Gumball 3000

Life in the fast lane: Wild Gumball 3000 road race draws Houstonians in tricked-out Ferrari

Wild Gumball 3000 road race draws Houstonians in tricked-out Ferrari

Gumball 3000 Michael Morrow
Michael Morrow (wearing a tuxedo with 700,000 stitches of hand embroidery) poses in front of Team Anime's tricked out Liberty Walk LB Performance Ferrari 458 Italia.   Courtesy photo
Gumball 3000 Bun B
This year will be Houston-based rapper Bun B's fifth time to ride in the Gumball 3000 rally. Courtesy of Gumball 3000 Facebook
Gumball 3000 David Hasselhoff 2
The list of past Gumball 3000 celebrity alums includes David Hasselhoff. Courtesy of Gumball 3000 Facebook
Gumball 3000 rally
Fans gather to cheer on the Gumballers. Courtesy of Gumball 3000 Facebook
Gumball 3000 Ferrari hood
The hood of Team Anime's Ferrari. The car glows in the dark. Courtesy of Team Anime Facebook
Gumball 3000 Bun B instgram
Bun B gives a shout out to the Gumball 3000 via Instgram. Bun B Instagram
Gumball 3000 Michael Morrow
Gumball 3000 Bun B
Gumball 3000 David Hasselhoff 2
Gumball 3000 rally
Gumball 3000 Ferrari hood
Gumball 3000 Bun B instgram

One hundred drivers from all over the world are gearing up for life in the fast lane as the Gumball 3000 kicks into high gear on Memorial Day weekend. Fast cars, prestige, epic parties, hobnobbing with the rich and the famous... over the course of its 16-year history, the road race has morphed into a worldwide phenomenon.

The 3,000-mile journey spanning two continents in seven days has attracted the interest of high profile alums like David Hasselhoff, Oscar-winner Adrien Brody, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, Prince Talal M.A. Al-Faisal Al-Saud and H-town rapper Bun B, a four-time Gumballer (2010 - 2014), returning this year for a fifth time. 

 "I've been applying to The Gumball 3000 for 10 years. It's mostly billionaires, celebrities and rock stars, and they’re usually priority. This year I applied and got interviewed… and got in." 

Also representing Houston in this year's race are investor Michael Morrow and Roy Horlock of Horlock Custom Homes and Fiori Spa, who together make up Team Anime. 

“I've wanted to do something like this since I was 8 years old and saw The Cannonball Run," says Morrow. "I've been applying to The Gumball 3000 for 10 years. It's mostly billionaires, celebrities and rock stars, and they’re usually priority. This year I applied and got interviewed… and got in."

Horlock attributes his involvement to luck — and fate.

“I was on my way back from the Bahamas, reading a magazine on the plane and there was a story on the Gumball 3000. I told my wife, who was sitting next to me, that it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen and a total bucket list item. Three days later, Michael called with the news he’d been accepted, and invited me to come along,” Horlock recalls.

Aside from the need for speed, entrants must also have a fat wallet. The entry fee alone will set you back a cool $100,000. Add to that, expenses for travel, shipping your car transatlantic, tickets and fines, and the price of a sweet ride — in a sea of Lamborghinis, McLaren P1s and Bentleys, you can’t roll up in just any old car — plus decking it out, and the grand total comes in at just under a half million dollars.

Team Anime’s car of choice for the Gumball 3000? A tricked out Liberty Walk LB Performance Ferrari 458 Italia.

“I wanted it to be sexy yet aggressive so I came up with the (Anime) theme for the car: scantily clad girls with machine guns,” Morrow says. "Three artists in China, Florida and Canada worked nonstop for three months on the car's graphics. The car has been lowered. It has a wide body, an F-1 exhaust and custom wheels. And at night, it glows like Tron.

 The same Anime images as used for the Ferrari have been incorporated into Morrow's handmade custom boots by Rocket Buster and his pimped out Hugo Boss tuxedo with 700,000 stitches of hand embroidery.

Of course, you also have to dress the part. The same Anime images used for the Ferrari have been incorporated into Morrow's handmade custom boots by Rocket Buster and his pimped out Hugo Boss tuxedo with 700,000 stitches of hand embroidery. Horlock has settled upon wearing a more refined, simple black tux.

Originally founded by British entrepreneur Maximillion Cooper in 1999,  the Gumball 3000 has morphed from a short road trip from London to Remini, Italy and back, to a multi-city, trans-continental extravaganza. The rally of exotic luxury performance cars is neither a competition nor a legit race. Participants traveling at high speeds are subject to the laws of the public roads, although the rest of the rules go out the window in favor of a more laissez faire policy.

Gumballers will arrive in Stockholm for the first 1,500-mile leg of the seven-day rally from May 23 -30. They'll cruise through Oslo, Copenhagen and then Amsterdam, where the cars will be loaded onto private planes and flown overnight across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. The 1,500–mile U.S. segment picks up in San Francisco before heading to Los Angeles and ending in Sin City with a star-studded weekend of partying. 

Drivers will get a boost from legions of enthusiastic fans along the way. It's not unusual to see a crowd of hundreds of thousands of supporters, even millions in a few reported instances, gather for a firsthand view of all the action. Each day will be capped off with an outrageous, over-the-top bash (think hundreds of hot chicks and gents, booze galore, spins by world famous DJ’s, celebrity guests and more) that would make even Hugh Hefner envious.

“It’s the chance of lifetime to do something that almost no one ever does, and it will be fun having celebrity-like status, if even for a week,” says Horlock.

As for Morrow, he tells CultureMap, “what I’m looking forward to the most is driving across Europe and seeing all the Scandinavian countries from the perspective of a Ferrari show car. Some of the other Gumballers may have more money, but I put a lot of time and effort into my presentation. I even had a Team Anime-themed swimsuit made for one of the parties.“ 

For updates on Michael Morrow and Roy Horlock's Team Anime, head to Facebook. Follow the Gumball 3000 on Twitter and keep an eye out for news on celebrity rally participants including Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Afrojack and deadmau5.

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