Remember the Cannonball Run? No, not the old movie with Burt Reynolds, but the actual race. It was a cross-country car rally (full name: the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash) of dubious legality that ran from New York City to Redondo Beach, Calif., on four occasions between 1971 and 1979. The real Cannonball Run has faded into outlaw racing history, but the tradition it started is upheld today by the Gumball 3000, a high-end car rally that's been run annually between various locations since 1999.
How various? Well, the 2010 Gumball started in London, wound its way through much of Europe, and ended in New York City, which certainly qualifies it as unusual if not impossible. (The drivers and their cars were flown from Stockholm to Boston.) Other Gumballs have gone from New York to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles and from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France -- not a very long trip until you consider that the route crossed the Mediterranean and passed through North Africa on its way to the finish line.
Glamorous locations, expensive cars, outlaw racing -- and you can be a part of it for only 30,000 British pounds. You're probably pulling out your checkbook right now.
There are plenty more unusual auto races out there -- you just have to know where to look. Follow the links below if you're still thirsty for more.
More Great Links
- Markovich, Mike. "The 5 Strangest Car Races." CNET. Dec. 15, 2009. (Feb. 15, 2011) http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-10416043-48.html
- Nonnenberg, Randy. "A Lone 356 on the 2007 California Melee." 356 Registry Magazine. May/June 2008. (Feb. 15, 2011) http://www.californiamelee.com/History/356_article.pdf
- Spike TV. "Carpocalypse Ambulance Chain Race (Video)." Nov. 6, 2006. (Feb. 15, 2011) http://www.spike.com/video/carpocalypse/2784118
Part of the thrill for spectators in car racing is the wrecks — assuming everyone is OK. But who is left picking up the bill when those expensive cars end up destroyed?