Cao Fei’s work is a reflection on the speed of change in China, on tradition and future. With her BMW Art Car project, she delves into a trajectory spanning thousands of years, paying tribute to Asia’s ancient spiritual wisdom as it swiftly spreads out into the third millennium. The multimedia artist approached the BMW Art Car in a way typical for her artistic practice, building a parallel universe.
The body of work consists of three different components: a video focusing on a time traveling spiritual practitioner, augmented reality features picturing colorful light particles, accessible via a dedicated app, and the BMW M6 GT3 racecar in its original carbon black. Paying tribute to the carbon fiber structure of the racecar chassis, Cao Fei’s holistic use of a non-reflective black incorporates the car into the possibilities of the digital world.
Within this concept, Cao Fei’s implementation of video art as well as augmented reality creates an environment of which the M6 GT3 is an essential part. In her video work, the practitioner executes spiritual movements, which echo in colorful streams of light. When the app is used within the premises of the car, these light swishes become an AR installation floating above and around the BMW M6 GT3 — involving the spectator as an interactive agent of participation.
This narrative reflects on a traditional spiritual ceremony very common throughout Asia in which new objects such as automobiles are being blessed, in this case wishing good luck to car and driver. On a broader level, the light elements mirror what the eyes cannot see and the mind cannot picture.
During the course of over three years following her announcement, Cao Fei took part in a racing experience with female race driver Cyndie Allemann in Switzerland in 2015. During manifold visits to headquarters, she worked closely with BMW Group’s engineers, designers, and digital specialists. For her research, the artist also went on an extended BMW plant visit to Tiexi.
BMW M6 GT3
The BMW M6 GT3 has been the top model in the BMW Motorsport customer racing line-up since 2016. The car is powered by a 4.4-litre V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo Technology, generating 585 hp – with the whole car weighing less than 1,300 kilograms.
Technical characteristics of the BMW M6 GT3 are also the drive concept, six-speed sequential racing transmission, and high-performance motorsport electronics. In 2016 the GT car got off to a flying start, proving to be a race winner from the word go.
Maxime Martin (BEL), Alexander Sims (GBR) and Philipp Eng (AUT) drove the BMW M6 GT3 to victory in the 24-hour race of Spa- Francorchamps (BEL). In addition, private BMW teams and drivers collected many more victories and titles over the course of the season with this challenger.
The GTLM version of the car is competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Sims, Bill Auberlen (USA), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Bruno Spengler (CAN) took turns racing John Baldessari’s BMW M6 GTLM Art Car during the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA). Again, it will be up to Farfus to race yet another Art Car, this time designed by Cao Fei, at the FIA GT World Cup in Macau (CHN).
- Length: 4,944 mm
- Width: 2,046 mm
- Wheelbase: 2,901 mm
- Weight: Under 1,300 kg (without driver, depending on regulations)
- Model: Based on the S63 production engine and slightly modified for the specific requirements of motorsport; with M TwinPower Turbo Technology
- Type: V8
- Capacity: 4,395 cc
- Performance: Up to 585 hp (depending on classification)
- Oil supply: Oil system, based on dry sump, specifically developed by BMW Motorsport
- Top speed: 280 km/h (approx)
About Cao Fei
Born in 1978 in Guangzhou, Cao Fei is one of the most innovative young Chinese artists to have emerged onto the international scene. Currently living in Beijing, she mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, references to Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations.
Her works reflect on the rapid and chaotic changes that are occurring in Chinese society today. She exhibited her works and projects in Serpentine Gallery, Tate Modern (London); New Museum, Guggenheim Museum, MoMA (New York); Palais de Tokyo and Centre Pompidou (Paris).
Cao Fei’s recent projects in 2016 include her first retrospective at MoMA PS1. Furthermore, Cao Fei received the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) Best Young Artist Award in 2006 and Best Artist Award in 2016; Piedra de Sal Award at Cuenca Biennale in 2016.