June 1st, 2011

The cars of Gumball 2011

Last night the 2011 Gumball 3000 came to a close. With a route that started out in London last Wednesday (26th May) the pack of over 100 cars made their way through Paris, Barcelona, Monte Carlo (attending the Monaco F1 race), Milan, Venice, Zagreb, Belgrade and Sofia before crossing the finish line in Istanbul. Along the way thousands of camera phones took pictures and thousands of dollars changed hands in speeding fines.

Since Gumball’s inception in 1999, where Maximillion Cooper invited 50 of his mates to take part in a 3000 mile drive and party around Europe, Gumball has grown into nothing short of a phenomenon. Having the fanbase that is literally capable of closing down city centres big money sponsorship has become a huge portion of the rally. With cars now having to be contractually stickered up with various company logos gone are the days of covert motorway dashes as the cars are now meant to be seen.

We can’t help but feel that the ‘spirit’ of Gumball has somewhat shifted. The shift is evident within the people who now take part in Gumball. With legendary figures such as Lonman in his mentalist spec Porsche GT2, and the logistical geniuses of Alex Roy and David Maher who gained a cult status as drivers being replaced with a members from Boyzone and D-list actors, things just aren’t the same.

No doubt the lunacy and recklessness that has always been part of Gumball (and arguably are why a lot of people follow it) is still strong. But one aspect of the Gumball that can’t change is the cars. This year there were some pretty awesome machines heading out for the transcontinental dash and we have rounded a few of them up.

Aston Martin One-77

There are  two types of drivers who participate in the Gumball; 1. The ones up for a laugh who do it in a Fiat Cinquecento or 2. The ones who want to visually flash the cash by rolling up in some four-wheels exotica. This car falls into the second category.

The Aston Martin One-77 is the epitome of extravagance. With only 77 being made (and they are only just getting delivered) and costing over a million pounds each this is the  Gumball Top Trumps card you want.

With the elegance being constrained within a far from flattering gold and black wrap your grandma could tell that this thing was going on Gumball. It didn’t take the American owner long to stretch the legs of his new car, as he was busted doing around 200kph (124mph) in a 130kph (81mph) zone in France. But that’s Gumballin’ for ya.

Porsche Cayenne and Ferrari 599 GTO

The standard Porsche Cayenne isn’t ballsy enough for the fragile ego-fest of Gumball so you need to ship it to one of the aftermarket tuning houses first before you make the trip. This year we saw the whole works; Hamman, Gemballa and Mansory. There is a bit of sense using a modified Cayenne, they are fast and more importantly comfortable. However the same goes for the 599 GTO and I know which one I would take.

Lotus Evora S

Now this is cool. In the world of Gumball, cars like the Ferrari 458, Lamborghini Gallardo and Bentley GTC are ten a penny. A Lotus Evora S with all the trimmings of the GT4 cup car will cause of a bit of a stir in that company. There is a downside though, the driver. Piloting this black and gold beauty is none other than Tamer Hassan. “Who?!” I hear you shout at the monitor. He is the guy from those dodgy football hooligan films. Google him, it may jog your memory.

BMW M3 GTS G-Power

There are only 150 M3 GTS’ in the world, and despite being painted in high-vis orange it is an understated car for the Gumball. Being lucky enough to have sampled the GTS, I can clarify that it is an awesome piece of machinery. When I stepped out of the car the last thing I had on my mind was that it needed more power. But that is exactly what the one taking part in this year’s Gumball has as it made a trip to the lads at G-Power for a little tinkering before the off.

What they came out of the workshop was a M3 with 635hp and 464lb ft of torque. Which is 135hp and 140lb ft more than before – enough to see the 0-62mph time drop to 4.2 seconds, and make 124mph come up in 11.9. With a verified top speed of 200mph I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the first thing at every check point.

Porsche 997 Speedster

Yes, someone shelled out £144,000 for the new Porsche Speedster. It kind of fits into the Gumball ethos; a bit odd, ugly and really expensive so everyone must get on their knees and kiss its Fuchs.

Jon Olsson spec Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 and Nissan GTR

We are big fans of Jon Olsson, as you can see here. We were really excited for his return to the Gumball this year as he promised to bring out his new super modified Rebellion R1K Ultima GTR to the party. The day before the start of the Rally we got a glimpse at the beast but then its exhaust decided to go bang. Luckily Jon had a couple of spare supercars in the stable and decided to ship his Nissan GTR to the start in London and then picked up his Lambo when in Monaco. Now that is what we call a Plan B.

Words: Rowan Horncastle

Photo Credit: Alex Penfold (Aston One-77 , Porsche Cayenne and Ferrari GTO)

Photo Credit: SCLudo (Lotus Evora S, BMW M3 GTS G-Power and Porsche Speedster)