Gumball 3000

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Before the start of the Gumball 3000 in Pall Mall, London, 30 April 2007

The Gumball 3000 is an annual British 3,000-mile (4,800 km) international motor rally which takes place on public roads, it is commonly referred to as a international celebrity motor rally but most of the participants are not celebrities.[citation needed] It was started in 1999 by Maximillion Cooper, with the idea to combine cars, music, fashion and entertainment.[1] The event takes its name from the 1976 film The Gumball Rally.

The Gumball 3000 has received criticism. Two non-participant pensioners died in an accident in Macedonia in 2007 after their car was hit by a Gumball rally driver.[2][3] Participants have been stopped for speeding, have had their driving licences taken by police, and had their cars confiscated.[4]



The event commenced with a party at the Bluebird club in London, attended by celebrities such as Kate Moss, Guy Ritchie and Dannii Minogue before Sir Terence Conran dropped the checkered flag the following day.[5] The inaugural rally featured 50 of Maximillion Cooper’s friends travelling from London to Rimini, Italy and back.[6] The route passed through Paris, stopping at Chateau d’Esclimont, and continued to the Le Mans race circuit.[7] The group then travelled to the Ferrari Factory in Maranello, Ambras Castle in Austria, and the Hockenheim Grand Prix Circuit in Germany before their return to London to cross the finish line on Park Lane. Cars that took place in this first rally included a British Police car borrowed from the British television show The Bill, driven by Alexandra Aitken, a Lotus Esprit and a Lamborghini Diablo.


The second year of the Gumball 3000 rally began at Marble Arch in London before heading for Stansted Airport to fly over to Spain.[7][8] The rally then continued through Bilbao, Cannes, Milan, Hotel Bühlerhöhe Castle,[9] Nürburgring GP circuit and Hamburg, before heading back to the starting city, London.[10] High-profile entrants included Goldie and Cass Lewis in an Aston Martin V8, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Bruce Reynolds.[7][10]


The third Gumball 3000 saw the convoy travel from London through Berlin, Malbork, Vilnius, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen before returning to England for the finale.[11] The 106 cars[12] that participated in the rally were filmed by MTV for a Jackass Special. The episode earned MTV their highest ratings for the year.[13][14] This 2001 Gumball 3000 rally was also filmed by Ruby Wax for coverage on the BBC.[15] Entrants who featured in the 2001 rally included Formula One World Champion Damon Hill in a Lamborghini and comedian Vic Reeves who drove a Mercedes-AMG, Kim Dotcom, Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, and Chris Pontius.[16]


In 2002, the Gumball 3000 made the first coast-to-coast journey across America, from New York City to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.[17][18] Checkpoints along the route included a stop at the White House in Washington, D.C., Memphis, Tennessee for lunch in Elvis Presley’s mansion, Graceland, then Texas, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, with the final stop at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California.[19] Among the participants were fashion designer Donna Karan, models Jodie Kidd and Amy Wesson, and actor Matthew McConaughey.[20][21] The rally, and events which took place, were filmed in a video documentary called Mischief 3000.


The fifth Annual Gumball 3000 rally began in San Francisco on the west coast of America and finished Miami, Florida.[22] The rally passed through Reno, Nevada, Las Vegas & Tucson, Arizona, White Sands, New Mexico, San Antonio, Texas, and New Orleans.[22] Featured participants included Alex Roy (winning the Spirit Trophy), Jackass’s Ryan Dunn, Travis Pastrana and professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, who drove in a Dodge Viper.[23]


2004 saw the Gumball rally commence at the Eiffel Tower in Paris proceed through Biarritz, Madrid, Marbella, across the Mediterranean Sea to Marrakesh, Morocco, before returning to Barcelona for the Grand Prix and finishing in Cannes for the film festival.[24][25] Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody drove a Porsche 911 in the rally alongside Ruben Fleischer, who directed 6 Days in May, documenting the adventures of the 2004 rally.[26]


Jenson Button waved the flag in 2005, starting the London to Monte Carlo Gumball 3000 rally.[27] Entrants drove through Brussels, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Sicily, Rome and Florence, before crossing the finishing line in Monte Carlo.[27] Models Caprice Bourret and Jodie Kidd were included in the list of celebrities that drove in the 2005 Gumball 3000 rally.[27][28]


The 2006 starting flag was dropped in London where Gumballers then travelled onto Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade, before jumping on a plane in Serbia to Thailand.[29] The route then continued through Phuket and Bangkok, before flying to Salt Lake City [30] and finishing with a party at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.[31] Travis Barker was present on the 2006 rally, as well as Martine McCutcheon, who drove a pink Range Rover in an all-female team.[32]

Gumball 3000 Films also produced a movie following five other entrants: skateboarders Tony Hawk, Bam Margera and Mike Vallely, BMX rider Mike Escamilla and Margera's Jackass and Viva La Bam co-star Ryan Dunn.


The 2007 rally ended early as the result a traffic accident in Macedonia on 2 May 2007, which resulted in the death of two people. The accident involved the TechArt Porsche 997 Turbo of rally participants Nicholas Morley and Matthew McConville. and the Volkswagen Golf of Vladimir and Margarita Chepunjoski. The accident resulted in the immediate death of Mr. Chepunjoski, while his wife died two days later as a result of the injuries from the crash.[2][3]

The 2007 route was scheduled to travel from London to Istanbul, via Amsterdam, Munich, Tirana, Dubrovnik and Athens. Over 100 contestants including actors Tamer Hassan and Danny Dyer and model and entrepreneur Caprice Bourret were scheduled to drive through 16 countries in eight days. The entrance fee for the 2007 rally was £28,000 (€41,000) for first-time drivers.[33] The rally cars arrived in the Netherlands on 29 April. Two cars were confiscated by Dutch police; they had been driven at over 200 km/h, and had overtaken on the inside. Seven drivers, including rapper Xzibit lost their drivers' licenses for exceeding the legal limit by more than 50 km/h. The Dutch government has forbidden street races by law, although rallies that are performed within the law, i.e., participating in a rally without a competitive element, are not forbidden.[4][34] The next day, almost 70 luxury cars were stopped by German police for illegal road-racing. The drivers were fined, the cars were inspected, then taken in police convoy to Frankfurt–Hahn Airport, from where they were to fly to Turkey. A police spokesman told the media that the information about the route had been available on the official Gumball 3000 Web site.[35] After Germany, the rally was due to continue from Istanbul. The participants were flown to Istanbul, but the Antonov planes carrying their vehicles were diverted to Athens.[36]

On 2 May, a traffic accident occurred near the town of Struga, Republic of Macedonia. The Techart Porsche 911 Turbo of Nick Morley and Matthew McConville hit an oncoming Volkswagen Golf; in court, the prosecution alleged a speed of 161 km/h.[37] Other reports contended a speed of 200 km/h or more, while others doubt the credibility of such a claim, given the poor road conditions.[38] According to media reports, they fled[39] in a BMW M6 with Russian plates to a nearby border post, where they were arrested by the police. The casualties reported in the accident were the 67-year-old driver of the other vehicle, Vladimir Chepunjoski, who died on his way to the hospital, and his wife, Margarita Chepunjoski, who died on 4 May in a hospital from injuries sustained in the crash.[40][41][42] The organisers initially continued the rally despite the incident, but in a later official statement stated that the clear details of the incident and confirmation of a fatality did not occur until some hours after the briefing, at which point the decision to cancel the remainder of the rally was made.[43] The subsequent court hearing found Morley guilty and convicted him of "endangering traffic, leading to death";[44] he was released from custody after receiving a two-year suspended sentence. After the verdict, Morley's family released a statement detailing its own expert's findings, which contradict those of the prosecution's expert.[45]


In 2008 the rally travelled from San Francisco, United States, to China, finishing at the Beijing Olympics.[46] The rally passed through Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas, before flying to Nanjing in China and spending a night in North Korea[46] for the Mass Games.[47] From here, the route then headed to Shanghai, before crossing the finishing line in Beijing. 2008 was also David Hasselhoff's first rally where he drove one of the original cars from Knight Rider.[46]


The rally was set entirely in the United States. The route was from Santa Monica to Miami.


More than 100 cars took part in the rally in 2010. The rally began in London and ended in New York City, passing through Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Boston, Quebec City and Toronto. Michael Madsen left the rally in Belgium after a car was stopped by police for speeding.[48]

The winners of the 2010 Spirit of the Gumball award were Team Pavo.


The 2011 rally was from London to Istanbul. It cost £25,000 per car to participate.[49]


The 2012 rally was a 'Sea to Shining Sea' route in the USA from New York to Los Angeles, stopping in Toronto, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Santa Fe and Las Vegas.[50][51]

2013 15th Anniversary Rally from Copenhagen to Monaco[edit]

In 2013 the rally started in Copenhagen, passed through Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Radom, Kraków, and Vienna, and finished in Monaco.[52]

2014 'Miami to Ibiza'[edit]

David Hasselhoff at the Gumball 3000 2014 in Paris.

In 2014, and with a cost for participants of £40,000 based on two sharing a single vehicle, the rally started in the United States in Miami, passed through Atlanta, and finished in New York City. It then proceeded, with participants and cars being loaded onto planes, over to Western Europe, starting in Edinburgh, continuing through London, Paris, and Barcelona, before finally culminating on the island of Ibiza.[53] Sponsors included AnastasiaDate, Battery Energy Drink, Betsafe, Christie's, Nicolas Feuillatte, and YouTube.

"Spirit of the Gumball" winners for 2014 were deadmau5, and co-driver Tory Belleci of team Purrari[54] driving a Ferrari 458.

2015 "Stockholm to Las Vegas"[edit]

In 2015, 100 cars participated in the rally, following a transatlantic route from Stockholm to Las Vegas. Stops included Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Reno, San Francisco and Los Angeles, with a drive through Death Valley before reaching Las Vegas.[55]

Lewis Hamilton joined the final stage of the rally from Los Angeles to Las Vegas driving a Koenigsegg Agera HH.[56]

The winners of the 2015 Spirit of the Gumball award were Team KQWest.

2017 Riga to Mykonos[edit]

In 2017, the rally began on July 1st from Riga, passing through Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Porto Montenegro, Tirana, Volos, then Athens, and finally to Mykonos for two days.

2018 London to Tokyo[edit]

In 2018 the rally began on August 5th starting in London, passing through Domaine De Chantilly in France where a horse did a dance, Sforza Castle in Milan, Italy and heading to Bologna to fly on Gumball air (A Malaysian Airlines airplane fully rented for Gumballers by the organizers of Gumball 3000 which stopped in Kazakhstan to refuel) to head to Osaka, Japan, some of the cars are also being flown over to Japan. In Japan they will land in Osaka and will go to Kyoto, Nanao and will end in Tokyo were the Gumball finale party will take place. [57]

Video game[edit]

In 2002, SCi developed a Gumball 3000 video game for the Sony PlayStation 2.[58]


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External links[edit]