​The prototypes at the Le Mans racing school given a new look

The Pescarolo prototypes from Le Mans Driver, the racing school at the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, have had a makeover this year. To create this new identity, ACO called on the talents of students from Penninghen School of Artistic Direction and Interior Design. An encounter between two exceptional schools which has forged an original and extremely productive partnership.

The prototypes at the Le Mans racing school given a new look

Training tomorrow’s talent, imparting unique expertise and nurturing excellence… In terms of racing and design, the Le Mans Driver and Penninghen schools are as one – they believe in training which is available for everyone yet at the same time both demanding and exacting in terms of learning outcomes. This joint venture to give the Pescarolo prototypes a brand-new look augurs extremely well for the future.

Frédéric Lénart, ACO General Manager, sums up the aims of the project in the following words: “We did not want to simply give the prototypes a slap of new paint – we wanted to take a fresh, modern, more inclusive approach while retaining the core values and DNA of both ACO and the 24 Hours of Le Mans”. This was some challenge and it prompted the ACO to seek out the talents of the Penninghen students. This leading School of Artistic Direction and Interior Design trains designers who will later work for some of the most prestigious global brands.

Since the outset, this project has been particularly significant to the teaching team. Gilles Poplin, the director of the school, sums this up in the following words: “The auto racing and driving industry offers our students an unprecedented opportunity for creative direction. The 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest which created it and runs it, combined to produce an almost legendary context which lends itself ideally to creating a strong visual universe which, in turn, requires creative artistic direction. This partnership is further evidence of the ability of the 24 Hours of Le Mans to fuse together two very different worlds – auto racing and art – as it is done on many occasions over its long history.

Dressing a racing car is no easy task. First, the design has to take account of the complex shapes of the bodywork themselves determined by aerodynamics. Then, it has to include all essential numbers and partners’ logos. Finally, it has to produce a striking visual identity which is instantly recognisable and modern yet not modish. Under the supervision of course directors Yorgo Tloupas and Alexis Tsé, some forty students worked on this joint project and submitted 12 proposals. They all created visual universes which were as original as they were timeless, albeit bounded by technical constraints.

The project that captured the attention of the ACO had been created by Juliette André, Mégane Barile and Cosme Ghizzo. These fourth-year artistic direction students took their inspiration from modern art and the simplicity of its stylistic language and managed to create visual impact while retaining an element of timelessness. The 2017 Pescarolo prototypes will be clad in white dresses with the evocative words “24 Hours of Le Mans” in black on their sides. Key facts and figures relating to the event – distance covered, maximum speed, etc. – will appear here and there as allusions to the DNA of this race, essentially performance and endurance.
As a result of this extremely productive partnership between the ACO and the students from Penninghen School of Artistic Direction and Interior Design, the Pescarolo prototypes from the Le Mans Driver school have found a whole new identity. Through this collaborative venture, they will act as bearers of the values of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the ACO in an artistic universe that time and again takes its inspiration from this legendary race and lets the aura of the event radiate well beyond the circuit itself.
About the Le Mans Driver Racing School

The Le Mans Driver Racing School is a pioneer in this field in France and has been giving the general public a taste of Le Mans magic for some 40 years. Throughout the year, it offers a variety of karting, motorcycle and car racing courses for all levels and requirements on the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit. A team of 26 professional trainers delivers courses to more than 35,000 trainees each year. With the Bugatti Circuit, the White House Circuit and the Le Mans Karting International Circuit, there are no fewer than 116 hectares available for leisure activities, training and competitions, which allows the ACO to fulfil the task of knowledge transfer that it set itself at the very beginning.

>> For further information on introductory and racing courses

About Penninghen

Penninghen is a private higher education institution, which was opened by its founders, Jacques D’Andon and Guillaume Met de Penninghen, as a ceramics workshop in 1953. It moved into the premises of the renowned Académie Julian, in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, in 1959. In 1968, the school became a Higher School of Graphic Arts (ESAG Penninghen) and four years later extended its provision to interior design. Since 2016, it has been called Penninghen as a tribute to one of its two founders. The school is registered with the National Directory of Professional Certifications (RNCP) and awards accredited, state-recognised, Level I Master’s qualifications in Artistic Direction, Image and Media and Media and Interior Architecture/Design after five years of higher education.  Since it was first created, the school has trained close to 3000 professionals and has gained an international recognition.

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