By on May 29, 2011

If there ever was an antithesis to the 24 hours of LeMons, then it’s the annual Gumball 3000 rally, 3000 miles across Europe, from London to Istanbul, in the most outrageous and disgracefully expensive cars you can think of.

It started last Thursday, at the Covent Garden in London, with most of the over 100 participants still hung over from the pre-race-party at the Playboy Club. As you read this, the race has arrived in Monte Carlo, leaving untold amounts of speeding tickets in its wake. Speaking of tickets (and tons of pictures and videos) …

The price of entry alone is $41,000 (or the price of 80 LeMons cars.) That pays for two people. Your entourage of crew chiefs, grease monkeys and buxom blondes will be extra.

The first Gumball 3000 took place in April 1999, when British creator Maximillion Cooper invited 50 of his friends to take part in a 3000 mile party around Europe.

In 2007, the Rally was intercepted by Dutch police and a phalanx of 21 police cars. Seven drivers lost their licenses for speeding 50 km/h over the legal limit. Two cars were confiscated.

The next day, German police escorted all vehicles to the Frankfurt Hahn airport, from where huge Antonov (no relation) transports were supposed to fly the cars to Turkey. The participants were flown to Istanbul, but the Antonov planes were diverted to Athens. Ever since the Dutch intercept, drivers were known to take anti-measures.

Police in other countries were more helpful, on occasion.

This year, the rally goes from London to Istanbul, via Paris, Barcelona, Monaco, Venice, and Belgrade.

The Gumball has always been a race of the stars, attracting (not necessarily driving-) talent such as Daryl Hannah, David Hasselhoff, Kate Moss, Snoop Dog, and the rapper Xzibit.

“For your information, we are getting information” that the 2010 event traveled between London and New York via Toronto.

Last year’s rally was won by Saudi Team Pavo in a 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG and a 2009 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti.

We asked our Canadian overlords for the travel money to cover the race. For some odd reason, the check did not arrive in time. Instead, follow the Gumball on Twitter!


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