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Gumball 3000 -- The Ultimate Road Trip

  • May 27, 2022

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120 drivers. 3,000 miles. Driving all day; partying at night. For 7 days.

After a 2-year hiatus, The Gumball 3,000 Rally is, once again, upon us. And this time around, the Start Flag drops in Toronto.

Supercars and Celebrities

gumball 3000 trip

The Gumball 3000 is a car rally which includes many supercars, celebrities, and sponsors, and is based on the 1976 movie “The Gumball Race”. Founded by Maximillion Cooper, the first rally was held in 1999 in Europe. While organizers maintain that the event is a rally and not a race, the Gumball 3000 is notorious for its unofficial objective of having a winner that crosses the finish line first.

It’s not an event for the faint of heart: In past years, spectators have died, while drivers have had their licenses suspended or revoked as they speed through the streets of the 3,000-mile course for that year.

While it’s not a race, the Gumball 3000 is never without surprises and excitement, making it all the more enjoyable as an event, whether one is a car enthusiast or casual observer

Toronto to Miami via Indianapolis, Bardstown, Nashville, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay

This year, the Gumball 3000 will commence in Toronto, and end in Miami, with stops along the way including Indianapolis, Bardstown, Nashville, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay.

Starting in Toronto, between Bay Street and Yonge & Dundas Square, the rally will see grid arrivals and an opening concert on Friday May 27 th , with the ceremonial flag drop occurring Saturday the 28 th from 11am to 3pm (EDT).

The rally will then drive to Indianapolis, Indiana, arriving around 8pm, where participants will enjoy the famous Indy 500 race.

On Monday May 30 th , the rally resumes with the next stop being Bardstown, Kentucky, before making its way to Nashville, Tennessee. The Gumball 3000 then treks to Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday May 31 st , with the last major stop being Tampa Bay, Florida, on June 1 st .

Finally, participants will arrive in South Florida late on June 1 st , resuming the next day to drive to Key West before heading back up to South Florida  to cross the finish line.

gumball 3000 trip

Price of Admission: $100K+ and a Supercar

Of course, anyone can apply to enter the race. Just obtain a ride–supercars are commonplace; but past entries have included everything from vintage Jaguars and Rolls Royces to a Citroen deux chevaux. Then, of course, there’s the entrance fee that runs upwards of $100,000. But hey, when you’re running with this crowd, money tends not to be a blocker.

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gumball 3000 trip

The Gumball 3000 Rally is back with a spectacular route from Toronto - Miami

The 22nd Annual Gumball 3000 Rally arrives with a festival of Supercars and Superstars in Nashville on Monday, May 30 to make it a Memorial Day to remember!

Superstars come together to participate in the 22ndAnnual Gumball 3000 Rally and raise money for the Gumball 3000 Foundation (non-profit) to support a variety of youth-based projects in low-income communities. Driving from Toronto to Miami in just 6 days - the spectacular entry grid of over 100 cars includes custom classics to futuristic hypercars, from Bugattiʼs to open-top buses!

Leading the charge is celebrity couple Maximillion Cooper (@MrGumball3000) founder and host of Gumball3000 (@Gumball3000) and his Grammy-winning wife, US rapper Eve (@TheRealEve) driving a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster. Lining up alongside include a number of Gumball favorites -Bay watch legend David Hasselhoff , DJ pioneer deadmau5 , rapper BunB, MLB Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr & singer CeeLo Green - with a host of superstar rookie Gumballers to be announced soon!

Social media and eSports superstars will be joining automotive influencers DailyDrivenExotics , Shmee150 , Mr JWW  and Jodie Kidd to share the adventure through their YouTube, TikTok and Instagram channels to over 200m followers -making it easy to follow the action!

Gumball celebrations kick off in Toronto on Friday 27 May on Yonge-Dundas Square (YDS) with a free Gumball Concert for fans featuring deadmau5 & a number of special guests performing live!

David Hasselhoff will wave the start flag at midday on Saturday 28 May on YDS in the heart of Toronto to set drivers off on the first leg of their adventure towards Detroit and on to Indianapolis.

Over the following 6 days participants will attend the famous Indy500 before heading south to Bardstown (30), Nashville (30), Talladega (31), Atlanta (31), Tampa (1) and Miami (1-2) - creating a festival of cars and music in each city.

During the evening in Nashville on  Monday 30 May (Memorial Day) the annual Gumball 3000 Foundation (non-profit) fundraising event will take place at the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM)  including a charity auction of pop culture and Sporting Memorabilia hosted by Christie's and a live performance by Grammy winner CeeLo Green .

The annual rally supports a variety of causes through the Gumball 3000 Foundation (non-profit), including  The Skatepark Project (formerly The Tony Hawk Foundation ) and Laureus Sport for Good, supporting underprivileged youth around the world with community youth development programs.

The final stage of the rally will incorporate a scenic drive to Key West before returning north to cross the finish line on Thursday 2 June at David Beckhamʼs Inter Miami DRV PNK Stadium. The finale will include a festival of cars, music and a charity soccer match inside the stadium -where the Gumball All-Stars XI will play a Laureus World XI  of soccer legends, influencers and musicians!

The coveted Spirit of Gumball Trophy will be presented in true Gumball style on Friday 3 June at a Gumball pool party at the Hard Rock Guitar Hotel !

“After a two year break due to the pandemic, we are incredibly excited to be hosting the rally once again. This route incorporates some amazing locations and is packed full of incredible experiences - from the launch event in Toronto with deadmau5 performing, attending the famous  Indy 500 , racing NASCAR at Talladega SuperSpeedway , to kicking a field goal at the Tampa Buccaneers' Raymond James Stadium  - before crossing the finish line at David Beckhamʼs Inter Miami stadium. This road trip has it all!” said Maximillion Cooper , founder of Gumball 3000.

For those wanting to get involved immediately, the Gumball 3000 car grid will soon be online, where fans can nominate and donate to their favorite team and car. The team that raises the most money will start from pole position in Toronto, with the money raised going to charity.

Official event partners include: Kappa, CarreraEyewear, QNTMDNA, IgnitionCasino, HardRock Hotels,  WhistlePig, Piston Distillery, Hot Wheels, FRSH Scents, MLSE & more.

For more information on the upcoming event, visit

Instagram: @gumball3000 TikTok: @gumball3000 Twitter: @gumball3000 Facebook: /Gumball3000

#Gumball3000 #GumballLife #Toronto2Miami

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The Gumball 3000: the ultimate 3000 mile road trip

Since 1999 Gumball 3000 has embarked on its annual 3000 mile road trip, taking car enthusiasts, celebrities and thrill seekers across countries, continents and oceans each year.

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Behind the scenes at the world's most decadent road rally.

A huge crowd turned out in Reno to see the official start of the U.S. leg of the Gumball. Moments after this image was taken, the crowd swarmed Coco Zurita's car. They were drawn to his bike on the roof of the car, but when they got closer their attention shifted to Setenay Tetik.

The starting grid in every city was the best place to see all the cars. Most of the drivers spent more time checking out the other cars than they did prepping their own. Not the most expensive car in the rally but definitely the flashiest was the all good everything Rolls Royce.

Lewis Hamilton has a huge draw on the Los Angeles grid. The press and fans swarmed him until he drove off in a Koenigsegg Agera S. Starting at $1.5 million, the twin turbo V-8 Agera puts out over 1,000hp. All that power and a huge detour lead to Lewis running out of gas in Death Valley.

Coco Zurita crossing the Bay Bridge. Coco was one of the first drivers to get out of San Francisco, but one of the last to arrive in LA. Luckily no car troubles were involved, Coco actually stopped at Woodward West to get in a training session on vert before he competed in the X-Games just a few days away.

On the Gumball most of your day is spent driving in packs with other Gumballers, which is pretty rad because pretty much every car is amazing. These modded Porsche 911s stuck together from San Fransisco to Los Angeles.

Tommy Lee and Dead Mau5 are hyped with Coco during the vert demo. Moments like this are what Gumball is all about. Max designed Gumball to bring together his passions of cars, music, action sports, fashion, and entertainment and it works out amazingly.

Two generations of skating shred together. Tony Hawk airs above 22-year-old Lizze Armanto.

The crowd loved the vert demo and the musical performances at the Gumball finale party in Vegas. For the actual Gumballers it was much more than just watching a performance -- pretty much everybody partied on stage together. After his set Bun B, king of underground, hung around and even filmed DeadMau5 (sans helmet) as Tommy Lee rocked out just out of frame.


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By George Gurley

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It’s a glorious, cloudless afternoon in Morocco, and just outside Marrakech, cars are flying off the road. First, a Ford Escort Cosworth loses control at 140 miles per hour and tumbles into the desert, then a Ferrari crashes into a tractor and slams into a hedge, completely destroyed. A Dodge Viper is nearly cut in half. The word is that the driver is dead and the passenger is en route to the hospital.

The carnage continues into the night. A guy gets knocked off his motorcycle, losing a finger, a few toes, and lots of blood. At the hospital, doctors examining his leg are at the ready with a saw.

Locals walking along the highway seem bewildered. Little boys are jumping up and down, chanting, “Gumball, Gumball!,” and throwing rocks at the cars. It’s like a war zone, and the Gumball 3000 Rally, a six-day, 3,000-mile, 192-car grand spree, is only at the halfway mark.

Three months prior to the events of May 2004, I watch, filled with unease, as Alexander Roy swaggers into the SoHo House, in New York City, where we’re meeting to discuss my accompanying him on the sixth annual Gumball 3000. With his shaved head, wild blue eyes, and white motorcycle jacket, he looks like a movie villain, but he has an easy, calming manner, a contagious laugh, and legitimate credentials. A regular on the youth-charity-ball circuit, he runs a rental-car company, Europe by Car, chairs a Manhattan literary-readings series called the Moth, and, in a few months, will win the top prize on a British reality show, The Ultimate Playboy .

Still, I’m a little concerned about being in the backseat of his BMW as he drives, at speeds of 140 m.p.h. and up, from Paris to Madrid, Marbella, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez, Barcelona, and Cannes. “The fact is, if we have an accident at 150 miles an hour, we’re not likely to survive it,” he says, sipping a hot chocolate. “But on the flip side, I’m really serious about safety, and not all these guys are.”

A few nights later, Roy and I attend an event honoring the racecar driver Mario Andretti. He says he’d never do the Gumball: “Too many unknown elements.”

Shortly before I leave for Paris, at the Manhattan nightclub Marquee, I confer with actor Johnny Knoxville, of Jackass fame. He participated in the third Gumball 3000, from London to Moscow and back, with an MTV camera crew in tow. “The Gumball was one of the greatest times of my life!,” Knoxville hollers over the music. “There hasn’t been a death yet, but I have no idea how! If you want to be safe, don’t go on the Gumball !”

On May 3, 2004, Paris’s Four Seasons Hotel George V begins filling up with some 500 car freaks and adrenaline junkies. More than half are European, and about 75 percent are testosterone-fueled males: playboys, jet-setters, trustafarians, lawyers, bankers, computer geeks, royals, Saudi oilmen, C-list celebrities, and a few billionaires.

While some participants are doing the Gumball on a budget, it isn’t easy. The entry fee is £10,000 (about $19,000), and the bare minimum in expenses is $5,000—if you have your own car, live near the starting line, and don’t get any speeding tickets. Most Gumballers are set back $20,000 to $80,000, after factoring in gas, airline tickets, shipping, and insurance. The real big shots shell out $250,000 to $1 million for their supercars, support vehicles, and crews.

In exchange, they are set loose in a surreal parallel universe. Staying in five-star hotels and partying in chic nightclubs, they get to live like rock stars, outlaws, sugar-high children. Press releases sometimes oversell the event’s celebrity wattage, but this year’s headliner, actor Adrien Brody, actually appears, as do former boxing champ Chris Eubank, supermodel Jodie Kidd, and the cast of The Ai Ya Boys , MTV Asia’s version of Jackass .

By 11 p.m. several dozen Gumballers have taken over the hotel bar. After a few backslapping greetings, Alex Roy gets a Campari-and-soda and sits down. “The test now is will the Moroccan leg go safely,” he says. “I’ve heard two things. I’ve heard that the roads are the worst in the world, and I’ve heard that the superhighway we’re taking is among the best in the world, and that there’s no traffic.”

On the previous Gumball, which started in San Francisco (Mayor Willie Brown waved everyone off) and finished in Miami, Roy distinguished himself by turning his BMW M5 into a fake German “Polizei” car, complete with sirens and lights—and a blow-up sex doll in the backseat. He wore nurse, priest, doctor, police, and military costumes, and when he got pulled over he’d deliver a speech in German or French. “The police would be baffled, especially the small-town ones,” he recalls. “They’d just start laughing and let us go.” Roy’s antics won him the coveted Spirit trophy, which honors the virtues of endurance, humor, and eccentricity. This year, he wants it again.

Roy’s publicist, Gina DeFranco, a saucy blonde in a tight denim dress, swans in. “What’s going on tonight? Let’s go dance,” she says. “I always say, ‘Shut up and dance.’ I danced in a movie! I was an actress in my 20s. I did over 80 television commercials.”

We are interrupted by the sound of a Dodge Viper gunning its engine outside the hotel. The driver is Jerry Reynolds, a software and “doggy day care” executive from Fargo, North Dakota. He is accompanied by a team of associates in white lab coats, crowded into a yellow Hummer H2 with the skull of a yak mounted on its hood and a pair of fake yak testicles dangling from its back bumper. “You gotta have balls to do the Gumball,” one of them explains. Reynolds wants the Spirit trophy, badly. To that end his team has created a science-fiction superhero character called Torquenstein, who is half man, half machine.

Tagging along with Reynolds’s associates, Roy and I follow the Viper to the Eiffel Tower, where it performs high-speed loops around a grassy traffic island, spewing exhaust and drawing the attention of the police. “We’re about to piss on a century of goodwill between the two countries,” Roy says, watching from a safe distance. “They gave us the Statue of Liberty. We give them Torquenstein.”

Although the Gumball can easily be dismissed as frivolous, Eurotrashy, even obscene, it does have its redeeming qualities. You hear a lot about the “Gumball spirit.” People who have it don’t whine, they “go with it.” They may act recklessly, but they don’t behave selfishly. Another constant refrain is: “It’s a rally, not a race.” The Gumball isn’t about getting to each checkpoint first; it’s about camaraderie. If another driver is having car trouble or vomiting outside the hotel, one must stop to help out.

The whole operation is disorganized by design. Drivers have no idea where they’re going until they get a route card at the next checkpoint.

The genesis of the Gumball was a 1960s coast-to-coast road trip in homage to the late Erwin “Cannonball” Baker, who, three decades earlier, had driven a Cadillac from San Diego to New York in seven days, 11 hours, and 52 minutes. He made a subsequent cross-country trip in 53 hours 30 minutes, but by the late 1970s that time was cut nearly in half. More illegal road races popped up in the 1970s and 80s, and Hollywood capitalized on the craze with films such as The Gumball Rally (1976) and Cannonball Run (1981).

Gumball owes its current incarnation to Maximillion Cooper, a 32-year-old British playboy with a skateboarding background and degrees in law and fashion design. In 1999, Cooper invited his posh friends, including Jason Priestley, Billy Zane, and Dannii to take part in a six-day road trip, a throwback to the 1970s, with stops at palaces and castles.

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That first Gumball was low-key and incident-free. Only 55 cars took part, and everyone knew one another. The second, with 85 cars, began in London and went to Spain, France, Italy, and Germany. There were two accidents, a $12,000 fine for overtaking a police cruiser, and a $19,000 bar bill. The third Gumball, from London to Russia and back, really got crazy. There were 106 cars this time, as well as reports of carjackings, crashes, and arrests. Thanks to good publicity on MTV and in British lad and car magazines, the Gumball got bigger from there.

Last year’s rally, the one I went on, was the biggest yet, with 192 cars. By then, Cooper and his wife, Julie Brangstrup, a Danish beauty with a strong personality, were running the operation together. They want it to become a brand name, and it’s on its way, with a clothing line, toys, video games, and various film projects. A Burt Reynolds—narrated documentary on the 2003 Gumball reached No. 9 on the DVD charts.

The 2005 rally departs London’s Trafalgar Square on May 14 and stops in Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Sicily, and Rome before ending in Monte Carlo’s Casino Square on the 20th. That night, there’s a party on the Gumball Super Yacht; among the revelers, assuming they make it, will be Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Johnny Knox-ville (traveling in a Dukes of Hazzard car), Daryl Hannah (in an electric car), and the rapper 50 Cent, who promises to perform each evening along the way.

Although there have been more applicants this year than ever—as many as 5,000 a month—the rally itself will be smaller, with 120 cars. But Cooper says he expects hundreds of thousands of people to flock to the checkpoints.

Meanwhile, there are already big plans for the 2006 rally. “It’s a hundred levels higher,” Cooper says. “We got China making it a national holiday and stuff. It’s going to start in London. We’re driving a thousand miles across Europe to Venice, and then Istanbul. And then I’m going to fly all the cars and all the people to Beijing. And we’re going from Beijing across to Shanghai, and then on a boat to Japan, and from Tokyo I’m going to fly everyone to Las Vegas and do the last leg to Los Angeles. It should be amazing.”

Back in Paris, it’s 36 hours before the checkered flag, and Shane Slevin, a 61-year-old Irishman in a black leather jacket with a patch that reads, “I Do Take Bribes,” is drinking white wine in the hotel bar. A mythic figure, he has been on all six Gumballs. Johnny Knoxville has called Slevin his “ultimate hero.”

On the third Gumball, Slevin was thrown into jail in Latvia for brawling with the authorities, for which he won the Spirit trophy. “I’m known for not sleeping,” he slurs. “Loads of partying. Valium for breakfast with a croissant. Ten o’clock I have a glass of white wine. I’m known for getting hookers. Last night it was great fun. Go-go dancers. Three prostitutes. Went to bed at five A.M.” He wishes to recant something he told me earlier. “I didn’t mention buggering Moroccan boys,” he says. “I’m not going to do buggery on this one. We’re going to go with girls, do something different this year.”

Recently, Slevin was institutionalized after he blew £2.5 million in a week. He explains that he had suffered a “chemical imbalance in my brain” after giving up alcohol and drugs for three months.

Roy appears and we head over to the garage full of Gumball cars, among them 24 Lamborghinis, 68 Ferraris, 34 Porsches, and two Pagani Zondas, as well as Morgans, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Corvettes, a stretch limousine, a London taxi, old American muscle cars, and the cheapest entry, a $10,000 Citroën 2CV with a maximum speed of 60 m.p.h.

At an outdoor café near the hotel, four men are eating steaks and drinking pints. Attired in matching Panama hats, blazers, cravats, and linen trousers, they appear to be rich English gentlemen from a bygone era. They cheerfully announce that they’ve inherited money and do nothing but sail, play tennis, and party.

All are 30 years old and traveling together in a Bentley with the Union Jack painted on the top. Their behavior is absurdly arrogant and entitled. So what’s the mood like?, I ask. “We’re thinking about getting some sleep because we’re all absolutely knackered.”

“We did the really wise thing: went out last night and got very drunk.”

“God bless the empire.”

Do they have any fears? “Yeah, I don’t want to get arrested and slung in a Moroccan jail and buggered by Arabs, basically.”

They spot a Bentley at a stoplight on the corner and politely applaud as it passes by.

At seven P.M. the hotel ball-room is packed with 500 Gumballers drinking, smoking, and talking big. Fabian Basabe, an “It boy” of young Manhattan society, walks in and sees some new faces. “You know, there’s a small group of us original Gumballers,” he says. “We know what we’re doing and we’ll be in the lead.”

The fourth Gumball began at New York’s Plaza hotel, where the kick-off party drew Keanu Reeves and Cannonball Run alumnus Jackie Chan. Among the celebrities driving legs were Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Hefner, Rachel Hunter, and two Baldwin brothers. That year, Basabe drove 200 miles in the wrong direction and received 23 speeding tickets in six days. “I tend to get lost,” he admits.

“He was in serious trouble,” recalls Slevin. “He had to use an American lawyer to get out of trouble. His father wasn’t very happy. Fabian’s very rich. He owns sauna clubs, massage parlors, girls.”

“I do not,” Basabe says.

Max Cooper has been working the room with an easy, Zen-like smile. “It’s nice to see what I’ve tried to create in the first place is starting to be achieved,” he says, his blue eyes flashing behind blue-tinted shades. “This week I’m dealing with people that lead more glamorous, more powerful lifestyles than I do. You know, we’ve got bosses of banks and some royalty and whatever. They’re quite powerful individuals in their world, and for this week I control what they do.”

What’s the worst that could happen on this journey? “Accident,” he says. “Touch a bit of wood.”

The party moves to a nightclub across the street, where a tall blonde wearing a white tank top and a black miniskirt is grinding on the dance floor. She is from Atlanta and her name is KP Côté. After a man takes a photograph up her skirt, she tells me she’s not driving in the Gumball; she’s chartering planes to each destination so she can attend the parties.

She says she’s considering starting an organization called International Party Girls, which would shepherd single women to Gumball-like events. “Women sit around all the time and bitch about how there are no men,” she says. “I know where there’s fucking great, hot men having a good time. It’s like all these boys are in high school again and the testosterone is insane. They’re all so excited about how many times they’re gonna get arrested.”

Later that morning, teenage boys gather in the drizzling rain to gawk as Gumball cars pull up to the hotel. Adrien Brody is trying to remain incognito in black shades and a black Gumball jumpsuit. “The mood’s good,” he says. “I feel like I’m in a summer camp for crazy boys.” Brody, who grew up racing cars in Queens, says he’s fanatical but “sane.” “I want to be safe. The ideal scenario is everyone has a good time, but no one gets hurt.”

At four P.M., as the Gumballers stand in a large conference room impatiently awaiting their final instructions, Kim Schmitz, a six-foot-seven, 300-plus-pound German man, steps up to the lectern. He is a controversial figure here, part buffoon, part Dr. Evil, but a skilled and very fast driver. A highly competitive venture capitalist, as well as a former computer hacker and white-collar criminal, he intends to win the Gumball. He’s also made a bet with two female drivers: he’ll give them each half a million pounds if they beat him, but if he wins he gets a threesome.

He flicks at the mike with a fat paw. “Hello, everybody, listen for a second,” he says. “Be quiet for a second. Bad news . All the cars have been stolen . There are boos and groans from his audience. “Sit down!” someone cries out.

Finally, Cooper welcomes everyone, then mentions an incident of vandalism. “We’ve got the video footage of somebody defacing a painting in the hall last night,” he says. “So there will be a bill.” There’s an eruption of applause and catcalls. (The culprit turns out to have been an executive of a well-known financial institution, who later apologizes to the hotel and is let off.)

Cooper warns everyone not to overdo it in Morocco. He has made the trip several times in the past few months and things are “very, very different” there.

“As you know, it’s not a race,” he says. “The importance is that we all make it to Cannes. No crashes. Touch a bit of wood.”

One by one, the cars start popping out of the underground garage onto Avenue George V. Crowds lining the sidewalk go nuts. But inside, Alex Roy, now dressed as a Royal Canadian Mountie, is panicking. “Motherfucker, the car won’t start,” he says as the Extreme Sports channel films his struggle. “How could this happen? I took every precaution!”

Horns are blasting, engines revving, tires squealing, exhaust filling up the place. There goes Adrien Brody in his Porsche, a FUCK ME I’M FAMOUS sticker on the side.

“This is almost unbelievable, like a bad prank,” says Roy’s navigator, Amanda Kinsley, also in Mountie attire. She is a writer and works as a concierge at the Los Angeles Ritz-Carlton. Eventually, some blokes with the Gumball spirit appear with jumper cables and help Roy start the car. He promises to buy them drinks all night.

“I never break my word,” he says, behind the wheel now. He stops by the hotel to pick up a pair of outfits for him and Kinsley based on the 1983 science-fiction movie Tron . He has outfitted his car with Tron -style lights and plans to put the suit on at some point and blow everyone away. “It’s either going to work spectacularly or be a miserable failure,” he says, arriving at the Trocadero, by the Eiffel Tower.

Gina DeFranco, the publicist, sticks her face in the window to tell Roy he looks “so official” and “hot.” She spent some time this afternoon with Fabian Basabe. “This is a riot—Fabian is the total non-Gumballer,” she says. “He goes, ‘What I do is shop on the way. I’m not into speed.’ I gotta get a picture with the Eiffel Tower—it’s a Coca-Cola moment.”

“Karta!,” Roy yells.

“What’s up, man? Mounties! Excellent!” says Karta Healy, a Gumball legend. He cruises by on his BMW motorcycle, with India Waters, the daughter of Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, on the back.

Cooper is waving the Gumball flag and handing out route cards. Roy inches closer to the start line and gets on his P.A. system. “We’re going! God bless you!” he says to hundreds of people on either side of the procession. “ Vive la France, vive la Gumball trois mil!

Cackling like a maniac as we head south, Roy catches up with seven or eight cars that are going full speed. All of a sudden a cop appears alongside the BMW and demands that he take the blue police lights off the roof. A Gumball car disguised as an N.Y.P.D. cruiser passes us but is soon stopped.

In the countryside, the radar detector goes off. Roy figures the police are behind us, so he accelerates. Some Gumballers compete over who has the most expensive car or parties the hardest, but Roy’s goal is to avoid paying fines, through the use of electronic systems and maps. “In two miles, exit right,” says the female robot voice of his navigation system.

Roy falls into a convoy of Gumball cars on a curvy road. A Mercedes is tailgating him. It’s Fabian Basabe, who floors it, passes us, then overtakes some trucks and then a Ferrari heading up a hill—despite the civilian trucks coming in the opposite direction. “He’s about to hit the Ferrari!,” Roy screams. Next, Basabe makes an illegal pass at a traffic intersection. “Oh, my God!,” Roy says. “That was really fucking stupid.”

A Viper’s tailgating us now. The Ferrari’s trying to pass a truck. A Maserati carrying Jodie Kidd, the British supermodel, passes us and then tries to pass the Ferrari but pulls back just in time, barely missing an oncoming car. A truck nearly hits the Ferrari. I begin to panic, but Roy remains calm. “Nothing’s gonna happen,” he says.

At three A.M., we still haven’t reached the Pyrenees, and it’s cold. Roy’s focus now is on pulling over other Gumballers and capturing it on film. After a few aborted tries, he puts on some Belgian dance music. The first song has a haunting, decadent chorus: “I smell your sweat on my skin / Breakfast in Vegas on cocaine and gin.”

Roy spots a black Lamborghini up ahead and tells his navigator to get ready. “Kinsley, are you taping?”

“All right. And the P.A. system’s on?”

He speeds up. The Lambo slows down, then pulls over.

“Oh, we got him!,” Roy shouts. Then, into the microphone, he says, “Arrête la voiture à la droite! Arrête le moteur.”

The driver yells out that he doesn’t speak French. Roy tries English with a German accent: “Turn off zee engine of zee car. Place your hand brake. Zee driver, please step out of zee vehicle.”

The driver gets out. “Please bring your documents to zee car. You have been captured by Gumball 144, ah-ha-ha!”

The driver, a 32-year-old investor from Connecticut, isn’t happy.

“Fucking losers!” he says.

“What is your name?,” Roy asks in character.

“My name is blow me.”

“I’m sorry!”

“You’re not sorry, motherfucker!,” he says, smacking the front of the BMW hard and returning to his sports car, which will soon be going 205 m.p.h.

Roy erupts with his trademark hyena cackle. “Ah-ha-ha-ha! That was fucking historic! We’ve got to give that video to Gumball—they’ll die laughing!” He says he’ll buy the victim a drink at the next party.

At 11 A.M., Roy arrives at the first checkpoint, passing beneath a large black inflatable bat sign and into the parking lot of the Real Madrid soccer stadium. All the Gumballers think it’s time to stretch, eat some breakfast, then check into the five-star hotel and rest up for a big party. It was a brutal first leg. Drivers were going 200 m.p.h. in the rain and snow. There were a few crashes and numerous close calls.

Soon, however, everyone learns that Madrid is not today’s final destination; it’s Marbella, 350 miles away. It’s a shock, but Roy doesn’t moan. That’s the Gumball spirit!

On his way back through the bat sign, Roy turns on his siren and P.A. “Real Madrid is the best!” he says in a Spanish accent. “We love Madrid!” Young Spaniards laugh and give him the thumbs-up.

After a relatively smooth mountain passage, the slopes give way to palm trees and glimpses of the beach. Roy pulls up to the Hotel Puente Romano. “How ya doin’, buddy?” a rally staffer asks him. “Tired,” Roy mumbles. “Let’s not talk about it. Well, we have video of us pulling over a Lamborghini. When you see it you won’t believe it. It’s gonna change Gumball forever.”

By 10 p.m. a party is going strong in a sunken courtyard behind the hotel nightclub. As war stories are traded at three open bars, slowpokes stumble in, sapped of energy. Skateboarding god and Gumball veteran Tony Hawk made it in a Morgan Aero 8 doing about 130 m.p.h. and appears well rested. “This is like an eternal road trip,” he says. “It’s like a Grateful Dead tour compressed on 500 times adrenaline.”

Karta Healy, who made the 27-hour trip by motorcycle and almost wiped out in Biarritz, is exhausted. “I can gibber. I can’t talk, though,” he says. An heir to the Kettle potato-chip fortune, he’s on his sixth Gumball. Raised as a Sikh, he lives on a boat in London and recently completed a four-month motorcycle trip through Vietnam; he’s hardly slept since he left Tokyo, 48 hours earlier. How does he feel now? “I’d say it’s a combination of ... masochistic bliss. That’s it.”

“I fucked up my car last night,” Shane Slevin says. During a hailstorm, his Mini Cooper lost traction at 85 m.p.h., hit the left barrier, then crossed the road and hit the right one. “If there had been someone coming up behind us, we would have been fucked. We were lucky.”

Kevin Jones, one of the English gentlemen now known as the Bentley Boys, hasn’t slept in two days but feels O.K. “Absolute adrenaline. I feel like I’m on bloody drugs or something,” he says before confessing that he and his three pals are industrial consultants, doing Gumball “on a budget.” The safari attire is part of an act, in the spirit of Monty Python. “We’re really down to earth,” he says.

“Hey, motherfucker!” someone yells, handing him a tequila stuntman, which involves pouring a line of salt into your palm, snorting it, downing a shot of tequila, and squirting half a lemon in your eye. “I truly believe we’re gonna make some really good friends in Morocco,” he says, adjusting his safari hat. “We’re gonna get lost, we’re gonna end up in some goat farm meeting a farmer, and we’re gonna have tea with his family, and his tractor’s gonna pull our car out of the hole.”

With Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” blasting, KP Côté and a friend are pulling down their tops and lifting up their skirts. Hooters-style waitresses and actual prostitutes swarm around.

By 10:30 in the morning, all the cars and drivers are on a ferry crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. Chris Eubank, the 38-year-old former super-middleweight champion, is clowning around on his metal scooter, wrestling people, joking that he’s gay. A C-list celebrity in England, he’s known for his aristocratic attire (three-piece tweed suits, a monocle, riding boots) and appearances on reality shows. He’s a kind of pantomime villain, a person people love to hate, and someone who gets into trouble. He accidentally killed a man in 1992 after losing control of his Range Rover. “I got nothing to say, mate,” he says, declining an interview.

Someone hands Kim Schmitz a replica of an SS helmet. He happily puts it on and poses for pictures.

Roy and his navigator are wearing police uniforms. She’s going around handcuffing men and throwing them to the ground. “If anything bad’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen in the next 24 hours,” Roy correctly predicts as Tangier comes into view.

Not wanting to spend the whole trip in one car, I find my next driver, Richie Warren, a 39-year-old with long hair, a weathered face, and a gruff manner. He calls the Gumball “one of the last bastions of freedom left in the world.”

Warren spent his youth racing souped-up cars in London’s East End. Now he owns Fuel, an underground record label (“really twisted, dark dance music”) that also makes styling products for cars. “Fuel’s ethos is: Throw your fucking magazines away, throw your DVDs out the window, stop watching TV, and fucking get in a car,” he says. “Go and write your own filmscript and live your life your way. That’s the spirit of the Gumball, man. For seven days let’s live on the edge! Yeah, someone might get killed on this rally. Some silly bastard in one of those silly Ferraris could go over on the wrong side of the road and total a fucking wife and children in their little car. It could happen.”

He laughs. “I couldn’t give a flying fuck. I don’t care if we blow up. I don’t care if we get arrested. I don’t care if we get shot. In fact, it’s probably better if all of that stuff happened all at once.”

The ferry stops and the Gumballers scramble downstairs to find their cars. Drivers are revving, doing doughnuts. Groupies hauling bags are hitching rides like gypsies.

Warren laughs as we approach his black BMW 850, which I call the Deathmobile. “It looks like it’s come out of Mad Max’s bottom,” he says. Police lights are affixed to the front, and flamethrowers sprout from the back. “If my car blew out we’d all be dead,” he says. “Brand-new tires, but the wheels are no good. They’re starting to buckle. I’d like to say we’re gonna go 180, but I’m not going to do it in Morocco. I won’t endanger innocent people’s lives. I’ll only endanger your life. You’re not an innocent. You’re a journalist.”

Terrified, I get in the back next to a large, skinheaded, heavily tattooed man named Ben Rousseau, who’s an interior designer. Up front, Ramdane Touhami, a clothing designer, begins shooting fireworks out the Deathmobile’s sunroof.

Helicopters are overhead. Moroccan police and customs agents are swarming everywhere. An Arabic call to prayer starts booming out of a loudspeaker, in competition with the music pumping out of the Gumball cars, and local men kneel and pray. A woman in a Lamborghini pretends to sing along and flashes her breasts.

After 20 minutes, the cars begin to move behind a police escort provided by King Muhammad VI. On his motorcycle, Karta Healy tailgates the BMW, a few feet from the flames shooting out of its rear. Warren fiddles with the DVD player on the dashboard and turns on a porn video. “You need some distractions,” he explains. “Otherwise it would be too easy.”

Suddenly, the security cars pull off the road, whereupon the hungriest drivers open up, accelerating from 70 m.p.h. to 150 and above, and speed off into the desert. The scenery flies by: lush areas with trees, then flat plains; camels sleeping on the beach to the right, waves crashing behind them; Moroccans walking livestock inches from supercars whizzing by.

“Karta!,” Touhami yells out the window as Healy zips by, looking like Lawrence of Arabia. He squeezes between the car in front of us and a truck in the other lane and cruises ahead out of sight.

Policemen are stationed at every junction, and they’re waving at the Gumballers, encouraging everyone to go even faster. At the same time, they’re pulling over law-abiding locals to give them tickets or to just get them out of the way. One isn’t so lucky. A Lamborghini going fast comes across a very slow-moving car driven by a female local and knocks her off the road. She seems fine, but her car’s totaled. “Tonight they’re gonna have dead people,” Warren says. “Much worse at night.”

After pulling out of a tollbooth, he speeds up to 75 and waves at two smiling policemen. “Hello, hello!” he says, but he keeps looking at them too long, and now he’s heading straight into a concrete barrier. Fortunately, Touhami grabs the wheel and yanks it to the right.

The BMW skids back onto the motorway and Warren laughs. I realize I’m the only one not wearing a seat belt. “We would have been fine,” Warren says. “You would have been the martyr! Died in the call of duty!” Two hours later there’s heavy traffic on the outskirts of Casablanca. A Mercedes pulls up alongside us, and four well-dressed businessmen inside it turn and get a look at the porn on the screen. In an instant, their expressions change from shock to disgust to utter contempt.

The first checkpoint is lunch at Rick’s Café, a recently opened restaurant modeled on the fictional Rick’s in Casablanca . Hundreds of local men and boys watch with cool respect as the supercars pull up. Police with batons keep an eye on them.

I catch another ride, this time in a Bentley, driven cautiously by Mourad “Momo” Mazouz, a successful restaurateur in London and Paris. A well-connected man, he recently made calls to the authorities here to help smooth things over. As it gets dark, Mazouz is worried. He’s on his cell phone (with the violin shrieks from Psycho for a ringtone) warning rally staff that there could be accidents.

In Marrakech, exhausted Gumballers check into the Kempinski Hotel Mansour Eddahbi and have a late dinner. A jazz band plays in the ballroom, and there’s a cheesy but well-meant performance of The Thousand and One Nights . Alex Roy makes an entrance in his white Tron outfit and it’s a big hit.

Max Cooper makes some brief remarks. There’s no mention of the local car run off the road, but he does celebrate the “crazy” driving that day, and the place goes nuts. “We’ve got an even more amazing drive tomorrow,” he says. “We’re gonna be in the Atlas Mountains. Tomorrow night we have to catch a boat which takes us overnight back to Spain. If you miss the boat you’re gonna miss the Grand Prix [in Barcelona] on Sunday.”

I have a drink with Rob Bibow, who wrecked his Porsche 911 Carrera the first stormy night, in the Pyrenees. He fishtailed, did a couple of 360s, and slammed into a guardrail. “It was like being on a skating rink. I was not scared at all,” he says, adding that his friend went into shock. He bought her a plane ticket home and flew here by himself.

Now he’s looking to hitch a ride. He tells me about a ménage à trois he supposedly had before dinner. “It’s a great way to unwind after a good drive,” he says. “Most people live lives of quiet desperation. The Gumball is not about quiet desperation.”

A few hours later, Richie Warren is outside the hotel in his Deathmobile. It’s a glorious morning, balmy and cloudless. I ask what the theme for the day is. “Violence,” he says, casually shooting fireworks out of the sunroof. “We’re gonna hurt people and we got someone we’re gonna hurt and she’s in the back.” A groupie in the backseat squeals.

A parade drive through town commences, the police escort pulls over, and the carnage begins. Right outside Marrakech, a young man is sprawled in the middle of a two-lane highway. He’s holding on to his leg and moaning while children, men with donkeys, women in long caftans, and shepherds in ancient garb stop to see if he’s all right. Eventually the man gets up, brushes himself off, limps to his bicycle, and pushes it past a Gumball car parked on the shoulder. Its owner, the other party in the scrape, finishes up a chat with the authorities, then roars off to catch up with the other cars speeding to Fez.

I’m told that this is the most dangerous road in Morocco and that there are always accidents. I’m riding in a Mitsubishi Evo VIII driven by Yorgo Tloupas, the publisher of a British car magazine, Intersection , and a Gumball veteran. He tells me that he’d been afraid of “the obscenity” of all these millionaires in supercars in a Third World country. “And it actually seems to be all right,” he says. “There doesn’t seem to be too much animosity and resentment from the locals. They’re quite excited. And the Gumballers are behaving almost O.K.”

“Be careful,” says Frederike Helwig, a pretty German photographer riding shotgun. Tloupas wants to pass a diesel truck creeping along but slows to look at the side of the road. A car is in a ditch, with a door ripped off. “This is fucked up, do you know what I mean?” says Helwig.

We pass a Moroccan man who leans out his car window and yells something unfriendly. Local kids shout, “Gumbally, whooo!” One of them throws a little rock that hits Tloupas’s windshield. “A friend of Allah,” he says, laughing.

Up ahead a few miles, the driver of a Ford Escort Cosworth, a first-time Gumballer, is going 140 m.p.h. and taking some huge risks on the two-lane road. He gets antsy and decides to overtake two cars by speeding up the left shoulder. As it cuts right, the Cosworth loses traction and control, spins out in front of the two cars, and rolls over.

There’s a massive cloud of dust, like an explosion, and 30 cars stop. Everyone runs into the field to the smashed car. Thanks to the roll cage inside the car, no one is killed. The driver is on his knees, curled over in pain. He has a cut on his head. The co-pilot wasn’t wearing his seat belt and was thrown from the car. I’m told he has some fractured ribs and no feeling in his legs; soon an ambulance takes him away. Now the driver is walking around with a neck brace. “I’m not worried about the car—I lost a watch,” he says, sifting through the wreckage.

About an hour later, a Gumballer in a Ferrari is passing a vehicle on a blind hill at about 120 m.p.h. when a tractor materializes, heading straight for him. He has no choice but to go down the middle and try to squeeze through, but the $200,000 car can’t fit and slams into the tractor. The Ferrari ricochets into a hedge, mangled, its front right wheel torn off, its left side ripped apart. The tractor is not horribly damaged, but the owner isn’t happy.

When I arrive on the scene, a few minutes after the crash, the car’s driver, a stocky guy with a bandanna on his head, is talking to the Moroccan authorities. “I can’t believe I’m out of the Gumball!” he wails, somehow unharmed. His passenger is acting like she’s fine, but two hours later she’s in shock and in tears. Four hours after that , however, she’s back on the road in a Bentley going full speed, loving it.

The ferry to Spain leaves at nine P.M., and there are hundreds of miles to drive. Tloupas gets lost, finds his way, then floors it. He plays bedroom soul music loud, as if to counteract a curse. He’s worried about the longevity of the rally. “I always think that the day someone dies it’s going to stop, but you never know,” he says. Meaning a fatality could become part of Gumball legend? “Exactly,” says Helwig.

After a quick pit stop in Fez for lunch, everyone’s back on the road.

The red Dodge Viper driven by Jerry “Torquenstein” Reynolds is going about 140 m.p.h. when it tops a hill and encounters two dips in the road. The first dip catapults the car through the air. Only the rear wheels hit the second dip, which launches the back end upward.

The Viper flips over and rolls. It’s demolished, nearly cut in half. There’s not much left of the cockpit, and the trunk is gone. Pieces of the car are strewn all over. People are saying that the driver is dead and the passenger is being hospitalized.

Karta Healy is the next to take a fall. He had a long night in Marrakech, partying until seven a.m. At one point he had six friends on his motorbike as he cruised the town. He got off to a late start that morning, and by twilight realized he was going to miss the ferry. So he goes all out for an hour and a half, 120 m.p.h., and slides in with a convoy of Gumballers doing 60.

Then a car comes out of nowhere on the curving country road and rams straight into Healy’s left leg. He shoots into the air and flips three times, each time saying to himself, “This is my life.” He lands on his feet, falls backward, and slides on his butt and back. His elbow shatters, his finger explodes, bones pop out of his shin, an artery bursts, and at the last second his helmet touches the ground. “Oh, that’s it. My life is fucked,” he tells the Gumballers who rush to his side. The carefree spirit in his eyes is thoroughly crushed as he looks for his leg and can’t find it. It’s wrapped underneath him like a piece of cooked spaghetti. Luckily, a trained nurse, Amanda Cadman, is there, and she helps save his life. By the time he gets to a hospital on the Algerian border, he’s lost 15 pints of blood. He’s lost a finger and two toes. The doctors are ready with the saw for his leg, saying amputation’s all they can do.

Healy declines the offer. The nurse stays with him, making sure he gets the right blood and drugs. Max Cooper is there, too, on the phone with Healy’s father, trying to arrange a medevac plane to Paris. It doesn’t arrive for 36 hours. During that time, Healy mentally replays bad N.F.L. hits he’s seen over the years and asks for more morphine.

Two hours after the accident, in the cafeteria on board the ferry to Spain, Fabian Basabe is having dinner. He missed all the excitement of the past two days. When he arrived in Tangier, Basabe was missing one piece of paperwork for his rental car and soon found himself surrounded by dozens of customs and security officers at the starting line, after he refused to give up his passport.

“So, in a bit of a panic, when all else fails, call Mom,” he says. “She called somebody who came over, spent the day with us, tried to sort out the situation. He was the director of Hertz for Tangier.” Basabe stayed in town, drank lots of wine, hit some clubs. “There were maybe three women out in the streets and a lot of angry men and beggars,” he says.

The ferry sounds its horn and starts moving. Alex Roy is sitting in a chair, about to pass out. But first he looks at photos of the Dodge Viper crash on his laptop with Steve Compton, a young man who, although partially paralyzed from a car crash years ago, is able to drive in the Gumball.

The Bentley Boys are getting wildly drunk and playing “Chair Grand Prix,” racing chairs around the room, sliding on the floor wet with beer, bumping into one another, slamming into things. “It’s not possible, it’s not possible!” the bartender screams.

Richie Warren, of the Deathmobile, is deep in thought, drinking a Coke. The day before, he had been decrying the “nanny state” and championing “self-policing,” but now he has second thoughts. “My argument is disproved today because we don’t have fucking common sense,” he says. “The reason those rules are in place is because of those fucking wankers, the 10 percent who go out there and fucking do what they did today, with no regard for their own lives and anyone around them. Fuck me, I’ve changed my mind.”

Nevertheless, he’s feeling nostalgic about the day’s events. “I don’t even want to go back to fucking Europe,” he says. “Africa is where it’s at, man. It was amazing. It was like a fairy tale.”

At about 8:45 a.m., the ship docks in Algeciras, Spain, and starts spitting out cars. I pile in with the Bentley Boys. They’ve driven more than 2,000 miles so far and are eager to do another 500. They need to do it in under five hours if they’re going to make the next checkpoint, a Formula One Grand Prix race in Barcelona. They’re still buzzed from the night before and are loading up on sugar and caffeine.

They discuss the emotional roller coaster that was the day before. “First of all, best police force in the world without a doubt,” says Adrian Butler. “Every other country should send their police force to Morocco.”

Rich Harrison recalls some policemen clearing the road for them as they left Fez. “There was a crippled guy struggling to walk across the road and they were, like, getting him out of the way,” he says. “It was terrible—so that we could get by!”

They aren’t excited about returning to their everyday lives. “The thought of going back Monday morning, and the whole thing starts again,” Kevin Jones laments. “The alarm’s gonna go off, you’re gonna iron your shirt. We’ll go back into the office and nothing will have changed. Like my cup will still be where I left it.”

“What is that? Ohhhhhhhh!”

About 20 Gumball cars are on the side of the road, and Spanish police are pulling over others as soon as they pass through. The Bentley Boys try to get over to the left of the dragnet and shoot past, but it doesn’t work.

Allegedly, one driver gave a Spanish cop the finger, and others have been going faster than 200 m.p.h. In response, the police have decided to fine everyone 300 euros. By the end of the day, there will be at least five arrests and fines totaling more than 50,000 euros.

“If I lose my license, I’m not gonna be very happy,” Butler says as we get out.

Adrien Brody is raising his voice. “Who authorized this?” he asks a cop. “Your decision? I want your name. This is illegal. This is extortion! We’ve been in Spain already—this is illegal.”

Everyone is bonding in hatred of the Spanish police. Some retaliate by placing Gumball stickers on police cars—“so we can introduce them to the spirit of the Gumball,” says Harrison.

In Barcelona that night, there’s a big buffet dinner under a tent, a private party on a yacht, and assorted visits to strip clubs. But everyone’s exhausted and feeling a slight comedown. “Today I’m feeling a bit low,” says Richie Warren, on his way to the hotel’s chic nightclub. “My heart sank when we drove on that first bit of tarmac road. We’re back in the land of control.”

Max Cooper is still at the hospital with Karta Healy. The word is that he’s going to be O.K. and will be at the finale party in Cannes. But there are still rumors that he may lose his leg. Healy’s sometime girlfriend, Jennifer Holmes, a 23-year-old red-haired actress in a tight black dress, is at the party, worrying about him. “My boyfriend has been hit by a car and is in the hospital,” she says. “He’s, like, really badly hurt. I haven’t even talked to him yet. It’s been really emotional for me.”

The first night of the Gumball she had a talk with him. “I said, ‘Karta, why the fuck are you riding a motorcycle ? It’s pouring rain outside, it’s freezing—what are you doing?’” she recalls. “And he’s like, ‘You know, honestly, it’s because I was brought up with that mentality, that that fear of death is always right in front of me, so I constantly am trying to do things to try and push that.’” Holmes kissed him on the forehead before he took off. “I don’t think he should have been driving,” she says, tears welling. But soon she’s in better spirits.

“Gumball is literally my favorite time of year,” she says. “It’s like there’s this energy that kind of moves, and that’s why yesterday was so difficult . Because for the first time it was, like, sadness hit this spirit that was unstoppable.

“I think if you die, you die for a reason,” she continues. “And I think if you go on the Gumball and you die, it happens for more than—it happens for a reason . . . . Being on the Gumball makes me realize that all I want in life is security and freedom. Which is the weirdest balance. But you’re in this group, so you feel secure, but you’re flying every day and so you feel free. You know what I mean?” After talking some more, she gets up to dance.

By four a.m., 40 Gumballers have brought the complete contents of their mini-bars to the lobby. “French cops—booooo! they sing out. “Moroccan cops— yayyyyy ! French cops, boo . Spanish cops, booooooo ! Moroccan cops, yayyy !”

Things pick up even more the next day in Cannes, where the arriving Gumballers take over the InterContinental Carlton hotel and upstage even the film festival, which begins in two days. Adrien Brody gets there first, but he admittedly cheated by driving the night before to elude the Spanish police. The real winner (even though it’s a rally, not a race) is Kim Schmitz, wearing a black Armani-style suit tailored for his size and Vans tennis shoes.

Earlier in the day, Schmitz was clocked at 155 m.p.h. but opted not to stop for the cops. About 10 of them were waiting for him at a tollbooth, so he used the service road and blew past them. He got off the highway 30 miles before Cannes and took the beach road. “I decided to get here first and nothing would stop me,” he tells me. “I’m very glad that I can sit here tonight, enjoy the party, have the glory and the fame of being the fastest Gumballer again.”

He compares his fellow Gumballers to a band of warriors. “We go out for a battle together, and the battle is being six days on the road and trying to kick ass with all these supercars, which are kind of our weapons,” he says. “And some know how to shoot really well and some don’t, and at the end of the day everybody who arrives here in Cannes or any checkpoint deserves total respect.”

The consensus is that this has been the best and the worst Gumball. No one can believe that no one died. Jerry Reynolds, the driver of the Dodge Viper, and his co-pilot have miraculously survived and are posing with the back bumper of the demolished car. Reynolds, who hopes to win the Spirit trophy, is completely wrapped in bandages and in a lot of pain, with three gashes on his head, a burn on his shoulder, and a broken right arm. According to his wife, Kimberly, he can’t get up by himself and can’t brush his teeth. “For me it seems like a dream because I don’t remember any of it,” Reynolds says.

He’s wearing his Torquenstein outfit—mask, leather racing pants with spikes, and studded boots. “He’s been creamed, beamed, shattered,” Reynolds says of his alter ego. “This will probably be his last race. He’s ready to retire.”

At 10 p.m., Cooper gets onstage in the main ballroom and begins handing out bronze busts of Burt Reynolds wearing a fez to all the teams. Torquenstein has to settle for the Golden Safety Helmet trophy. The Spirit award goes to the two guys in the Citroën 2CV that maxed out at 60 m.p.h. Their victory is a clear message that fast, reckless driving is not the way to go. Alex Roy gets the Style trophy for his Tron production.

Techno music starts up. The Bentley Boys are playing a drinking game in the lobby. Someone’s pouring scotch down a long line of throats. People are kissing and high-fiving. I bond with an Irish dude who, after a misunderstanding in Morocco involving my tape recorder, had cocked his fist and threatened to send me sailing.

Jamie Fisher, the long-haired British guitarist for the band Mogul, is sitting down, looking ecstatic. “There’s not one drug in the world that could compare with this,” he says, “and I have had them all, believe me. Ecstasy, opium, cocaine, fucking MDMA powder, ketamine—everything. The adrenaline rush you get off ecstasy is nothing compared to driving at 195 m.p.h. chasing a Mercedes AMG and cops saying, ‘Go faster!’”

The actor Tim Roth, in town for the Cannes Film Festival, is sitting nearby, trying to understand what all the fuss is about. A few hours earlier, he’d walked into the lobby and bumped into Adrien Brody, who suggested that he do the Gumball next year, adding, “It’s insane. I’m going to bed.”

Roth pans the room. “I think they’re all insane. They should all be arrested,” he says. “Very bad people. And I think there’s a massive collusion with the police force to make this happen. A ton of bribery going on. And I’ve also seen very young Saudi kind of guys with very svelte women and I can’t quite understand it.”

Any chance he might take part in the 2005 Gumball? “I’ve got kids. I can’t do it,” he says. “No, I’m done.”

Soon, Roth is giving me a hard time for being a tabloid journalist. “What are you gonna do with your life? You’re fucking up,” he slurs. “Do you want to take a picture of Barbra Streisand giving me a blowjob?”

“You don’t get the Gumball yet,” I counter, stressing that he needs to take part next year. By six a.m., sometime after he has recited the troop-rallying soliloquy from Henry V , he’s reconsidered and we shake hands.

A couple of weeks later, I meet Alex Roy for cigarettes and coffee at his spacious bachelor pad in the East Village. He’s already preparing for another rally—the Bullrun, from Los Angeles to Miami, started by a former Gumballer, David Green. We look at photographs from the sixth Gumball on his computer and reminisce.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” he tells me. “It was a totally transcendent experience and I called Max Cooper to thank him. He did an amazing thing.”

Roy cues up the video of him pulling over the black Lamborghini. “This is some of the most golden, all-time-classic Gumball footage ever taken, historically, ever,” he says. “People are going crazy asking for it.”

We’re back in southern France. Roy is cackling away and so am I, then and now.

“ Arrête la voiture à la droite! ” he’s saying. “Turn off zee engine of zee car. Place your hand brake. Zee driver, please step out of zee vehicle. Please bring your documents to zee car. You have been captured by Gumball 144, ah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

“You will be in VANITY FAIR magazine! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”

__ George Gurley__ has written for Vanity Fair since 2000.

George Gurley

Cocktail hour.

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The Gumball 3000 Thrilled Japan’s Locals but It’s a Lousy Road Trip

When I first heard the Gumball 3000 Rally was coming to Japan this summer, I wasn’t entirely sure how well it’d go down here. Given the reputation of the Gumball over the past few years—let us not forget two civilians were killed in a traffic accident in Macedonia during one rally a decade ago —their antics don’t really mix well with the Japanese by-the-book attitude towards everything in life.

Still, I was invited to join the Gumball 3000 by Tokyo Supercars, who had also had a few customers on the rally. While everyone and their cars caught a plane from Bologna to Osaka, I had to drive down to the start line of the Japan leg in Osaka from Tokyo. That involved a six-hour drive. Long, but worth it to see how this sometimes infamous event would go down in Japan.

For the Gumball I didn’t get into a Porsche 911 Turbo, a Rolls-Royce Wraith, a Ferrari GTC4 Lusso or any car I would’ve preferred to have done 2,000 kilometers in.

Instead I got a track-ready Toyota GT86.

The plan for the Gumball in Japan was to kick things off in Osaka and finish in Tokyo after four days of exploring some of the sights Japan had to offer. For many people doing the rally it was their first time in Japan and Asia. Luckily Japan’s sweltering summer heat and humidity was in full force to give them a proper warm welcome.

It all started off in Osaka, where the local cars joining for the Japan leg had gathered at the starting point at the Conrad Hotel, while the cars that flew in from Europe were awaiting pick up from Kansai Airport.

After a driver’s meeting in the morning the Gumball had officially started as the local cars drove towards the Central Circuit in Hyogo Prefecture and the owners went to collect their cars from the airport.

But that was easier said than done. Not only was Kansai Airport in the complete opposite direction from Central Circuit, some of the cars didn’t make it out of Italy.

On top of that, some of the cars that did make it to Japan couldn’t be driven out of the airport due to insufficient paperwork, or simply because some of it hadn’t been filled out correctly. This caused some last minute scrambling for some of the participants to secure rentals or replacements cars—some even just had to jump in the back seats of other teams.

After what felt like an eternity some of the first cars started arriving at the Central Circuit where immediately some cars took to the track. It didn’t take long for things to go wrong though as someone immediately wrote off a rental Maserati Ghibli into a tire wall. This sort of set the mood of things to come.

It was then a motorway drive from the Central Circuit to the hotel stop in Kyoto. The cars would pass through the famous and very pretty Heian Shrine where local fans greeted them. It was a slightly unremarkable two-hour drive on a motorway, understandably to let some of the track drivers cool off before arriving to Kyoto, which made the motorway drive worth it.

I was genuinely surprised by the crowds waiting for the Gumballers at the Heian Shrine. For weeks leading up to the Gumball the Japanese automotive social media was full of exciting Gumball posts, and clearly word quickly got out.

In true Gumball fashion, these guys were keen to put on a show with revving, smoke grenades, and dancing out of sunroofs. Which definitely looked out of place with the backdrop of a 123-year-old shrine.

Leaving Kyoto later than planned, the rally headed off towards Nanao on the Western Coast of Japan. This was going to the first long driving stint, it’d be about five hours total driving with a small break at the very eclectic and strong Motorcar Museum of Japan in Komatsu.

This was a very strange museum. There was literally a mix of everything inside from old Citroën trucks to two Toyota 2000GTs, a collection of cars with pop-up headlights, and a JIOTT Caspita , a prototype supercar made by DOME which fell through due to the recession in the early ’90s.

The car here was the Mark 1 which had a detuned F1 flat-twelve with 577 horsepower. It’s a damn shame this thing never saw the light of day.

Outside the museum it seemed as though the entire town had come to greet the Gumball. Fans were lined up by the intersection outside the museum cheering the rally on, taking selfies with the YouTubers, and just appreciating seeing these foreign supercars visiting their small town.

If there’s one thing I took out of this entire experience, it was the absolutely friendly welcome the locals gave the brash and noisy rally wherever they went. For many people, in the big cities and small towns alike, it was a whole new experience seeing more than 120 supercars descending together. Some of the local owners also showed up and put together a small meet out by the museum to give the Gumballers a taste of the local car culture.

From there it was onwards to the coastal town of Nanao via a stunning coastal road. Even along here fans were lined up along the road and on service area stops waiting to get a glimpse of the Gumball driving past.

It’s rare for people in this part of Japan to see supercars at all, so it was great to see them out and excited by everything.

The end of the day two of the Japan leg was at the Kagaya Hotel in Nanao, considered one of the best hotels in the country. Overlooking the Yellow Sea, the entire fleet of the Gumball Rally shut down the small fishing village. Here they’d have a traditional Japanese dinner as they rest up for the last leg of the rally.

Day three was a drive from Nanao to finish grid at Tokyo with a lunch stop at the Fukashi Shrine. The route card given at the start of the day directed the Gumballers to take the longer and more boring motorway route.

However, since most people couldn’t even read the road signs the route cars weren’t much use. Instead, most people ended up using Google Maps which took them on a more direct and scenic route.

Luckily, most people went on this route. A 288 GTO from Dutton Garage zigzagging through traffic overtook us. We caught up with it at the toll gate but then lost it on the mountain roads, only to find it at a gas station later.

As we cleared the mountains we and got closer to Fukashi, we ended up driving straight through rice fields. With the rest of the rally behind us, I couldn’t help but wonder how amazing some of those cars would look driving through here.

At the lunch stop at Fukashi Shine, cars would come and go at different times. There must’ve bene a few hours between the first car to arrive and the last car to arrive. It wasn’t without its problems, though— a Hennessy Dodge Demon from Dubai ripped its supercharger belt to shred trying to do a burnout outside the shrine. It was down hill from there as the two motorway drive to Tokyo was the first time we hit traffic.

A last-minute addition and surprise to the route before Tokyo was supposed to be a stop at Daikoku Parking Area. However, these days Daikoku gets shut down early enough as it is due to the rowdy local meets. It was shut down even earlier than normal when word of the Gumball cars heading towards there got out. Some cars had made it in but the police we keen to kick everyone out.

By the end of the last day the cars had eventually reached the final stop at the Odaiba Port where all the cars were kept in preparation for their return to their home countries. Some cars went to their hotel instead for the free day on Sunday.

This was a chance for some of the Gumballers to meet up with the local car scene. Of course it wouldn’t be complete without an appearance by the Godfather of the crazy Lamborghinis, Japan’s Morohoshi-san.

Other than this there wasn’t much opportunity for them to stop at any major sights. Mt. Fuji wasn’t visible due to the clouds. There was also no time to go on any decent driving roads, except for the detour thanks to Google Maps. But there was nothing on the route plan.

Due to the delays and the schedule, they also didn’t have much time to see true local culture and sights, just lots of motorway driving. Only those who had set up to meet local owners and meets saw this side of Japan. For the rest, it was just driving on motorways to and from hotels.

I’m not entirely sure I’d be happy to pay the claimed five-figure entry fee to join the Gumball Rally. Sure, that includes shipping your car over from Europe to Japan but still, doing a road trip or rally on your own or with a group of friends would be just as a fun for much, much less.

The Gumball may have gone on for 20 years, but can’t see it lasting another 20. I do sort of see the appeal of the rally, where you have a mix of driving during the day and partying at night, if that’s the sort of thing you’re after. But if you just want to drive around experiencing the best Japan has to offer there are better ways to do it.

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The Ultimate Guide to Gumball 3000 in Toronto

Supercars and superstars take over the city on may 27 to 28 as the legendary car rally starts in toronto this year — kicking off with a free block party at yonge and dundas square..

Banner image of Gumball 3000 in Toronto on May 27-28 with Toronto skyline in background

What do supercars, world-famous DJs, and the most epic road trip of all time have in common? Gumball 3000, the two-decades-old celebration of the best thing on four wheels: a car-rally-meets-cross-continent adventure that, after three years on cinder blocks, is starting in Toronto for its much-anticipated comeback.    As an enthusiastic traveller with a home base in the city, it’s seriously exciting to see this kind of event kick off in Toronto right now. Dundas Square block parties are the quintessential sign that the city is open and ready to make the most of the summer. I can’t wait for the party to start — and trust me, it’s going to be MAJOR.   

A passenger leans out of a purple car

All about Gumball 3000

Entrepreneur, former model, and above all car enthusiast, Maximillion Cooper founded Gumball 3000 back in 1999 in an effort to combine his love of luxury supercars, travel, and having a very ( very ) good time. The British motorhead who once raced for Porsche and McLaren teams launched Gumball as a rally with celebrity drivers and professional partiers like model Kate Moss, skateboard legend Tony Hawk and musicians Jamiroquai, Kylie Minogue, and Deadmau5. 

Named after the 1976 comedy The Gumball Rally , the 4,800-km (3,000-mile) adventure is a drive all day, dance all night journey that hops across continents and always begins and ends in different world class cities around the globe. Think: London to Monaco, San Francisco to Beijing, and this year: Toronto to Miami. 

The route has passed through Toronto in the past, making stops in our city in 2010 and 2012, but 2022 will be the first year that The 6ix has a starring role as the place where engines are revved and the flag is dropped.   

Celebrity watch in Toronto 

As ever, Gumball 3000 will be rolling out miles of red carpet for the celebrity guests touching down in Toronto. This year’s star-spotting bingo card features iconic names from the incomparable David Hasselhoff (who will drop the official flag on May 28) to DJ Deadmau5 to MLB Hall of Fame star Ken Griffey Jr. — just to name a few. 

The entire crew will be hosted by Cooper himself and his wife, the actor and Grammy-winning rapper Eve (who will be driving a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster — nbd). The couple’s meet-cute happened at 2010’s Gumball 3000 event and the pair were married four years later. 

Maximillion Cooper and Eve leave London in silver car surrounded by crowds

A guide to Gumball-ing in Toronto

Here’s the inside track on how to take advantage of the Gumball 3000 events coming to Toronto this May.  

Stake out a spot at the supercar registration parade.

Set your alarm and get yourself to Bay Street before 10 a.m. on Friday, May 27 because that’s where the long line of more than 100 supercars will be on display before parading north to register for the rally. Yorkville near Bay and Bloor Streets is Gumball ground zero when it comes to spotting some of the hottest and rarest machines on four wheels. The cars will be pulling up all day long for registration in what’s known as the Gumball 3000 Grid — ”the world’s most expensive car park” — so grab the best spot you can find and keep your camera on hand for some prime photo ops.    

Cars lined up at Times Square

Get the party started with deadmau5 at Yonge-Dundas Square

From London’s famed Regent Street to New York’s iconic Times Square, Gumball 3000 has laid claim to the core of some of the world’s coolest cities. On Friday, May 27 at 6 p.m. Toronto’s own takeover event will pop off in Yonge-Dundas Square in the heart of the city, where DJs, musicians, and a diverse lineup of entertainers will hype up the crowd all night long, all culminating to the headliner: renowned Canadian EDM DJ Deadmau5!   

Dj Jillionaire and Afrojack playing Gumball 3000 in Milan

Party at the Official Launch Party at Rebel

For those of us with party energy to burn, the opening night Gumball 3000 Launch Party is going down at Toronto’s biggest nightlife complex, Rebel. Deadmau5 will also be headlining, plus a lineup of special guests. On May 27 from 10 p.m. on, Rebel’s dance floor will be the hottest spot in Toronto. Choose your footwear wisely.    

Head back to Yonge and Dundas for the main event

On the morning of Saturday, May 28, tires hit the pavement and the adventure officially begins with the Gumball 3000 Flag Drop at Yonge-Dundas Square hosted by Baywatch star David Hasselhoff. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., each driver will join the motorcade of participating cars on course to the trip’s first stop in Indianapolis. Be there to bid bon voyage to your favourite supercar and drivers. 

Supercar BAC Mono being driven down regent Street

To Toronto and beyond!

Following the send-off in Toronto, Gumball will rally its drivers in Indianapolis to coincide with the Indy 500 race. Monument Circle will host the cars from May 28 to May 29 before the driving adventure begins the next leg of the journey, heading south to Bardstown, Kentucky and on to Tennessee for a stop in Nashville on Broadway where Americans will be celebrating Memorial Day among the supercars and celeb drivers.

Then it’s south again to the Talladega Speedway in Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia where Gumball 3000 takes over Atlantic Station before departing for the rally’s ultimate destination, Florida, with a stop in Tampa and a multi-day party in Miami that will have to pull out all the stops to match Toronto’s unforgettable launch.   

Banner showing the 2022 Gumball 3000 route and sponsors

Follow along with your favourite racers

Head to the Gumball 3000 site to see the supercar grid live online, nominate your top car, and kick in a few bucks to their fundraising efforts.

The money raised will go to the non-profit Gumball 3000 Foundation which supports causes like Tony Hawk’s Skatepark Project and Laureus Sport for Good, which funds community youth development programs for underprivileged youth. The car that raises the most money for charity starts from the coveted pole position in Toronto. 

Keep up with the drivers by following along on the Gumball 3000 social media accounts on TikTok , Instagram , and Twitter . 

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Corrina allen-kiersons.

Corrina Allen-Kiersons is a Toronto-based travel, film, and pop culture writer who has covered destinations ranging from El Paso to Tokyo. She’d happily live in a hotel full-time if it wasn’t for her 90lb dog.

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The Story of The Gumball 3000: The World’s Most Lavish Rally

The Story of The Gumball 3000: The World’s Most Lavish Rally

If you own a supercar, have an abundance of money, and want to take part in one of the most epic adventures of all time, you should probably sign up for Gumball 3000 . The once underground rally has become a global phenomenon filled with parties, celebrities, and sightseeing at insane speeds (but don’t speed!). But how did this insanity get started? What is Gumball 3000? Here’s the absurd race’s tale:

The Movie That Started It All

gumball 3000 trip

The First Gumball 3000

gumball 3000 trip

The first Gumball 3000 took drivers from London to Rimini, Italy, and back. Each night of the trip would feature a stop with an epic dinner or party, the first of which was attended by the likes of Kate Moss, Guy Ritchie, and others. Some speculate that a bit of the immediate “cool” of the rally was due to the fact that Cooper tipped off the press that Naomi Campbell would be a participant. She was not.

Cooper decided not to include any sort of official timing or award a prize to avoid legal issues. This did not stop drivers over the next 15 years from crushing speed limits and leaving the rally open to criticism.

An Explosion in Popularity

The 2001 rally, which took participants from London to places like Copenhagen, Saint Petersburg. and Helsinki, marked a huge turning point in the rally’s history. Among the 106 cars that entered, was a 1989 Jaguar XJ6 piloted by Johnny Knoxville and some of the cast of Jackass . The guys—who would become regular participants—filmed some of their insanity for an MTV special which drew huge ratings. (Among all the stunts Knoxville pulled during the run of Jackass , he says that the closest he came to dying was during the Gumball Rally .) The coverage from Jackass , on top of regular BBC updates, ushered in the “Golden Age of Gumball.”

During the legendary Gumball 3000 of 2001, Cooper drove an original Shelby Cobra, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu drove the oldest car in Gumball history—a 1929 Blower Bentley—and Kim Dotcom finished first in his Mercedes Brabus SV12 Megacar.

The Legend: Alex Roy

With so many big names and repeat participants, there is one that has become a Gumball legend. Alex Roy is the king of Gumball. His Team Polizei 144 is famous for crafting renditions of police cars and pulling over other competitors to slow them up. He even sweet-talked a police officer into giving him an escort through busy Italian traffic during one of the rallies. Roy has collected over 200 traffic offenses in his illustrious run and even wrote a memoir of his antics that was published back in 2007.

Coming to America

gumball 3000 trip

The Golden Age of Gumball

Spurred on by the popularity of the 2001 and 2002 rallies, the Gumball 3000 became a global phenomenon for the next few years. There were a record numbers of entries from 2003-2006, highlighted by the 192 vehicles that took part in 2004. During these years, Cooper organized another trip through the United States along with a couple tours of Europe. Tony Hawk, Travis Barker, Adrien Brody, and Daryl Hannah were just a few of the celebrities who took part, and parties became more and more grand with performances from Snoop Dogg and others.

One of the highlights (or lowlights) during this time period happened in 2003 when a Koenigsegg CC85 received a speeding ticket in Texas for going 242 mph on a 75 mph stretch of roadway. It is believed to be the fastest speeding ticket of all time.

Tragedy in 2007

While Cooper and the folks behind Gumball made it a point to stress the event was not a race, participants clearly weren’t all out for a nice, leisurely drive. The rally in 2007, which was scheduled to go from London to Istanbul, got off to a bad start as two cars were confiscated by Dutch police, seven drivers—including rapper Xzibit—had their licenses revoked, and 70 cars were stopped by German officers. All of this would pale in comparison, however, to the tragedy that happened later during the rally.

On May 2, a TechArt Porsche 911 Turbo driven by Nick Morley and Matthew McConville hit a Volkswagen Golf killing the driver of the VW and his wife. In court, it was alleged that Morley was driving at speeds of around 100 mph, a claim the defense argued was inaccurate.

The rally continued for a short period of time after the accident, but was ultimately cancelled before the conclusion of the 2007 run.

The Rally Goes On

gumball 3000 trip

The Insane Cars That Followed

gumball 3000 trip

More and more celebrities signed up from 2008-2013 including David Guetta and Idris Elba who took his Aston Martin out for the rally days after tearing his achilles.

2014’s Epic Rides

gumball 3000 trip

To check out some of the action from this year’s Gumball , which just finished up, you can visit Gumball 3000 .

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Market Realist

Maximillion Cooper is the Genius Behind Pop-Culture Phenomenon Gumball 3000; Here's His Net Worth

An entrepreneur with his fingers in many pies, Maximillion Cooper, also known as Maximillion Fife Alexander Cooper, is a skateboarder, and race car driver who owns Gumball 3000, and boasts of a substantial net worth of $60 million . His firm sells apparel and organizes a celebrity motor rally since 1999. Initially, it used to be an underground rally, but Cooper has turned Gumball 3000 into a conglomerate of encompassing clothing lines and a registered charity.

What are Maximillion Cooper's sources of income?

Established in 1999 by Maximillion Fife Alexander Cooper, the Gumball 3000 is not just a race but a pop culture phenomenon that blends fashion, cars, music, and entertainment. The event, covering a 3,000-mile route on public roads, often includes London and attracts 120 celebrity drivers like Lewis Hamilton, Usher, and Deadmau5, is Cooper's main source of income and his claim to fame. Apart from companies established based on its popularity, movies have also been made with the rally as a backdrop.

Originally an informal road trip among friends, the Gumball 3000 evolved into an exclusive gathering for the affluent, requiring participants to bring their vehicles and pay an entry fee of around $8,700. The name "Gumball 3000" is said to stem from 1930s races where the prize was a gumball machine.

Sincce the inaugural London-to-Rimini journey, marked by lavish nightly parties attended by celebrities, to subsequent events crisscrossing Europe and featuring on MTV's "Jackass," the Gumball 3000 has seen both fame and challenges. Tragedy struck in 2007, leading to the event's cancellation, but it resumed in 2008, traveling from San Francisco to the Beijing Olympics.

Over the years, the Gumball 3000 has continued to attract celebrities, even as entrance fees skyrocketed to over $100,000 per driver. The 2020 edition was postponed due to COVID-19.


Instances of contestants being pulled over for speeding, facing car confiscations, and even having their licenses suspended have tainted the event's history. The most tragic episode unfolded in 2007 when a Gumball 3000 participant's high-speed antics led to the deaths of two innocent bystanders in the Republic of Macedonia.

In response to these challenges, Maximillion and the event organizers have asserted that the Gumball 3000 is not a conventional race. They underscore its essence as a glorified road trip, discouraging contestants from exceeding speed limits under any circumstances.


A large part of the Gumball 3000's proceeds also go to charity and Cooper has established the Gumball 3000 Foundation, a charity organization that helps underprivileged youth across the United Kingdom. The organization focuses mostly on educational and environmental projects. The Gumball 3000 Foundation also partners with other groups, such as Tony Hawk's Stand Up for Skateparks. In 2014, Cooper's charity donated $100,000 to Hawk's organization. In 2014, the Gumball 3000 Foundation funded a trip for the When You Wish Upon A Star charity. This organization sends terminally ill children to Lapland just before Christmas.

Social media reach

Personal life.

Born on July 13, 1974, in England, Maximillion Fife Alexander Cooper embarked on his journey with an initial foray into the world of fashion design. Maximillion Cooper's first marriage was to Julie Brangstrup in 2003, and they had four children before their 2010 divorce. In the same year, rapper Eve, sponsored by Puma for the Gumball 3000, entered Cooper's life. They started dating, and three years later, Cooper proposed on social media. The couple exchanged vows in 2014 in Ibiza and announced that they were expecting their first child.

How did Maximillion Cooper make his money?

He makes the majority of his money from the apparel business, which has the same name as the signature rally he runs.

Do Eve and Maximillion have a child?

Eve and her husband Maximillion Cooper welcomed Baby Wilde Wolf in February 2022.

From Mila Kunis to Tom Hiddleston, 10 Celebs Who Are Fluent in Many Languages

Maximillion Cooper is the Genius Behind Pop-Culture Phenomenon Gumball 3000; Here's His Net Worth



gumball 3000 trip


“Gumball is about challenging tradition and taking a non conventional approach to exploring and pushing cultural and creative boundaries.”

The son of an artist and musician, Cooper was raised in rural Worcestershire, excelling in sport and art throughout his teenage years; representing national level teams in both football and table tennis, and is avid supporter of Chelsea FC.   Cooper also embraced street culture through skateboarding, freestyle BMX and graffiti from an early age – interests that have continued to influence his life and career.   In the early 90s he was represented by the prestigious Elite model agency and appeared in advertising campaigns and in runway shows for menswear brands such as Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren.

Cooper then studied a Fashion Design BA (Hons) degree at the prestigious Central St. Martins College of Art in London with peers including Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, and became a regular on the London party scene.   This was immediately followed by a Law and Film Studies BA (Hons) degree at the University of Sussex, whilst pursuing his ambition to become a racing driver.   By the late 90s, after several successful years racing for privateer McLaren and Porsche teams, Cooper's vision was to create an aspirational lifestyle brand that combined automobiles, art and popular culture.   In May 1999, he invited his influential friends to join him on a 'road-trip' adventure across Europe, hosting glamorous parties attended by Kate Moss, Jamiroquai, Kylie Minogue, Tony Hawk and Johnny Knoxville - this first 'Gumball 3000' tour immediately gained notoriety gracing the pages of GQ, Esquire and Vanity Fair, as one of "Cool Britannia's" must do events.

Over the following decade the event evolved into a popular brand and global entertainment company attracting licensing collaborations and official partnerships from blue chip corporations including Nike, Intel, Sony Playstation, Hasbro, MTV, T-Mobile, Nissan, Google and Fiat.   The Gumball 3000 Group was recently valued at over $300 million (cit. Forbes) and includes entertainment, apparel, music and licensing divisions, retailing products in over 3000 retail stores. Cooper remains hands on overseeing the Gumball 3000 Group as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and leads by his creative direction and audacious approach to business.   Over the past decade Cooper has acted as guest Creative Director for multiple brands within the automotive and fashion sectors, including Puma, adidas Originals, the Morgan Motor Company and Fiat Abarth; and in 2014 was voted into the 'Top 50 Most Influential People in the Automotive Industry' by US lifestyle publication Complex magazine.

In 2013 Cooper launched The Gumball 3000 Foundation, a registered charity, established to utilise the wealth and influence of the Gumball alumni to support youth based projects in low income areas, giving underprivileged youth opportunities in life – through investment into recreation, education and infrastructure. Through the Foundation, Cooper is currently working closely with Laureus Sport for Good, the Skatepark Project (formerly the Tony Hawk Foundation), Project Wreckless, The Prince's Trust, Football Beyond Borders and Fair Shot Cafe. Cooper is regularly invited as a VIP Guest Speaker to a number of prestigious events in the automotive space and beyond, most recently by Caffeine & Machine as a special guest for their 'I Love You, Man' evening, and by Global Citizen Forum at their Annual Summit in Ras Al Khaimah. Cooper is married to US actress and Grammy winning rapper Eve, and has 4 children from a previous relationship.  

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Gumball 3000: drive all day, party all night.

Gumball 3000: Drive All Day, Party All Night

Next Chapter >

The Gumball 3000 is one of those events that you hear about as a car enthusiast, but something only few can actually take part in given its prohibitively expensive entry fee. For 2017, a spot in the rally was set at around US$45,500 per car, and that’s before all the other associated costs that come with the event.

Over the years there have been many similarly-themed road rallies popping up all over the world, but none are as big or as crazy as the Gumball 3000. It’s why I jumped at the opportunity to take part in this year’s event on the back of an invite from our friends at  Motorhead magazine in Japan.


Primarily, I was there to ride with  Motorhead and document the event for an upcoming issue of the magazine (which is out now, by the way), but the editor-in-chief, Ko-hey Takada, was happy for me to share the behind the scenes story here too.


The event itself has really evolved over the years. Originally, the Gumball 3000 was more focused on the cars and the culture surrounding them, but now it’s like a giant – and very expensive – rolling party.


It seems to me that there are three types of people that compete in this event. The first group are the pure speed junkies who have little to no regard for authority and drive foot to the floor at triple-digit speeds. They almost always arrive to the next location first, but are the smallest group among the 150 entrants.


Then there are those who love driving fast, but not at the expense of getting themselves in trouble. They’ll occasionally push the limits on public roads, but in a more responsible manner. This is the largest group of teams, mostly consisting of supercars and exotics with a few GT cars thrown in for good measure.


The third group is in the Gumball 3000 for the party; leaving late and arriving late is their style. Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Range Rovers and other luxury cars and SUVs make up the bulk of the vehicles in this group.


The  Motorhead  team fit somewhere in between the first and second groups; we were in it to drive fast, but we also wanted to stay out of trouble – which we did.


Also along for the ride was my buddy from the Formula Drift paddock, Loren Haleston. He was shooting video for Motorhead while I was shooting stills.


The rally itself started in Riga, Latvia and would eventually end up in Mykonos. Greece. Due to  Goodwood Festival of Speed  commitments, I joined the Gumball party at its first stop in Warsaw, Poland.


When I arrived at the stadium where the cars were going to regroup, I was unsure if I was at the right place. There were so many people around I thought there was some sort of festival going on.


It turned out that everyone was just there to see the cars showing up – nothing else. There was no side car show and no other event of any kind. Amazing.


I quickly realized that these people were genuinely into the cars, and that seeing so many exotic machines in one place at one time was something special. The Polish in general love  motorsports, so I guess it was only natural that there would be a lot of excitement for the Gumball 3000 passing through Warsaw.


There were so many people trying to get a closer look at the procession of cars that it was tough for me to even see what was coming down the pipeline next.


Some of the locals even brought out their own cars for an impromptu and unofficial car show. This super-clean RWB Porsche was a standout.


The atmosphere was truly festival-like. I could never imagine anything like this in the US.


Early the next morning, I met up with Ko-hey and we all hit the road.


You might be wondering why  Motorhead wanted to do the Gumball 3000 this year, and the answer is simple. For 2018, the event starts in London, but finishes up in Tokyo.


If the rumors are anything to go by, the entry fee will be well over US$100,000, but that price includes flights for the cars on three chartered Russian cargo planes from Europe to Japan.


For this event, Motorhead  lined up a bunch of sponsors including Bingo Sports, the goal being to get firsthand experience of the Gumball and gather assets in order to promote it in 2018. The organizers are hoping that a few Japanese teams will sign up for the renowned road rally.


This is why they airfreighted a brand new Lexus LC500 to Europe just for this rally. With the outlay for the car and over US$30,000 just to fly it one way to Europe – plus the aforementioned entry fee and other expenses – my head almost exploded just thinking about how much this mission of sorts would have cost in total. Lucky for me, I got to tag along and experience it all for myself without having to spend a penny.


Every day we had a lunch stop in between our start and end cities, and on day two that happened in Krakow.


It’s interesting, because at some stops the cars were absolutely mobbed, but at others there was hardly anyone to greet the teams. It all depended on where we stopped and how populated the area was.


I know what you guys are thinking, why not save on the US$45,500 entry fee and just follow the rally in your own car at no cost? Well, to be honest, there is nothing stopping anyone doing this.


In fact, there were a few cars that tagged along, and one group that didn’t even try to hide the fact – they just labeled their vehicles  Gumball 3000 Fan Cars with Gumball-style stickers.


As I mentioned, the entry fee is just the beginning because it only covers one hotel room and two dinners each night. A van or SUV full of support crew need accommodation and meals as well.


Then there are the bar and club tabs, and at the end of the whole thing is a charity auction, which this year raised around half a million pounds from all the teams. One competitor who wanted to party the event away even brought along his butler to do the driving.


Wherever we went, there seemed to be some sort of police presence. I’m guessing that as soon as the group passed a patrol car, the police would radio ahead to their buddies letting them know that some fast cars were on their way.


Lucky for us, our Lexus flew under the radar compared to some of the more flashy cars.


Driving from Warsaw, Poland to Budapest, Hungary via parts of Czechia and Slovakia, we clocked up around 900km on this day. The scenery was absolutely stunning too, with endless sunflower fields in all directions for a lot of the way.


When we arrived in Budapest, the Gumball frenzy was in full effect. Once again, I could not believe how many people gathered just to watch some fancy cars roll into town.


Among the normal participants – if you can call them that – were a few celebrities, singer/rapper/songwriter CeeLo Green being one of them.


The sights and sounds of multiple cars revving, backfiring and spitting flames was crazy enough, but the party was just getting started.


People in the crowd were essentially jumping over the top of each other in an effort to score free swag from the teams. This boy was begging his heart out asking for t-shirt, but with none left he had to settle for the next best thing from the Gumball participant: an open bag of potato chips, which he proceeded to happily eat. True story.


If there was one show-stopper, it was this real-deal Lancia 037 Group B rally car.


Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most reliable machine; after a few miles it would break down and need to be towed.


It was the least reliable car on the rally this year, but my favorite by far. Who brings a historic rally weapon to the Gumball 3000? This guy.


It was pretty awesome that Mr. Gumball 3000 himself, Maximillion Cooper, and his lovely wife and talented rapper/actress Eve also drove the rally. Their ride was a sick looking Twisted Defender.


The cars rested for the night in Budapest, but the very next morning we’d be waking up early to do it all over again.


Although we were travelling in luxury with the LC500, the car had one drawback – its Japanese market 190km/h (115mph) speed limiter.


While that speed can’t be considered slow by any means, when you’re on the Gumball 3000 and trying to keep up with McLarens, a Porsche 918 and a bunch of Lamborghinis all running at 150mph+, it’s a real disadvantage.


I guess you could call it Gumball cruise control; we had the Lexus pinned at 190km/h for longer than I’d like, and other competitors passed us like we were standing still.


Still, it was such a blast trying to keep up with other Gumballers. With long stretches of highway and 950km to the next overnight stop, no one was taking it easy.


This meant some interesting stretches during rest stops, especially if you’d been stuffed inside the tiny cabin of an exotic car.


Refueling also happened on a frequent basis, but it was always fun to catch up with other teams while filling up.


In a way, I do envy the teams that brought full-on luxury vehicles. Because if you’re going to do a massive road trip, you might as well do it in a massive Bentley.


For those unfortunate enough to break down during the touring stages, there was a support vehicle also known as the Gumball Rescue Team tagging along. We witnessed them helping out competitors on numerous occasions, so it’s definitely a great idea.


There was a massive line at the border as we crossed into Croatia from Hungary.


It was also the perfect time for a bit of a break.


Generally speaking, we never had any trouble at any of the many border crossings that we had to go through. Some weren’t as lucky though, and had to go through a secondary screening.


Of all the countries we passed through, Croatia had the best driving roads, not to mention countless tunnels to hit at full speed (190km/h).


Ko-hey and I were both amazed by how incredibly smooth the roads were. It’s like they were built for speed.


On top of that, there were almost no other cars on the road besides those in the rally.


While I like to complain about our meager top speed in the LC500, it does not compare to this Mercedes-Benz lorry which was limited to only 90km/h. Amazingly, this thing made it to every single city in time for dinner, but of course with no unscheduled stops in between.


This was pretty much the sight we got used to while driving a Gumball 3000 vehicle into the lunch stops.


This time it was Rimac Automobile.


Rimac build electric supercars, one of which Richard Hammond recently had an  unfortunate experience in .


It was cool to check out Croatia’s only auto manufacturer and also to see how clean of an operation they are running. As we walked through the assembly area a few cars were being put together.


In what felt like no time at all we were hitting the road again; this time I’d drive while Ko-hey caught up on some much needed shut-eye.


Back on the highway, I can only describe this moment like the one time I drove on the Autobahn in Germany, topping the Toyota 86 at a healthy 210km/h.


I had a lot of fun battling this 991 GT3; the roads really were smooth as glass and the company wasn’t too bad either.


Just look at this impressive infrastructure. I am serious when I say there was barely anyone else on the road.


Driving a right-hand drive vehicle on the right side of the road had its challenges, because I’m just not used to it. I often found myself drifting over to the left side of the lane, just like when I drove Magnus Walker’s right-hand drive 930.


Seeing this made me wonder what other hidden gem highways there are in the world that I don’t know about…


Everywhere we stopped people wanted to take photos of our car, and no matter where we stopped we would run into other Gumballers on the side of the road, like Afrojack here.


Before we crossed over in Dubrovnik we had to drive through a little part of Bosnia that separates the north and south parts of Croatia.


I made Ko-hey stop just for one picture, just so I could say that I’d stepped foot in Bosnia.


At border crossings we would often pull up next to other Gumballers and share war stories. Often, these involved bribing the cops and top speeds.


In terms of behind-the-wheel time and driving roads, this day was definitely the best. I was reluctant to hand the keys back over to Ko-hey as the LC500 is a spectacular grand tourer.


And just like that we arrived at the pearly white gates of Dubrovnik.


Of all the cities we stopped at on the Gumball 3000 route, this was easily the most beautiful.


The locals as well as tourists welcomed us with open arms.


It was such a nice contrast of modern exotics and supercars with an old school backdrop.


Partially due to our heavy right feet, Ko-hey and I made it with time to spare and the view of a perfect sunset.


That night we were treated to a seaside fireworks display. Even though I was far away from home for the 4th of July (America’s Independence Day), the festivities were fitting.


We were even treated to an impromptu concert by the one and only CeeLo Green. There were many four letter words being sung on this particular night.


It really made me take a step back for a moment and reflect on what I was witnessing. This is a side of car culture that I never thought I would have a chance to experience. What has this man Maximillion Cooper created?


I thought about it the next day as we left for Tirana, the capital city of Albania.


For me, the worst part of a vacation is not going home, it’s always the planning stage. It takes forever to figure out where to stay what to do, because if you go with the flow you can easily have a bad experience. Gumball is pretty much the ultimate party vacation for car enthusiasts who have the means, and planning is not required.


Some of the people I met on the rally just rented exotic cars for the duration of the trip, and many of them didn’t even drive them back.


The point is, you can just enjoy a week of non-stop action morning till night, eat at the best restaurants, drive the best roads and party like royalty.


And if you want to drive the entire thing in a real Miami-Dade County police car while dressed up as a policeman, you can do just that.


Our lunch stop was in beautiful Montenegro; a dip in the infinity pool and some well deserved espresso was exactly what we needed. Minus the swimming part, I just watched everyone else get chocolate wasted.


From this point forward we lost all of the fan cars that were just following the rally – we were now crossing into the country of Albania.


What happened next is pretty much the reason why you pay for such an exclusive experience.


I never thought I would visit the country of Albania, let alone drive the Gumball 3000 rally through it.


The locals didn’t even really know what to think when they saw an army of supercars blasting down their highways.


The kicker? The Gumball 3000 hired 2000 Albanian police officers to block off the roads through the entire country . This meant full-speed passes at any given moment, and the police won’t even bat an eye – something that I never even thought was possible.


The roads were blocked off on the way to Mother Teresa Square, and the very next morning the roads were all blocked off for us intersection by intersection all the way to Greece. Just unbelievable.


On top of this, the reception in Tirana was unlike that of any other city we went to. There were people lined up, sometimes 10 rows deep, just to catch a glimpse of a burnout.


I just couldn’t believe it. They were so happy to see the cars it was out of control.


Heck, people even started to climb on the buildings surrounding the area.


My mind was already blown from how many people showed up in Warsaw, but this was just another level of commitment.


At the very last stop I asked many of the teams which was their favorite city, and all of them said Tirana.


The music was blaring and the fans stayed out till the very last car arrived.


The variety of vehicles that showed up to this year’s rally was super cool. Because how often does a GT3 RS and a Indy 500 pace car Camaro drive in the same event?


That night I decided not to be lame and I went out to the club where the biggest Gumball 3000 party was happening.


Of course, DJ Afrojack performed; my eardrums hurt just thinking about the night.


The next morning we would leave for Athens, Greece for our last big-city stop before catching a ferry to Mykonos.


So what was it like to drive empty roads with the police blocking every single intersection? It was kind of freaky in a way.


You really could go as fast as you wanted in the Albanian countryside, but of course there was the occasional dirt road, so it was probably good that no one brought an Enzo Ferrari or a McLaren P1.


Open roads and police escorts sound too good to be true, but all good things eventually come to an end.


At the Albania and Greece border, the border patrol agents immediately took a liking to our caravan and welcomed us.


There are so many different types of people who spend their vacation days on the Gumball 3000, and of course there are those on permanent vacation. This LP710 was broken down at a petrol station, and I heard a rumor that the owner bought a new car that day just to finish the rally. When you’ve come so far, you might as well see it through to the end.


I met some really awesome people on this adventure, from gentleman racing drivers, to car collectors and wealthy entrepreneurs.


Yes, there were some unsavory characters on the rally too, but luckily they were few and far between.


Our night in Athens was pretty relaxed as there was just one more driving leg to go before the goal, but trouble was already stirring outside of our hotel.


Smoke coming out of a Ferrari is never a good sign.


The last leg was only a few traffic-packed miles through downtown Athens to the port.


There awaited a ferry large enough for all the Gumball cars.


One by one the cars were loaded in for the five-hour journey to Mykonos Island.


I’d been on something similar before when I covered Deuce Days for Hotrod magazine, but instead of a boat full of exotic cars it was a boat filled to the brim with ’32 Fords.


This was the first and last time I saw the 918 on the trip.


Before we knew it, it was time to unload. With everyone revving their cars’ engines in elation that they’d actually made it all the way, I nearly passed out from the exhaust fumes.


Interestingly, I think out of all the cars driving in the event there were only five with manual transmissions, this ACR Viper being one of them.


Team Motorhead breathed a collective sigh of relief as the LC500 rolled off the ferry.


We proceeded to take a parade lap around the tiny island, sharing the roads with ATVs and the occasional scooter.


Many of the tourists and the locals had absolutely no idea what was going on, but it was all in good fun.


The 2017 Gumball 3000 was such an interesting event from beginning to end, with so many new experiences that I never thought I would ever get to be a part of. We made it without a hitch and I was very glad to be a part of the Motorhead team for this one.


I want to thank Ko-hey for having me on board, and Katsu Takahashi who was the video producer for being a great camera car precision driver.


Loren and I ended up staying two nights in Mykonos and this was the view outside of our room. I would say that I could get used to this, but honestly this life of wealth and showboating is not for me. I love cars and car culture, and while partying is fun once in a while, my idea of a vacation is sitting at home working on my cars. I guess that makes me pretty boring.

But all joking aside, if I were given the opportunity to go again, would I? Well, let’s just say I am curious to see how they are going to fly 150 cars from Europe to Japan for the 20th anniversary event next year…

Larry Chen Instagram:  larry_chen_foto [email protected]


Yes, that is Lindsay Lohan, and yes she was partying with us, and yes I just published a photo of Lilo hugging Eve on Speedhunters.

Comments are closed.


gumball 3000 trip

Last pic: totally worth it lol Also, who remembers when the WildBoyz did the Gumball?? Great episode. Gumball, so many speeding tickets lol.

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Haha, I figured someone would like it.

Can we get a feature on Rimac? In spirit of all the EV sport-car talk we've had here recently. The operation does look very clean.

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What an event. Great photos! Seriously unbelievable. What a eurotrip haha Also, dat ass


My finger hurts from scrolling.

gumball 3000 trip

Get new fingers.

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This is one of the greatest posts I've seen on this site holy shit.

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That was an AWESOME report. Thanks for sharing this!!!

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larry, i was like a blank when i saw there were no update on speedhunters blogs. but after finishing reading and enjoying your creation and arts of photo. you just keep making my day.

gumball 3000 trip

Awesome Article! Maybe Speedhunters should have their own car for 2018 & should do a contest for 1 reader to win a ride along for the Gumball next year????????

gumball 3000 trip

This has always been a bucket list / dream trips I'd love to partake in. I will have to watch, and even to make arrangements to be in a location for the ending would be a pretty awesome time.

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Only 5 cars with manual? That's pretty lame. What were the other 4?

gumball 3000 trip

Imagine you're a millionaire and enter Gumball for the first time, what car would you take? I would go with a Lambo Countach LP400

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I would have to go with an Aventador SV

gumball 3000 trip

I would take the Bisimoto Honda Odyssey. Minivanning ftw

gumball 3000 trip

Yep. Definitely something that isn't your typical rich posers car. Rusty Slammington for example.

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"Drive all day, party all night", so, uh, when is the sleep?

gumball 3000 trip

You'll sleep it out after death lol

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The rich don't sleep. Or possibly can't because of what the partied with the night before?

This is a wicked post seems it's come a long way since the days when Mischief covered it, and it seemed crazy then. You're living the dream. Also I 100% missed when Eve married Max. And Lindsay Lohan just seems random as hell.

gumball 3000 trip

I'm always down to take one for the team, haha.

Thanks for behind the scenes Larry Epic Journey of fun ... love the stories with each pic ...

gumball 3000 trip

Great article Larry! Nothing boring about being a down to earth guy, nobody wants to see you with diamond rings drinking Moët & Chandon all day hahahaha... stay like that!

Gold Teeth.

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I've loved you work for years and this is one of the best features I've seen on SH. But I'm most excited that you used the proper name for the car, Enzo Ferrari. My biggest automotive pet peeve haha. Anyway, killer work as always Larry.

Thanks for the support!

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Brilliant article again man

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Great post and great picures as always. What's up with the weird japanese license plate on the Lexus ? Never seen these before.

It's an Osaka plate.

Thanks for the reply. Then I'm guessing the letters replace the Kanji making it easier driving (and getting tickets..) outside of Japan. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

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As a kid I watched Gumball 3000 on television, thinking it was absolute madness. With Alex Roy is his M5 passing cops left and right, bribing them with either alcohol, food or money. And people tearing up highways it looked like something out of this world. Now however, just like you said it's mostly about showboating. When the Gumball visited Amsterdam some years ago, Dutch people went mad. Blocking off streets just to take a picture of the RS6 DTM. Weirdo's. Great story however, nice to see something different on Speedhunters to shake things up. Good to show everyone what the Gumball is today. It's a big event in the automotive world. Just not reserved for everyone. Not if the average participant just decides to buy a new car to finish the rally. Still insanity I guess.

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Let's not forget that the 2007 Gumball resulted in the death of two innocent people on a public road, as a direct result of the Gumball rally. Speeding on public roads is appalling at best and I loathe that speedhunters glorifies this event.

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So the action of one persons driving 10 years ago is reason to tarnish the whole event with the same brush along with the 1000+ people that have taken part since? Sounds very simple minded

gumball 3000 trip

Fantastic pictures as ever Larry. However - and I hate to post negative comments against your (or for that matter anybodies) hard work - I am a little dismayed to see two motoring publications I have so much respect for supporting this event. Back in the early 2000's I was a real fan of the Gumball: most of the participants seemed like genuine petrolheads who had deep enough pockets to fund these epic road trips, but as time went by the rich petrolheads seemed to be outnumbered by rich posers. Both the circumstances and manner with which the 2007 incident in Macedonia was handled left a very sour taste and I lost a lot of respect for Maximillion Cooper when he elected to run the event again the following year. No questions there are some incredible cars participating in the event, but I'd personally much rather read about a ratty enthusiasts car then a supercar being driven by someones butler. (Sorry again if this seems like a critique of you, I am a huge fan of your work and my issue is entirely with the event!)

gumball 3000 trip

I'm glad you had more of an opinion on this event and were willing to show it, even if it was very diplomatically deployed. I have known about this event for years but I think I would have the same feelings about it as you if I went. What a journey though!

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Was Lindsay Lohan driving Herbie? #lovebugs

Russian cargo planes are surely pretty huge. You never know what you can fit inside.


Presentation mode, download wallpaper, order print.

gumball 3000 trip

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The Gumball 3000: What It Is and Why You Should Care

STOCKHOLM - MAY 23, 2015: Fast sports-cars before the start of the public event Gumball 3000, May 23, 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden

Imagine going on a 3000 mile road trip…only it’s actually a race. But it’s not on a track but rather on public roads. For years, the Gumball 3000, an annual British 3,000-mile (4,800 km) international motor rally which takes place on public roads has been the living embodiment of movies like Cannonball Run and Rat Race even as it combines cars, music, fashion and entertainment.

Conceived by British entrepreneur Maxamilion Cooper in 1999, Gumball 3000 is more than just a race, it’s an Entertainment Group. It was borne of Cooper’s vision for the ultimate aspirational lifestyle brand. In May if 1999, Cooper got the whole endeavor started when he invited his most influential friends to join him on a driving adventure across Europe all the while hosting glamorous parties at pit stops along the way. These friends included Kate Moss, Jamiroquai, Kylie Minogue and Johnny Knoxville – and thus immediately gained attention from the media and even making if’s way to the covers of lifestyle magazines like GQ , Esquire and Vanity Fair . The called it one of “Cool Britannia’s” must do events.

Over the decade to now, the annual Gumball 3000 tour has evolved into a week -long festival for live music concerts and action sports but it still keeps the spectacular car shows and rally as it’s backbone. Thanks to the hosting in capital cities, the event is able to reach live crowds of over one million people, on top of being televised and online live reaching upwards of over 100 million households in 60 countries.

STOCKHOLM - MAY 23, 2015: Colorful sports-cars before the start of the public event Gumball 3000, May 23, 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden

What’s interesting about this event is that proceeds go to charity, there’s no prize beyond bragging rights and ANYONE can register to enter granted they have an upper class car. Participants will race alongside celebrity attendees like Idris Elba, Snoop Dogg, EVE, Travis Barker, Xzibit, Adrien Brody, Tyson Beckford, David Guetta, deadmau5, Daryl Hannah, Steve Aoki, Tony Hawk and amongst regulars like those who rode in the original 1999 race. You’ll even meet actual Royalty and business figureheads including the founders of Facebook and Pay Pal.

Starting on May 2 nd and ending on May 6 th , the 2016 Gumball Rally took supercar owners and enthusiasts on an amazing journey from Dublin to Bucharest. Gumball and the rival event “One Lap of America” rallies owe their inspiration not just from the movies but the famous Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, a flat-out cross-country race staged by Car & Driver editor Brock Yates in the 1970s as a form of protest against the imposition of a national 55 mph speed limit. Gumball owes to the tradition of the need for speed and  it gets bigger and crazier every year. This year was known for showcasing some truly ambitious cars.

COPENHAGEN - MAY 18: Residents and car enthusiasts had a glimpse of the Gumball 3000 luxury sports cars a day before the race on the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark on May 18, 2013.

While the cars of One Lap highlight maximum performance, Gumball 3000 revels in vehicles at their most hedonistic. The cars of Gumball are about showmanship exhibitionism. Cooper knows anyone can buy or borrow an off-the-shelf exotic car, so he encourages entrants have to up the ante:

Here are five of our favorites at the 2016 Gumball 3000 Tour:

Team galag’s batmobile.

As if they were taking a note in time for the new Batman movie in theaters, one of this year’s coolest Gumball novelties was the Saudi team’s a Lamborghini V10-powered Batmobile-inspired creation that is combines the Dark Knight’s penchant for military vehicle and high speed racing.

An anonymous driver entered a Formula One-style race car that he (or she) built themselves. None of us in the office could figure out how it would be legal to drive this on the road even when we looked up European laws. Perhaps that is why the driver decided to stay anonymous. They nonetheless made it to the finish line.

Briggs Automotive Company

The Briggs Automotive Company adorned one of their Mono track cars in Gumball 3000-themed gold plating for the occasion They were so proud that they told the press that we can expect the car to be shown off at auto shows in select cities, and as far as we know, no single driver took it the whole distance for Gumball.

DJ Afrojack’s Aventador SV

The only celebrity-owned car on our list deserves its spot. Have you ever wondered who buys all those limited edition Lamborghini and Ferrari supercars shown at auto shows? To be fair, we haven’t, (we don’t cover those L). Cars only for the rich and famous, it takes a man like DJ Afrojack to both  understand what makes the Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 SV a truly magnificent ride, be able to afford it and trick it out in time for the Gumball 3000. Read more about it here.

A Gumpert Apollo unfortunately skidded off a rain-slicked Scottish highway over the weekend. Thank goodness both the driver and passenger were both uninjured. Which is, however, unfortunate for the car itself which is among one of the rarest in existence: a 7-speed V8 supercar from German automaker Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH. Say that 10 times fast.

Alex PerroneAlex Perrone

Alex has worked in the automotive service industry for over 20 years. After graduating from one of the country’s top technical schools, he worked as a technician achieving a Master Technician certification. He also has experience as a service advisor and service manager. Read more about Alex.

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Here’s A Firsthand Look At The Glitz And Spectacle And Bonkers Cars Of The Gumball 3000

  • By Thomas Hundal
  • June 9, 2022

Gumball 3000 Topshot 2

Toronto isn’t exactly a modest city when it comes to its supercars. If someone were to ask me, “Hey, did you see that XJ220 this weekend,” I’d have to ask, “Which one?” Still, it’s a bit of a special occasion when the Gumball 3000 comes to town.

Gumball 3000 Aston Martin Tracking Shot

So what makes the Gumball 3000 so special? Well, it’s a spectacle. Sure, anyone can take a group road trip, but this Robin Leach-like fascination with the lifestyles of the rich and famous elevates Gumball to a global icon. Whether or not icons deserve reverence is a different story, although not one I’m hugely interested in debating today. The other big thing that makes the Gumball 3000 special is history. While the One Lap of America trackday road trip has been going on longer, it’s a bit nerdy. It’s car people road tripping from track to track, great for gearheads like me who are in quite deep, but a bit boring for the masses. Supercar owners road-tripping from party-to-party though? That was a pretty new concept when the first Gumball 3000 happened in 1999.

Vidframe Min Top

Another factor contributing to the Gumball 3000’s success is media. While the rally always had star power with Kate Moss and Guy Ritchie attending the very first event, the crew of Jackass tagging along for the 2001 event cemented the Gumball 3000’s place in pop culture history. In a way, Jackass was a perfect fit for the Gumball 3000 – celebrities behaving badly.

Oh come on, you didn’t believe for a second that famous people would stick to the speed limit while road-tripping fast cars, did you? Look, if I had enough wealth to basically equal freedom from consequence, I’d travel pretty quickly so long as conditions were safe. One of the highest speeding tickets of all time was allegedly handed out on the 2003 Gumball 3000 to a Koenigsegg CC8S driver accused of traveling 242 mph in a 75 mph zone. This story’s a bit of an urban legend with little in the way of conclusive evidence, but urban legends build reputation. And hey, 242 in a 75 definitely fits with the Gumball 3000’s reputation.

Ram TRX at the Gumball 3000

Of course, the Gumball 3000 of today is a far cry from the Gumball 3000 of the past. Looking at previous entries, some of the cars are truly astounding. A Brabus SV12 Megacar, a Jaguar XJ220S, that aforementioned Koenigsegg CC8S, multiple Bugatti Veyrons, a replica of the Batmobile, a flamethrower-equipped BMW 8-Series, the list goes on and on.

Img 2519

By contrast, this year’s field was fairly cookie-cutter. A Ram TRX and a particularly-interesting Beetle [ Editor’s Note: a little tricky to tell with only this shot, but I think that’s a ’68 or ’69 – JT] certainly stood out, but most entrants brought modern Lamborghinis, Ferrari 812 grand-tourers, and current 992-generation Porsche 911s. It’s safe to say that these days, things are a bit different for the Gumball 3000.

Gumball 3000 GT3

Some say it all went downhill after a 2007 crash between a participating TechArt-modified Porsche 911 Turbo and a Volkswagen Golf in which the occupants of the Golf were killed. Details of the crash are disputed, but it’s generally agreed upon that the driver of the Golf was turning left onto a main road when the vehicle was struck by the Porsche. According to The Guardian , Nicholas Morley, the driver of the Porsche, received a suspended sentence, while Marketing Week reported that Gumball 3000 sponsor Adidas pulled support for the rally.

Gumball 3000 DBS

Admittedly, it would be hard to have the same sort of event as the first Gumball 3000 today. Social media’s a snitch, the roads are more crowded, penalties for speeding are stiffer, and infrastructure is in a more advanced state of decay. Today, the Gumball 3000 is still a road trip with lavish parties at overnight destinations, except it’s now largely a charity fun run of sorts. This year’s event raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities including Laureus Sport for Good, Project Wreckless, and Tony Hawk’s The Skatepark Project. All fairly reasonable causes if you ask me.

Pog's Ferrari 812 ripping a donut at the Gumball 3000

Mind you, Gumball hasn’t exactly banished the antics of old, they’re just fewer and farther between. While nearly every car entering the Gumball grid either took it easy or took care not to chirp the tires, a group led by YouTube personality Pog had a slightly different approach. Was ripping a donut on Bay Street safe? In this case, probably. It happened in a fenced-off area upstream of most fans, car control was actually nice and tight, and the fenced-off area was free of other entrants’ vehicles. Was ripping a donut on Bay Street frowned upon? Ooh yes, Pog’s group got an immediate “tut-tut” from Gumball 3000 officials.

Img 2611

The crowds though, haven’t moved on. They leaned into the spectacle, crowding gates and throwing hands, phones, and cameras in the air for revving Lamborghinis and Pog’s crew’s donut, fervently salivating all their admiration for these fast, mad, expensive machines. To rip a line from Marie Kondo, the spectacle of the Gumball 3000 sparked joy. Almost as astonishing as the energy of the crowd was its diversity – Toronto may be one of the most multicultural cities in the world, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Img 2652

Normally, you’d expect this sort of thing to be a bit of an upper-middle-class frat boy cliché, where white dudes from the suburbs take the train downtown to see the sort of cars that little their Instagram feeds. Not so. The crowd was electrically young, with a massive array of ethnicities represented. Men and women alike were there to push their way towards the barriers, yearning for a glimpse of a Lamborghini Aventador SV-J or a McLaren 765LT. And keep in mind, this was all on a Friday, where students would’ve had to shrug off school and adults would’ve potentially had to either take time off or trade shifts.

Hood of a Huracan with Ram TRX in background

While the Gumball 3000 may not be the wild band of roving outlaws it once was, it still has the power to captivate the next generation of automotive enthusiasm. There may not be many members of Generation Z showing up to old-school cruise nights, but that definitely doesn’t mean that car culture is dying. It’s just taking on a different form. The Gumball 3000 may be a controversial event, but it’s a solid window into one facet of the next generation of car culture. Long may it run.

Lead photo credit: Thomas Hundal

  • Car Culture , Gumball 3000 , Supercars

Thomas Hundal

SYKO Simmons

Caught a glimpse of a few as they streak down I75 from ATL to Miami and I live right near it. Came over for gas and decided to hang out and watch a few blast by. Years past I had dreams of taking my Continental on it, but it’s way to rich for my blood.


Nice introductory coverage, but you left out the best car in attendance this year in my opinion: the red Lamborghini with Ferrari badging!

Scott Mcdaniel

Please don’t waste good ones and zeroes with coverage of this crap. This way leads to promoting wankers like Alex Roy. Let’s work towards the Autopia we all deserve rather than the dystopia the rich pricks want for us all.

Brad Hartman

For what it’s worth my 11 year old and I had a pretty awesome Saturday afternoon parked at the enRoute on the 401 watching all the cars go by (he loves McLarens) and even got to talk to a couple of the drivers, who were super cool about talking to a kid hanging out in a parking lot. To me, this is what it’s all about – if you’re going to show off, show off to people who are still dreaming they might get to be you some day, not to the rest of the super rich on a fancy lawn somewhere.


I was born in Toronto and grew up in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and was never aware of the level of wealth here. Once I got into the car scene and started going to events I started to see it. It’s hidden, drive an hour north of the city and that’s where all the NHL players and other truly wealthy people live. You see McLarens and Ferraris all over the place up there. Sure you’ll see exotics downtown but the real wealth has paid to be invisible. You see F40’s and XJ220’s show up to some events but you don’t see them just driving around.

As for the Gumball, this isn’t car enthusiasm. It’s just flaunting wealth and breaking rules normal people can’t afford to break. If it wasn’t about flaunting the cars wouldn’t be covered in stickers. They want you to see the stupid things they do, and I’m disappointed that they’re now in Canada. My life revolved around the GTA car scene for a solid 5 years ending in 2018 (I’ve since branched out). If you want to feature Canadian car culture this isn’t how to do it. Go check out the multiple race tracks we have (Mosport, Cayuga, Shannonville, Grand Bend) and all the clubs that operate there. Or the multiple autocross clubs that are actually giving real people an opening into car culture (PITL, TLMC, OMSC, etc.) Or the endless number of meets and cars and coffee events where people both poor and rich come together to share their passion, where you’ll see a Citroen 2CV parked next to a 2nd gen Ford GT, in matching colours, and getting equal attention. But Gumball? That’s on the level of the street racing that happens all over the city at night.

Kevin Lesac

I’ve never really understood what the gumball rally was other than something that seemed unattainable for the average person, therefore I lost interest. Now I see its just an ego stroking version of a rich person “takeover” Ill pass.

Civic Boy

The more I grow up the less I car about these events, especially as you realise most of the people taking part of it or a$$ hole$.

There is so many car event that should deserve more coverage, more interesting, fun, roots, I think of Gumbalkan, Babelraid, 205 Africa Raid, 205 Trophée, Maroc Challenge, Budapest Bamako, Baja XL, Mongol Rallye, Rallye Muenchen Barcelona etc

One I’d love to do is the Trophée des Andes or Trophée Paris-Pékin, but you need to be retired to take part as it is over 30days.


I’ve started to feel similar. I’ve become more and more downtrodden. What used to be a cool thing to me, now appears to be a bunch of rich dickwads having fun, while we get to look on. They make it seem like we, the common people, are part of the fun, but really we are just on the outside looking in. Look at all their glitz and glamor.

What makes the rich richer is the poor wanted to be like the rich. Real rich guy nevers pays for his bottle of Dom Perignon at St Tropez, the less rich than him will spend the 1500 euros to buy it to show off that he is rich, to the less rich that will buy a table 500 euros to show off etc etc.

Also I’m from Monaco, and I don’t like much guys like Pog they do not respect anything, one year he turned the Top Marques salon into a shit show.

Vetatur Fumare

I already love anything with “205” in it.

Then you’ll enjoy 205 hitting sand dunes :


Those 205’s were great cars. My first company car was a 1988 205 XRD and for a diesel a rather fast car, in the first year I got it over 180 km/h. Got it to 140.000 km’s in I believe 20 months, without any problems besides the usual tyres/tires, exhaust, brakes etc. I took it to our German office and drove to Belgium and France, until the day someone who was probably still under the influence of some kind of religious gathering they had just left, decided to do a “I’m turning left goodluck everybody else” from the right lane to the third and most left lane.

My next car was an Alfa 33 Sportwagon followed by an 133 (no diesels), so I am sure you will understand how much I missed that 205!

Hans the German

Who cares about Gumball.


The problem with Gumball and all it’s copycats (of which there are thousands now) is the gallingly offensive and overtly hostile gatekeeping. You want to join so-and-so’s “we’re gonna break speed limits, uh, for charity” small-time rally? That’ll be proof of a $1500 donation, and then you get put into the pool where they pick the cars and people they like or think will do good on Instagram. I’ve had people ask me to join these things (my 997.2 is photogenic and capable of over 190MPH,) and I’ve turned them down. Because it’s always “donate some ridiculous sum to charity” or “pay some obscene entry fee to get on the list with no guarantees.”

Know what it costs to get into the Gumball 3000? Well for starters, you have to be famous to begin with. Don’t know how to drive, don’t give a shit about cars, they don’t care – spend a buttload of cash and rent a Ferrari. So how much do you think Gumball 3000 costs? $10,000? $25,000? Try north of $100,000. Non-refundable wire-transfer only. May be turned away if you or your car isn’t cool enough. Fuck that, fuck the organizers, and fuck any praise for that shit. They deserve nothing but scorn. They aren’t getting people ‘interested in cars’ in the least. They’re just a bunch of ultra-wealthy assholes showing off so one of them can get richer through a highly questionable ‘charity.’

MrJWW put together a YouTube video on how much it cost him to run Gumball 3000 in 2018. Over $80,000 just for the entry as a member ($160k as a new entrant,) a $150k+ car minimum, and taking more than a week off of work. But hey, a bunch of ridiculously wealthy people who find each other ‘super interesting’ get to party and enjoy all kinds of ‘networking’ opportunities.


Well said and couldn’t agree more.


I currently owe about $87,000 on my house. My 3rd car is a 1994 Pickup. You own a 997.2 and you’re complaining? Do you live in CT? Wanna trade for a parade ride?

It’s called “working your ass off, saving for years, and buying when the market was low.” I don’t own a house, and probably never will at this point, so you can fuck right off, asshole.

You missed the point. The point is that it’s all relative. While I agree on your general take of the Gumball, what you missed is that you rant about the obscene costs, you justify your own niceties because of “hard work” and somehow magically timing the market, while ignoring that even those things alone put you in a rarified position. And then you get all pissy when someone calls you out on it. I’d imagine some Gumballers would tell you the same thing; they worked their ass off, saved for years, and timed the market just right, to get to their position.

JC 06Z33

It’s really, really hard to apply blanket distain for these sorts of rich car folks. Sure, many probably are trust fund douchecanoes or bitcoin bros. But some probably did earn things fair and square.

A previous acquaintance of mine made his money reselling overstocked product. He was in his mid 30’s when I knew him, and he had a GT-R that was very Gumball worthy due to the Alpha work AMS had done on it. He also had a souped up Z06, and a Ferarri of some sort that I don’t recall. Anyway, he was just a normal guy besides the money. He joined our lowly car club at random chain restaurants and joked around on our Facebook group with us like anyone else. He even gave me a ride in his GT-R to pick up kitty litter to clean up an oil spill I made in a friend’s garage during a build meet. He was just another guy besides the fact that he had hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cars.

I’m sure there are more like him out there, maybe even who do Gumball for fun. I’m not sure this particular event is worth covering here, and what Rootwyrm says is probably accurate for 95% of entrants, but to throw them all in that pot is probably not right.


“They want me to join because my car would look great on Instagram but I refuse on principle.”

I just want to take a moment to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to mingle amongst us plebs. It’s good to know that you’re principled enough to not donate to charity because the other participants *may* not have worked as hard as you did for your fancy sports car.


I hear Gumball and all I can think is:

“Russian Police. Stern…but fair.”

“Why do I have two freakin’ knees?!”


Of all the dash-across-America movies my favorite was The Gumball Rally, simply because of the phrase, “What’sa behind me ees not important!”

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