Fancy a new driving challenge in 2019? Want to drive amongst celebrities and supercars, with hundreds of thousands of fans waving you off from major cities across the globe? Fancy crossing Europe from Mykonos to Ibiza, staying at some of the finest hotels and attending some of the most glamorous parties? Then it’s time to get your application in for the Gumball 3000 rally.
What is the Gumball 3000?
Gumball 3000 is the brainchild of Maximillion Cooper, a young entrepreneur who founded the rally to bring together his passions for fast cars and glamorous living. As well as an annual motoring event, Gumball 3000 is an aspirational lifestyle brand, a clothing label and much, much more. The group is valued at $300m and Cooper himself is ranked as one of the 50 most influential people in the motor industry. What’s more, in recent years, the Gumball Foundation has raised significant funds to support a variety of youth projects.
Where did the Gumball 3000 get its name?
The Gumball 3000 can trace its inspiration all the way back to 1933, when a motorcyclist called Mister Baker, completed the coast to coast ride across the USA in just 54 hours. The feat earned him the nickname ‘Cannonball’ and inspired a number of ‘Cannonball Runs’, as immortalised by the 1981 and 1984 movies starring Burt Reynolds.
The prize for the winner of these famous rallies was often a gumball machine, leading them to be known as ‘gumball rallies’. The name also comes up in the 1978 movie, Gumball Rally, which featured a secret, everything-goes race across the US. This gives the event its Gumball title, with the 3000 referring to the number of miles covered in each event.
Where does the Gumball 3000 take place?
Since the first Gumball 3000, the event has taken place across the world, reaching everywhere from Los Angeles to Tokyo. The first rally started in London, with drivers heading to Rimini in Italy and then back to London. The following year saw drivers head through France, Spain, and Germany before returning to London, and so it continued.
2001 saw drivers head to Scandinavia and Russia, before the event finally crossed the Atlantic in 2002, crossing the country from New York to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. The event headed to Thailand in 2006 and went one better two years later, reaching Beijing in time for the 2008 Olympic Games.
Some years even see the event split between continents, such as 2015, when the drive took in Norway, Denmark, Germany and Holland, before heading across the ocean to take in San Francisco and Death Valley on its way to a spectacular finish in Las Vegas.
Is Gumball 3000 a race?
The organisers are keen to point out that Gumball 3000 is a rally, not a race, clearly stating in the rules that ‘The event is not a race or a competition and you must not compete in any manner with other participants’. There are no prizes awarded for finishing positions, however, the standard of supercars involved inevitably means that participants are driving pretty fast a lot of the time. Some even lose their licenses while participating, with one team stopped in 2003 for doing 242mph in a 75mph zone, driving a Koenigsegg CCR. In 2016, a team entered a Batmobile, based on a Lamborghini Gallardo, which produced a staggering 560bhp. However other racers, such as East Enders actress Martine McCutcheon have entered in comparatively ‘normal’ cars like her pink Range Rover.
Can anyone take part?
The Gumball 3000 has attracted stars from all walks of life. Drivers include TV and movie stars like David Hasselhoff and Matthew McConaughey, musicians like Jamiroquai and The Darkness, fashion icons like Jodie Kidd and Donna Karan and even professional Formula One drivers like Damon Hill and Lewis Hamilton. Everyone from comedian Vic Reeves to Golden Globe winner Idris Elba, NBA legend Dennis Rodman and socialite Tara Palmer-Tompkinson has taken part.
Of course, you don’t have to be famous to join the 100 plus drivers in the rally. The Gumball 3000 is open to anyone who has the car and the money to take part. You can apply online to secure your place in the 2019 event, which will run from Mykonos to Ibiza in June.
With last year’s entry fee set at an eye-watering £60,000 for a car with two drivers, this is not an event to be taken lightly. But, if you have the wheels and the bank balance to keep up with the great and the good, then it is well worth doing. You are guaranteed an unforgettable experience.