Gumball 3000 is the ultimate car rally, run every May by its founder Maximillion Cooper. Since 1999 Maximillion has brought together celebrities, royalty, sports stars and racing drivers to take part in the real life ‘Whacky Races’. Except, there is no racing, there is no prize for coming first. But, there is the grand prize of ‘Spirit of the Gumball’ awarded to the team who have entered most into the true spirit of the event.
There have been many imitations since its inception, but today Gumball 3000 is the only rally you should consider doing. Yes it is expensive, £35,000 this year unless you have been a previous entrant, then it’s £30,000. But the Gumball experience is unrivalled and last weekend I headed over to Dublin to be a part of it.
Think of a car and it will have been on the rally at some point. The competition has gotten so fierce between the regulars that they build bespoke cars for the event. Team Galalg – the crowd favourites – entered a custom built Batman Tumbler based on a Lamborghini Gallardo and a recreation of an AMG GT3 called the TG3! Team Wolfpack leader Josh Cartu had been building a unique Ferrari for the rally but sadly it wasn’t ready in time so he brought along his Ferrari TDF – one of two on the event.
DJ Afrojack arrived with a Bentley Bentayga and a Lamborghini Aventador and our personal favourite on the grid was a classic Mercedes powered by a modern C63 AMG engine! Maximillion arrived in a style in a new Aston Martin Vanquish which he shared with his wife Eve.
Other notable cars included two Porsche 918s, a Ruf CTR3, Jaguar Project 7 and two Yugos imported from Slovakia just for a laugh!
David Hasselhoff is now a Gumball regular and the crowds absolutely love him. Afrojack was also drawing huge cheers and played sets to the crowds at some of the parties along the route. Maximillion’s wife Eve is a true hip hop star and Grammy award winner. At the London party at Tape we were treated to a live performance. Rap legend Bun B is another regular and has really embraced Gumball life as a true ambassador of the event. F1 star David Coulthard, Le Mans star Oliver Webb and YouTube sensations Shmee 150 and Cal Freezy also starred.
One thing you aren’t prepared for are the crowds. The Dublin crowd was huge, lining several streets beyond the start line, all along the motorway and all the bridges on the road to Belfast. In London the crowds were even bigger, Regent Street was closed off and the crowds went wild as their favourite cars rolled though the finish line.
This was nothing though, as the rally rolled into Eastern Europe the Gumballers were overwhelmed by the huge crowds and high spirited fans desperate to catch a glimpse of the cars. At the finish line in Bucharest hundreds of thousands of fans came out to see the cars parked outside the beautiful Palace of the Parliament.
Along the way Team Galag threw t-shirts into the crowd, stopped to meet fans and let them sit in the Batman Tumbler, most people expected them to win the prized ‘Spirit of the Gumball’ award for the second time but in the end it went to Afrojack. ‘Best Team’ went to Team Wolfpack, their light up jackets were very cool to be fair. Team Galag member Tomas Cabrerizo won most ‘Rock and Roll’ Gumballer and of course ‘Best Car’ went to the Batman Tumbler.
Established in 2013 the Gumball Foundation was launched to benefit disadvantaged youth. So far beneficiaries have included The Tony Hawk Foundation, When You Wish Upon A Star, The Sir Simon Milton Foundation, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund UK and The Westway Trust and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Money is raised by entrants bidding for their grid position. Pole position went for a remarkable $47,499 and over $270,000 was raised.
At the final dinner the 2017 route was announced, next year they travel from Riga to Mykonos. The crowds will again be huge, see you there?
About the Author
Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, petrol is very much in his veins.