Returning once again, the American Gumball Rally comes to Florida for its second year in a row. Rather than focus on one cross-country rally, the national organization has created statewide “weekend road rally events” to allow participants an affordable, fun way for any vehicle to enter the rally with a chance to promote any business or charity. In 2014, the organization will plan to hit at least half of the states in the US, with one event every two weeks.
This year in Florida marks the first time an automotive manufacturer has participated in the event. General Motors was kind enough to furnish two very grateful drivers, Simon Gomez and Jonathon Brownfield with the “Chevy Gumball team” Gumball Rally vehicle, a stunning 2014 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS convertible properly affixed with the lucky number 7. The driving team is composed of two very enthusiastic automotive journalists from South Florida that both share an equally deep passion for American muscle cars. It’s no secret that Simon and Jonathon couldn’t be more excited to rally drive such a highly acclaimed and legendary sports car.
Other participants for the race will be driving an array of sports cars including several Chevrolet Camaro models, a few Dodge Vipers, a Dodge Challenger SRT8, a Ferrari, and BMW M3, just to name a few. Trailing behind the Chrysler “Gumball” pace car are several General Motors trucks including a modified Suburban and new Silverado. Included along with entrance fee, the participants also are able to decorate their rally chariots with sponsor stickers and a chosen number. The vehicles will carry a team of at least two, and will have unique team names.
For two full days and one night, the rally will cover 750 miles with some of the best Florida has to offer in way of scenery and activities. Throughout the journey, all teams are able to participate in various activities along the way including an everglades airboat tour, go-karts, track time, and plenty of fun. Drivers will start in Miami and end in Daytona with eight different checkpoints. At each checkpoint, the rally teams will complete a checkpoint card, and choose one letter of the G-U-M-B-A-L-L., which will give the challengers a chance at earning points. Values of the points are random and drawn at the end of the rally and the winner gets 10% of the entrance fees.
Checkpoint #1 starts the rally at the exquisite Dezer Car Museum located in Miami. The expansive museum features over 1200 of the most rare automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, and more all under the roof of eight different buildings. Drivers will have an opportunity to explore various points of the museum, meet other rally team members, and review rules and regulations.
Checkpoint #2 is stationed at Captain Doug’s located in the Everglades National Park. Rally drivers will have the opportunity to ride high-speed airboats through alligator infested swamps with professional airboat captains giving a tour of one of Florida’s main location attractions. The participants will even have a chance to take a photo with a baby alligator if they manage to not be consumed by a larger gator on the ride.
Checkpoint #3 is located In Punta Gorda and includes admission to one of the largest General Motors muscle car collections in the country. Attendees will have just over two hours to drool, dream, and remember the most recognized muscle machines of yester-years. A 50’s themed diner located inside the museum will help to guarantee the visit will be as authentic as the cars. Afterwards, a short drive up Tamiami Trail will then get drivers to Checkpoint #4, which is their hotel for the evening.
Checkpoint #5 lasts all night and gives the Gumball participants full reign of the Bradenton Motorsports Park. Underlining the safety and security on the rally drive on major roads and highways will get thrown away, as drivers will have the opportunity to open their rally chariots to full throttle on the track up until 1:00 am!
Checkpoint #6 starts the next morning a gives all the drivers' admission to the annual Zephyrhills Autofest. All in attendance for the rally will have the chance for a photo shoot and interviews.
Checkpoint #7 will get engines running when the team meets at the Ker’s Winghouse of Lakeland. Noted for its attractive food and well, staff, Ker’s has donated 100 wings plus additional discounts for additional food for all participants.
Checkpoint #8 gives participants even more track time, but this time with a high-speed go-kart track in Orlando! Drivers will be able to carve hairpin turns while clipping apex points in road hugging go karts at one of Orlando’s largest attractions.
The finish line will be in Daytona Beach, and will prompt an after party celebration where the winner of the rally will be announced. General Motors and its representing drivers have decided that if they do win the rally, that all proceeds will be donated for charity. Throughout the journey, the Chevy Gumball Team will be active on social media outlets promoting the race, the vehicle, and the drivers. So, gentlemen, start your engines! May the best team win, and GO #ChevyGumballTeam!