Looking like something between a television test pattern and a 3D projection viewed without the requisite glasses, the livery is actually designed as an optical illusion, to distort perception and trick the eye into thinking the car is moving even when it's sitting still.
Of course it still features the unmistakable Gulf logos, and is made up of alternating bars of orange, yellow, blue, and black. It's the work of German artist Tobias Rehrberger, renowned for his abstract experimental art, and will appear on the #97 Vantage GTE this coming weekend when the famous endurance race gets under way in Western France.
- Aston Martin Racing unveils 24 Hours of Le Mans art car
- Design revealed to racing fans in Le Mans town centre
- Unique effects on Vantage GTE created by artist Tobias Rehberger
8 June, Le Mans: Aston Martin Racing is today unveiling a 24 Hours of Le Mans art car designed by artist Tobias Rehberger. The unique creation gives the Gulf #97 Vantage GTE the illusion of movement and speed, even when static.
Rehberger is renowned for his abstract art and optical effects that distort perception and has received numerous international prizes and awards, including the Golden Lion for best artist at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Aston Martin Racing invited him to design a livery that would work with the Gulf Vantage GTE's lines and colours in a way never attempted before.
Thirty years since the first art car ran in the 24-hour race, Rehberger set out to create a design that uses geometric shapes and patterns to give the car, when static, the impression of movement and speed.
The German artist, who will attend Saturday's race as a guest of Aston Martin Racing, explained: "My design for the Aston Martin art car is rooted in my interest in distorted perception and related phenomena like auto moving patterns, optical effects, camouflage and visual confusion, which I have addressed in many works before.
"In this case, the design is based on a geometric optical effect pattern. Comparable to a fast object, a steady fixation on a point of the pattern is impossible."
The artwork was commissioned by the owner of car #97 who has long-admired the work of Rehberger and was interested to see how he could manipulate the appearance of the race car that is based on Aston Martin's Vantage road car.
Driver of the car, Darren Turner was impressed with the results: "Personally, I think art cars are fantastic," commented Turner. "This design really pushes the boundaries of what's been done before and challenges how we can use patterns and colours in racecar liveries – I love it!"
The design, which will be seen on the side of the #97 Vantage GTE in this weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans, was unveiled at the official race scrutineering in the town centre today (8 June).
The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts on Saturday 13 June at 1500hrs.