In 1933 legendary motorcycle racer Mister Baker, had crossed the United States coast-to-coast in 54 hours, earning him the nickname Cannonball. He had had an annual race ever since 1914 (when he needed 11 days), and bettered his time ever since. In the 1970s motor journalist Brock Yates of Car and Driver magazine had started the Cannonball Baker Sea To Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash in honor of Cannonball. The first race was held on April 1, 1971, and first prize was a Gumball dispenser. The first race was won by Yates and Dan Gurney, former race driver for Formula One and Le Mans, who drove a Ferrari. They needed about 35 hours from New York to L.A. These events inspired the 1976 movies Gumball Rally and Cannonball, as well as sequels such as Cannonball Run, Cannonball Run 2, etc. The original Gumball race was finally canceled in 1979.
Drawing inspiration from the 1970s race, the movies and Smokey and the Bandit, Maximillion Cooper started the modern edition of the game in the summer of 1999 as the Gumball 3000 road rally. Gumball 3000 has since gained the reputation as road race for the modern era and has captured the attention. With celebrity participation the public have been bought closer to the race by witnessing it on everything from MTV to reading about it in Vanity Fair.
Gumball 3000 Editions:
The original race featured 50 among Cooper’s friends, and went from London, to Rimini, Italy and back, passing through Paris, to the beautiful Chateau d’Esclimont, before lapping the Le Mans race circuit, followed by a checkpoint at the Mas du Clos Ferrari Museum, then Monaco Grand Prix circuit in Monaco, the Ferrari Factory in Modena, the Ambras Palace in Austria and the Hockenheim Grand Prix Circuit in Germany before returning to London to cross the finish line on Park Lane. The winner drove a 1963 Jaguar E-Type. Other drivers included actors Billy Zane in a 1964 Aston Martin DB5, Jason Priestley in a Lotus Esprit V8 and Dannii Minogue in a Porsche Boxster.
The second race was held in May 2000. The race started at Marble Arch in London and went to Stansted Airport, where all cars and people were airlifted to a private airport in Spain. The race then continued through Bilbao, Cannes, Milan, Hotel Bühlerhöhe Castle near Baden-Baden (Germany), the Nürburgring GP circuit and Hamburg before returning to London. Notable entrants included Drum and bass legend and James Bond baddie Goldie in an Aston Martin V8, it-girl Tara Palmer Tomkinson in a Jaguar XK8, Great Train Robber Bruce Reynolds in a Bentley, the indie band Placebo in a Lagonda, the Happy Mondays all crammed into a 2+2 Jaguar, and Maximillion in the famous Bentley Arnage 1WO.
The third race, held in April 2001, featured 106 cars, including Johnny Knoxville, Steve O and the rest of the cast of Jackass driving an 80s rusted out Jag, as well as F1 World champion Damon Hill driving a Lamborghini, comedian Vic Reeves in a AMG, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu in a Blower Bentley and Maximillion in an original AC Cobra. The race went from Hyde Park Corner in London to Berlin, Vilnius, Saint Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen before returning to London. Kim Schmitz finishes first in his Brabus EV12 Megacar. The race was made into an hour long Jackass Gumball 3000 Special on MTV and received the highest viewing figures of the year. Ruby Wax also ran in the event covering it for terrestrial TV in the UK on BBC1.
The fourth race was held in April 2002, the first to be run outside Europe. The race goes from New York to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, passing through a checkpoint at the Whitehouse in Washington DC, onto Nashville, Tennessee for lunch in Elvis Presley’s Mansion, Graceland, before getting a Dallas Cowboys welcome in Texas, onwards to Cadillac Ranch, Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, Nevada]] before reaching the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills where Hugh Hefner and playmates awarded trophies. 175 cars entered the contest, including a 60s Corvette painted in the Stars and Stripes that won best car award, the 1959 Ferrari California Spider from the movie Ferris Buellers day off that was bought at a cost of over $1m just to take part in the Gumball, as well as old American muscle cars taking to the road with modern day supercars. Fashion designer Donna Karan, models Amy Wesson and Rachel Hunter, and actor Matthew McConaughey were amongst the stars.
The fifth race was held in May 2003, with 175 cars from San Francisco, California to Miami, Florida, passing through Reno, Nevada, Las Vegas, Tucson, Arizona, White Sands, New Mexico, San Antonio, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. This one was made into ‘Gumball 3000′ The Movie and starred Jackass’ Ryan Dunn racing a rental car alongside skateboard legends Tony Hawk in a Dodge Viper and Bucky Lasek, Motocross World champions Travis Pastrana and Carey Hart, supermodel Jodie Kidd all driving the most amazing mix of Ferrari F50s, Lambo’s, the 242mph Swedish Koenigsegg Supercar and other exotica, to West Coast Choppers Jesse James in a custom VW Campervan.
The sixth race was held in May 2004, back again in Europe. The race went from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to Biarritz, Madrid, Marbella, then crossed over to Africa, to Marrakech in Morrocco as guests of the King, before returning to Spain for the Barcelona Grand Prix, finishing in Cannes at the famous film festival. 192 amazing cars took part, but the car that stole the show was a little old Citroen 2CV painted like the General Lee. Ex Boxing world champion Chris Eubank drove a truck, whilst The Pianist Academy winning actor Adrien Brody favoured a Porsche and the ‘Ai Ya’ Boys just rented a Winnebago. On Gumball its seems just about anything goes.
The seventh race started at Trafalgar Square on May 14, 2005. It took over 3000 miles from London to Brussels, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and then to Dubrovnik in Croatia. The cars were then transported by ferry to Bari, in Italy, then lap the old Targa Florio circuit in Sicily, before they headed north to Rome, and finally crossed the finish line in the Monaco’s Casino Square prior to the F1 Grand Prix. Participants included Gumball veterans, skater Rob Dydrek, rock stars and supermodels driving everything from a Dukes of Hazzard General Lee themed Ferrari to Carrera GTs.
Starting in London and finishing 8 days later in Los Angeles…this one is just NUTS, 120 amazing cars driving 3000 miles across 3 Continents in just 8 days! Last year the crowds on route were HUGE, and this year we want even more of you to cheer us on. We’ve got more supercars, superstars and rock n’ roll parties than you can imagine!
The 2007 route was scheduled to travel from London to Istanbul, via Amsterdam and Frankfurt. From Frankfurt the teams were flown to Istanbul and the rally continued back to London via Athens, Tirana, Bratislava and Berlin. The rally was cancelled after a tragic accident in Macedonia. Over 100 contestants were scheduled to drive through 16 countries in 8 days. The entrance fee for the 2007 rally was GB£28,000 (US$55,060) for first-time drivers.
The 2008 10th Anniversary Gumball 3000 Rally took place in August 2008. The entry fee was £60,000 ($120,000US). The start line was in San Francisco, and proceeded through checkpoints in Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, a flight to Nanjing (With drivers stopping over in Pyongyang, North Korea), Shanghai, and finally finishing in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games.
The 2009 event was a “Coast to Coast’ road trip adventure from Los Angeles to Miami from May 1 – 8th 2009. After the start in Los Angeles the Gumball 3000 rally had checkpoints in Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Orlando before finishing in Miami.
The 12th annual Gumball 3000 rally goes from London to New York City. The rally starts in London and includes checkpoints in Amsterdam and Copenhagen before reaching the half-way checkpoint in Stockholm. In Stockholm all teams and cars board airplanes and are flown to Boston in the USA. From Boston the rally continues into Canada with stops in Montreal and Toronto before finishing in New York City. The Gumball 2010 entrance fee is £30,000 and kicks off on the first of May 2009.