The 2018 edition of the Gumball 3000 Rally, which started on 4 August in London and finished on 12 August in Tokyo, marked the 20th anniversary of this one-of-its-kind motoring event. Started in 1999, the Gumball 3000 Rally is an annual luxury automotive road trip that covers a distance of over 3,000 miles. This charity motor rally, which takes place on public roads, races through multiple cities worldwide and hosts a static car display at famous landmark in each host city.
The first Gumball 3000 Rally was simply a gathering of friends who wanted to drive fast cars and travel. Maximillion Cooper, founder of the Gumball 3000 Entertainment Group, tells Guardian 20, “The first invites were handwritten and were posted out to each participant. I invited 50-odd friends to come for a 3000-mile journey from London to Rimini in Italy. The first rally passed through cities like Paris along the way. So six months after posting the invite we were driving around Europe. It became one of the biggest lifestyle brands on the planet after I blended business with pleasure. It also raises funds for youth projects.”
As for the highlights of the latest edition, Cooper says, “Since this year marked the rally’s 20th anniversary, we decided to celebrate the achievement by notching the excitement levels and venturing into an unknown territory—Japan. Grade A hypercars like the Bugatti Chiron and Lexus LFA took part alongside rarities such as an Alfa 8C Disco Volante, and a brace of DeLoreans.”
A fleet of around 140 cars started the race in London, then made its way to Chantilly, Milan and Bologna before being loaded onto planes and flown to Japan to complete the route via Osaka, Kyoto, Nanao and Tokyo.
Named after the 1976 American comedy film The Gumball Rally, the event this year even hosted some celebrity participants, like Usher, Eve and David Hasselhoff among others.
A perfect amalgamation of entertainment, thrill, cars and music, the 2018 Rally was organised in partnership with Kappa, an Italian heritage sportswear brand.
Pradeep Jolly, a Delhi-based entrepreneur, was the only Indian participant here. He joined in with his Nissan GTR from Osaka on 8 August.
The car enthusiast shares with us his experience of participating in the rally. “It was great. We met some really interesting and successful people from all over the world. It was a one-of-its-kind experience. I got to witness the passion and zeal people share for driving. The way some participants had painted their cars displayed their love for automobiles. There’s camaraderie and fellowship in the act of driving together with other driver teams. We felt like a family and the feeling of brotherhood is heart-warming. I met so many business and sports achievers, and successful artistes during my drive. I have come back with some really great friends from Europe and London,” says Jolly.
The race across five countries and two continents over eight days might sound challenging to some, but for Jolly it was more of an adventure. “The Gumball family,” he continues, “ is extremely supportive of the new drivers. There weren’t any challenges. Driving in an international land is more like an adventure than a challenge. Participants wore Gumball bands so that when they needed help, the crew could come to their aid during the rally.”
His participation in the rally was inspired by his love of cars. “My love of cars is one reason; and the other is my interest in people and cultures. I wanted to be a part of a global event. With people from over 35 nationalities and the chance to experience Japanese culture made me keen to be a part of it,” he says.
Even off the rally circuit, Jolly is a true-blue petrol-head.
He says, “I love ’80s supercars. The adrenaline rush you get as you take the wheel is addictive. Gumball 3000’s 20th anniversary was a source of excitement, thrill and pure pleasure for me.”
Travelling was another big motivation for Jolly, who calls himself a “diehard explorer”. “Travel connects a person to his deepest spiritual corners. I love to drive and meeting new people, and getting to know different cultures excites me,” he says.
A healthy diet and routine exercise helped him prepare for the race. He shares, “I worked out and took care of my diet and ate all that would add to my strength and stamina, and gave me energy. I drove around 4-8 hours a day during my participation.”
As for his biggest takeaway, Jolly answers, “Driving is not just an adventurous hobby, it can very well be an act of building friendships and communities.”