The Gumball 3000 is, after all, a motorcar rally. 100 cars being piloted by businessmen and women, royalty, bankers, lawyers, stars of film, screen and sports. The kinds of vehicles that have been driven in the past defy belief; from Ferraris and Lamborghinis, to Rolls Royces, Bugattis and Paganis. Many of those are what petrol heads would determine not just supercars but hypercars.
Then you have the one-off specials created just for their owners, like the tumbler out of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy to the InCENArator (driven by John Cena, the famous wrestler).
Whilst exceptionally happy with what I have achieved in my life so far, realistically I could not compete in the same league as some of these teams. So the question I had to ask was how could I be different, remain true to myself but within my budget?
I am fortunate to have driven and owned what I think to be some nice cars. My first ‘hot hatch’ was a Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works. This was the R56, a model that, if you wanted the JCW treatment, you had to purchase an aftermarket bodykit, wheels and engine tune. That car handled like a go-kart and had great in-gear acceleration. It’s certainly one I regret selling now.
The first what I would call ‘fast’ car was my Jaguar F-Type V8s convertible. With 495bhp, that car was a riot; it was so full of character I don’t think I have driven a car like it since – with such a propensity to break traction at even a hint of throttle. My father’s Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, by way of example, was a more competent machine and made a noise reminiscent of motorsport but, being honest, lacked in excitement and personality: there was no sense of ‘I’d quite like to kill you now please’ . . . Whereas the F-Type, particularly in the wet, was nothing short of demented.
Quicksilver made me an exhaust for it too, the first of its kind, which added an anger and depth to its voice many might consider unnecessary given it is already a rather rowdy piece of kit. A video they made having completed the development is here, before, I might add, the Youtuber ‘Seen Through Glass’ made it famous . . .
Fast forward to now and my current baby is what some might describe as a MILF of the motoring world; a manual Ferrari F355 Spider. It still likes to intermittently wear a mini skirt though – it having only done 24,000 miles. The looks are stunning, the handling sublime and noise is befitting of the prancing horse badge. The romantic part of me would love to use it on the rally; a throwback to proper drivers’ cars – no traction control, dual clutch transmissions or carbon fibre tubs here, just unadulterated mid-engined mechanical grip and a screaming 8,500rpm redline. At 3,000 miles in seven days however, I wonder whether she could hack the pace. And the last thing I need is to be standing at the side of the road with my thumb up trying to hitchhike . . .