Everyone loves a comeback story. John Wick. Rocky 2. The Incredibles. Iconic! But what about when a car is getting too old for that? Then a car racing league may have the answer.
Introducing 24 hours of lemons. No, we don’t mean 24 hours of LeMans, the historic sports car race in France. This one is the brainchild of motoring journalist Jay Lamm and is a wild series of endurance races for $500 cars. Yep, that means any car, bought and track-prepped for less than five hundred bucks (not including safety gear, phew!).
In the words of its esteemed organizers: “Racing’s not just for rich idiots. Racing’s for all idiots.”
Racers need to get hold of a budget banger and get it fine-tuned for wheel-to-wheel combat. Each car needs to be fitted with a cage, racing seat, kill switch and on-board fire suppression system and drivers are required to wear helmets and a fire-resistant suit.
Races and rallies take place across the states—there’s about two dozen to choose from—and events usually run over two days, with 12-16 hours of racing each day as teams try to notch up the most laps of the track. For the really hardcore racers there are a handful of events that run straight through a 24 hour period.
You don’t enter 24 hours of lemons for the money. This race is about celebrating the effort a team has gone to get the worst possible car over the line. That and the best costumes.
Cars are assigned different classes depending on how likely the judges think they are. Class A cars (which have “a prayer of winning”) will win $400. Class B gets $500 and Class C, can score a whopping $600.
One of the most coveted prizes is the Index of Effluency, which goes to the team with a car that seems like the craziest proposition for a racer, yet somehow racks up a decent number of laps. They win a hefty $601. Whoop.
Oh and the first full-EV to win a 24 hours of lemons endurance race overall wins a grand prize of $50,000 in nickels. Kerrrr-ching.
You’ve probably figured out that 24 hours of lemons is a car race with a small budget and a big heart. It’s not the winning—it’s the taking part that counts. And when taking part means hours upon hours doing laps in a junk car then you know you’ve earned some appreciation.
And if anyone can appreciate a junk car, it’s Peddle. We love seeing these clunkers making one last ride, and when it’s time to come in for a pit (like permanently) wonder no more “where should i sell my junk car” because we’re here to pay the owners on the spot for their retired racers. When life gives you lemons…