Aston Martin’s Vantage GTE art car is sure to dazzle at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Race cars usually serve as fast-moving billboards for sponsors, but once in awhile carmakers and teams decide to do something a bit less capitalistic with their racing liveries.

Among automakers, BMW is probably best known for commissioning artists to create special liveries for “art cars,” but for the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin has an impressive piece of its own.

With the factory’s blessing, the owner of the number 97 Gulf Aston Martin Vantage GTE commissioned German artist Tobias Rehberger to design a new livery for the car, which will race at Le Mans this weekend.

The car’s owner is a fan of Rehberger, who didn’t disappoint in his attempt to design a color scheme that conveys a sense of motion while the car is standing still.

“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,” Rehberger said.

If you have trouble staring at the riotous color scheme for more than a moment, that’s apparently the idea. Rehberger said the design is intended to make concentrating on a single point difficult — just like with a fast-moving object.

Also note that Rehberger incorporated the blue, orange, and white Gulf racing colors that this car has worn in the past (see gallery above).

The car itself is based on the production Aston Martin Vantage, and will race in GTE Pro, the top class for cars based on actual showroom models. It will be one of five Vantages at Le Mans this year; with three in GTE Pro, and two in the lower-level GTE Am class.

Naturally, the GTE is a lot more aggressive than a stock Vantage. Its V8 engine produces 600 horsepower, which is channeled to the rear wheels through an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox.

Carbon-fiber body panels and an aluminum roof help trim the Vantage’s weight to just 2,634 pounds. The driver sits in a carbon-fiber seat with a six-point safety harness, and the only luxury is a fire extinguisher.

Look for the number 97 Tobias Rehberger-designed Aston Martin Vantage GTE at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this Saturday.

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