Gumball 3000

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Gumball-3000 logo
Before the start of the Gumball 3000 in Pall Mall , London (2006)

The Gumball 3000 is an annual driving event on public roads that has been held since 1999 and is classified as illegal in some of the countries visited . The circles involved like to call it a rally (in the sense of German automobile rally ), although it has almost nothing in common with a rally according to the rules of the FIA, the world automobile association .

The forerunners of the Gumball 3000 were the so-called Cannonball Runs of the 1970s, which were first discussed in 1976 in the two US films The Gumball Rally and Cannonball . The German translation for the English word Gumball is chewing gum ball .

In 2007, the event was prematurely terminated by the organizers after one of the participants had caused an accident in the Republic of Macedonia , according to the judgment of a district court, “by dangerous driving”, which resulted in the death of two local road users. Shortly afterwards, various sponsors announced their withdrawal from the event.


The event takes place annually in May and takes the participants in eight days on public roads over a distance of 3000 miles (about 4800 km), hence the name Gumball 3000. In 1999 it was created by the Englishman Maximillion Cooper under the motto “It's not a race , it's a rally! ” was launched.

The number of participants is limited to 120 vehicles, whereby the varying, comparatively high entry fee also includes a co-driver. As a result, the number of possible participants doubles to 240. In addition, any number of people can be added to the team for a corresponding fee. The social part should often be more important than the journey itself. In addition to the daily stages in the car, banquets and celebrations take place in the hotels in the evening .

Legal situation

For Germany, § 29 Paragraph 1 of the Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) stipulates : "Races with motor vehicles are prohibited". Intentional as well as negligent violations can be punished as an administrative offense with a fine according to § 49 Abs. 2 Nr. 5 and 6 StVO in connection with § 24 Road Traffic Act . Insofar as proof of racing character cannot be provided, there may still be a motor sport event requiring a permit in accordance with Section 29 (2) StVO. In addition, depending on the driving style and the consequences for other road users, there may be further administrative offenses or even criminal offenses.

In practice, these excesses also result in driving license revocation and vehicle shutdowns. In recent years the police have intervened very sharply, especially in Austria and Spain. There were only a few checks in Germany. Due to increased public awareness, the public pressure on the authorities grew there too, which was reflected in tougher controls and even a temporary stop of the event there in 2007. In 2016, the Freiburg Regional Council issued a regional permit for this "driving event" with the condition that it only drive on a fixed route through Baden-Württemberg.


Chevrolet Impala at Gumball 2007

In general, most participants strive to be as conspicuous as possible. The spectrum ranges from exotic sports cars , off-road vehicles to small cars or classic cars. Anyone who does not participate with the registered car, but with a rental car, for example, risks being excluded from the race, whereby the participation fee will be retained. Some cars were also built specifically for the Gumball 3000; For example, in 2006 Tony Hawk drove a Jeep Cherokee with the engine of a Dodge Viper .


The entry fee for the event is on average £ 13,000 ( sterling ) per person. In 2006 it was £ 40,000 due to the greater expense - the vehicles were shipped by air. Participants who had previously participated in a Gumball 3000 paid only £ 30,000. The entry fee for the event in 2007 was £ 28,000 per car per two people; the fee for previous participant teams was £ 24,000. In 2008 £ 60,000 was requested; including all accommodation, food and flight costs as well as tickets to events of the Olympic Games in Beijing . In 2018 the entry fee was £ 60,000 (or £ 50,000 for members) per vehicle. The fee included a driver and a passenger.

History of the Gumball 3000

The race took place for the first time in 1999. It started in London. From there it went through Belgium to Germany, on through Austria and Italy and finally via France back to London. In addition to the Hockenheimring in Germany, the entourage also stopped at the Ferrari factory in Modena.

The second event started again in London in 2000. After a detour to the lotus factory in Central England, she led across Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France to Spain. From there it was finally back to London. The highlight this year was a party on the “Gumball yacht”, which was anchored in the port of Cannes .

In 2001 London was the start and finish point of the Gumball 3000 for the third time. This year the 3000 miles led via Germany and Lithuania to Russia, from there back via Finland and Sweden to the finish.

In 2002 the route ran from New York to Los Angeles across the USA, for the first time outside of Europe. There were important checkpoints at Cadillac and the Elvis Presley house in Graceland .

The Gumball 3000 in 2003 also passed through the USA. This time the route ran from west to east, from San Francisco to Miami .

In 2004 the race led from Paris through France and Spain to Marrakech and from there back via Spain to Cannes . The official video "Six Days in May", which is very well known in the scene and which was also shown as a movie in some European countries, was produced during this edition.

In 2005 the route ran from London via Brussels , Prague , Vienna , Budapest , Croatia , Italy to Monaco . This year again numerous television stations reported, partly live, but mostly in the form of reports about the Gumball 3000. In the following months, the Gumball 3000 experienced its greatest popularity to date.

The Gumball 3000 in 2006

Gumball 3000 launch 2006

In 2006 the Gumball took place on three continents. First it went across Europe from London to Belgrade . Then a route in Thailand and another in the USA were on the program. That was the destination Playboy - Mansion in Los Angeles . The originally planned stage from North Korea to South Korea was discarded due to political explosiveness.

  • Stage 1, Europe: London (start) –Brussels – Vienna – Budapest – Belgrade (Serbia)

The cars and participants were then flown to Thailand .

  • Stage 2, Asia: Phuket – Bangkok (Thailand)

The cars were flown across the Pacific to Salt Lake City .

  • Stage 3, United States: Salt Lake City – Las Vegas – Los Angeles (destination)

The Gumball 3000 in 2007

Caprice Bourret at Gumball 2007 in London

The Gumball 3000 launched in London on April 29, 2007. The route led via Amsterdam to Frankfurt-Hahn Airport , from where the participants themselves were flown to Istanbul . However, the aircraft with their vehicles was diverted to Athens , so that a planned training session on the Istanbul Formula 1 racetrack failed. The drivers were then brought to their vehicles in Athens, from where the originally planned route continued via Tirana and Dubrovnik to Bratislava .

On April 29, the Dutch police stopped some of the Gumball 3000 participants on their arrival in the Netherlands , who had been waiting for them with a total of 14 police cars and seven civilian vehicles. Seven drivers, including the American rapper Xzibit , who drove an adidas- sponsored Lamborghini Gallardo , had to surrender their driver's license because they had been measured at more than 50 km / h above the permitted maximum speed. In addition, two of the participating cars were confiscated. According to the same ANP report, in Belgium another 18 people involved were ordered by the police not to continue the journey.

The German police stopped around eighty participants in several federal states on April 30; most of them on the A61 in the amount of the service area Brohltal . They were forbidden to continue the event, but the authorities allowed them to continue to Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in convoys accompanied by the police. According to the police, the stopped drivers have to reckon with a fine procedure "because of their participation in an illegal race" , the foreign participants had to pay a security deposit of 420 euros, and six speeding violations were found and fined. As a consequence of these events, the organizers initially announced a change to the planned route that should have led from Bratislava back to Germany.

Nicholas Morley and Matthew McConville's car at the start of the Gumball 3000 in London

On May 3, the organizers reported "the first fatal accident in the nine-year history of the event". According to her, a participant vehicle collided the day before in the Republic of Macedonia with the VW Golf I owned by 67-year-old Vladimir Chepunjoska and his wife Margarita. The man then died of heart failure in a hospital. The British gumball participants Nicholas Morley (29) and Matthew McConville (32) were briefly arrested to await a trial the next day. According to media reports, there were in part different and more extensive representations. After the collision, the British are said to have attempted to flee across the border to Albania as passengers in a BMW belonging to another Gumball participant , but were caught by the police beforehand. The passenger of the Gumball vehicle - a Porsche 911 Turbo modified by TechArt - is said to have been released after the interrogation. The accident victim succumbed to his serious injuries on the way to the hospital, and his wife was initially in mortal danger. On the evening of May 3rd, Maximillion Cooper declared the Gumball 3000 over on behalf of the organizers. The event in Bratislava was prematurely stopped out of respect for the killed accident victim. Margarita Chepunjoska succumbed to her injuries on May 4th.

According to eyewitness reports, the tuned Porsche is said to have driven on the wrong side of a country road at around 200 km / h shortly before the accident. Driver Nicholas Morley was sentenced to 30 days in prison by a court in Struga on May 3 in an accelerated trial for “failure to provide assistance to an injured person” and “serious threat to road safety”. The next day, the court changed its ruling to the effect that Morley was released on bail pending trial , but not allowed to leave the country. He then tried to escape from Skopje on a private plane but was arrested at the airport and detained again.

In June 2007, Morley was sentenced to two years in prison by Struga District Court for "dangerous driving resulting in death" with a three-year suspended sentence. According to the court, his vehicle was said to have been traveling at a speed of around 160 km / h at the time of the accident; 100 km / h above the speed limit valid there. Morley was released after the verdict was announced.

The Gumball 3000 since 2008

David Hasselhoff started the Gumball of the Year 2008

In 2008, between August 8th and 16th, it drove through California , Nevada , North Korea and China . The entry fee per car and team of two was given as £ 60,000  .

In 2009, the coast to coast route ran from Los Angeles to Miami from May 1st to May 8th . The milestones were Las Vegas , Grand Canyon , Santa Fe , Dallas , Houston , New Orleans and Orlando . The company Puma appeared as main sponsor on.

The twelfth Gumball 3000, which took place from May 1 to 7, 2010, went from London to New York . The milestones were Amsterdam , Copenhagen , Stockholm , Boston , Québec and Toronto . Puma appeared again as a sponsor . The entry fee was £ 30,000  .

In 2011 a route from London via Paris, Barcelona, ​​Monaco, Venice, Belgrade and Istanbul was chosen.

The 2012 edition of the race took place from 25.-31. May took place and ran from New York City to Los Angeles . Intermediate stops were Toronto , Indianapolis , St. Louis , Kansas City (Missouri) and Santa Fe .

2013 started in Copenhagen on May 18, ran - also via ship transfer (s) - via Sweden, Finland, St. Petersburg (Russia), Tallinn (Estonia), Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Vienna (May 23, evening) , Verona, Monte Carlo (finish May 24th, party May 25th) through 13 countries. In Carinthia, a 20-year-old Russian had an accident on the A2 near Arnoldstein who was unharmed in his totally damaged vehicle.

In 2017 the event started in Riga on July 1, 2017 and ended in Mykonos on July 8, 2017. The route led from Riga via Warsaw , Budapest , Dubrovnik , Tirana and Athens to Mykonos.

In 2018, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary, the route runs from London to Tokyo

In 2019 the route led from Mykonos to Ibiza .

In 2020 the rally was supposed to start in Toronto and run to Havana , but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sponsorship and merchandising

Over the years a large market for merchandising products had emerged. The spectrum ranged from clothing, accessories and shoes to stickers and videos to PlayStation games.

The wagon train also became increasingly interesting for sponsors , for example for Alpine , Diesel , eBay , MTV , T-Mobile , Foot Locker and Intel . However, the fatal accident at the 2007 event marked a turning point : For example, the sporting goods and clothing company Adidas , until then one of the team sponsors of the event, announced its exit on May 4, 2007; according to company spokesman Oliver Brüggen “completely, immediately and for all time”. The HTC Corporation , which some participants vehicles with navigation devices from T-Mobile had appointed, expressed regret for the accident. The German headquarters of T-Mobile stated that they knew nothing about this sponsorship, otherwise they would have distanced themselves from it.

Prominent participants


  • Clement Wilson, Richard Dunwoody: Our Gumball Rally: 3000 Miles, 3 Countries, 65 Ferraris, Only 1 Volvo . Virgin Books, London 2005, ISBN 0-7535-0992-X . (English)
  • Maximillion Cooper: Gumball 3000 the Official Annual: Paris-Marrakech-Cannes Motor Car Rally . Gumball 300 Merchandise Ltd., London 2004, ISBN 0-9547226-1-2 . (English)
  • Maximillion Cooper: Gumball 3000 the Official Annual 2004: San Francisco to Miami . Gumball 3000 Merchandise Ltd., Rev Ed edition, London 2004, ISBN 0-9547226-0-4 . (English)
  • Alexander Roy: The Driver - My dangerous persuit of speed and truth in the outlaw racing world . HarperCollins Publishers, New York 2007, ISBN 978-0-06-122793-6 . (English)

Web links

Commons : Gumball 3000  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. POL-KN: Conclusion of the police on the driving event "Gumball3000" (May 4, 2016)
  2. [1] Conditions of Participation 2018, accessed on July 10, 2018
  3. Rapper Xzibit loses driver's license during rally ( memento from December 8, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (April 30, 2007, Dutch)
  4. General-Anzeiger Bonn: Police stop illegal car racing on the A61 (April 30, 2007)
  5. auto motor und sport: Gumball 3000 - Deadly End ( Memento from June 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (May 4, 2007)
  6. "Gumball canceled after death" (May 3, 2007, English)
  7. "Gumball accident claims second life" (on May 4, 2007, English)
  8. "Briton reported for accident near Struga gets 30-day temporary detention" ( Memento from September 4, 2007 in the web archive ) (May 3, 2007, English)
  9. "Gumball crash driver tried to flee in private jet" (May 5, 2007, English)
  10. "Nicholas Morley handed suspended jail sentence" (June 8, 2007, English)
  11. Announcement in the organizer's blog ( Memento from May 9, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (February 19, 2008, English)
  13. Archived copy ( Memento of May 4, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  15. 2011. In: Retrieved February 20, 2012 .
  16. Gumball Rally: Porsche totally damaged,, May 25, 2013
  17. [2] Website of the Gumball 3000, accessed on July 10, 2018
  18. ^ [3] Gumball 3000 website, accessed on July 10, 2018
  19. [4] Registration form for Gumball 3000 2019, accessed on July 10, 2018
  20. [5]
  21. auto motor und sport: Gumball 3000 - Adidas gets out , (May 4th 2007)
  22. HTC: "Gumball statement" ( Memento from April 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (undated HTC Europe press release, English)
  23. "Adidas and T-Mobile sponsor the rally" (May 4, 2007)
  24. Kim Schmitz Dotcom won Gumball 3000 Rally (January 31, 2012)
  26. Gumball 3000 - Xzibit is back on the Gumball! ( Memento from March 26, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  30. Deadmau5 Racing Gumball 3000 Rally in Nyan Cat-Themed Ferrari. Archived from the original on May 29, 2016 ; accessed on May 31, 2016 .
  31. Brad Anderson, GTspirit: Deadmau5 Reveals McLaren P1 and 650S for Gumball 3000. In: GTspirit. May 7, 2015, accessed May 31, 2016 .
  33. ^ Gumball (VIDEO) - Catching up with JON
  34. Gumball 3000 - Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs is back for more! ( Memento from March 28, 2010 in the Internet Archive )