ORECA 07 #24 – Spark

2021 ORECA 07 #24
Pilots: G. Aubry, P. Kelly, S. Trummer
Team: PR1 Motorsports Mathiasen
Race: DNF (LMP2 class) at Le Mans in 2021
Spark - S8240 (resin)

Published 02/17/23

At first glance, art doesn’t have much in common with motorsports. Or does it? Well, if you think about an art piece representing a race, or a pilot or even a car, then you can find a relation. Specifically speaking about car races, there are many fantastic works out there. For instance, Czech artist Václav Zapadlík made beautiful paintings, especially depicting the Golden Age of Grand Prix. Another artist that I really like is British Stuart Booth. In fact, there are quite a few artists that produce terrific representations of cars, races or even pilots. And you can find many mediums for their creations, from oil paintings to photography and even (huge!) sculptures. All right then, therefore motorsports and cars are a theme for an art piece. But what about a race car per se as an art work?

Nowadays, the ORECA 07 is THE most common race car at La Sarthe.

In essence, that would be what we now understand as an “art car”. And it all began in 1971, with a Porsche 917LH. More specifically, with the “Hippie 917”. Martini Racing didn’t want their 917 to look “normal”, so they asked Anatole Lapine to make it stand out. Lapine, Porsche’s newly hired designer, painted the car in period-correct psychedelic colors. Though the 917LH #3 finished in second place overall, it is almost more famous than the winning 917K #23. Just because of the paint scheme. The following year, Porsche pulled another stunt, with the famous Pink Pig. Yet, if legend is correct, Luigi Rossi di Montelera hated the car. Montelera (“Count Rossi”), manager of Martini & Rossi and the sponsor of the Porsche Martini Racing Team, prohibited adding the Martini logo to the car. So Lapine, as a joke, painted the car as pork cuts. A joke that became art.

I doubt Anatole Lapine ever imagined his “artistic license” could make an impact 30 years later.

A few short years later, Frenchman Hervé Poulain comes into this story. A former car pilot and at the time an art auctioneer, he decided to combine art and racing. He then commissioned American sculptor and painter Alexander Calder to paint his car. Calder transformed a regular BMW CSL 3.0 into the famous “Calder BMW”. Without a doubt, the Calder BMW became the most famous of all the Le Mans art cars. And more importantly, it started the tradition of art cars at La Sarthe. Fast forward to 2021, and you have PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’s ORECA 07 #24. Unfortunately however, even with a beautiful  livery signed by artist Laurent Minguet, this 07 #24 wasn’t lucky at Le Mans. The car abandoned the race on the 267th lap with electrical problems.

Cool looks aside, ORECA 07 #24 didn’t last the race.

As I said elsewhere, I think that the ORECA 07 is more prolific than the Porsche GT3 at La Sarthe. Therefore, it’s a model that is somewhat blasé for many collectors, where variety is important. And yes, I agree with that, however this ORECA 07 #24 is an art car. And for me that translates to must buy. In scale, as expected, Spark aced the model, and it looks terrific. Great model + art car = win, so we’re done, right? Nah, this story doesn’t end here… Come back next week for a little more on art cars 😉.

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