Bode Miller has teamed with Swedish X Games champion freeskier Jon Olsson to drive the13th annual Gumball 3000 Rally, a Tour de France style auto race stretching from London to Istanbul beginning Thursday, May 26.

“I have no idea what to expect, but I know it’s going to be a cool experience,” said Miller, “I’ve always loved that kind of model for auto racing – it’s unique.”

Created in 1999, what began as a group of friends rallying across Europe has evolved into a global lifestyle brand with crowds of over a million people attending last year’s event. The 2011 edition will feature over 100 cars that will set off from London on a 3000 mile journey across 10 countries in seven days.

The Gumball is as much about the tricked out rally cars as it is about who’s driving them. Participants this year include NFL stars Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts’ linebacker Cody Glenn along with hip hop icon EVE and David Hasselhoff, who made his fame by driving the original supercar in the 80s Television hit Knight Rider.

“It’s definitely going to be fun driving, but it’s also going to be cool to check out all the other cars,” said Miller, who drives an Audi RS6 between FIS Alpine World Cup tour events.

The race will close roads and city centers following a route that incorporates Paris, Barcelona, Monte Carlo (attending the Monaco F1 race), Milan, Venice, Zagreb, Belgrade and Sofia before crossing the finish line in Istanbul on June 1st.

For Miller, doing the race was all about timing. His entry started as a conversation with Norwegian alpine skier Leif Haugen and turned into a more of a possibility after training with Olsson and his brother Hans last summer in New Zealand.

“Both Jon and his brother ski on Head and have used some of my skis the last couple of years,” said Miller. “So we started the conversation last summer while training in New Zealand. Jon has done the Gumball before and is really into it. Normally its one of those things you say you’ll do and then it just doesn’t work out. This time, it just worked out.”

In addition to sports stars and celebrities, the Gumball also draws Sheikhs, entrepreneurs and dot com billionaires driving high end vehicles by Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, and Porsche, among others. This year’s race will also feature over 20 eco and concept electric cars.

The race begins Thursday, May 26 in London’s Covent Garden.

Gumball 3000 Schedule
May 25th – Launch Party
May 26th – London, England Start
May 26th – Paris, France
May 27th – Barcelona, Spain
May 28th – Monaco, Spain – F1
May 29th – Monaco, Spain – F1
May 30th – Venice, Italy
May 31st – Zagreb, Croatia
May 31st – Belgrade, Serbia
June 1st – Sofia, Bulgaria
June 1st – Istanbul, Turkey

Article Tags: Alpine , Story , Top Story
Hank McKee
Senior Editor
In memoriam: The veteran of the staff, McKee started with Ski Racing in 1980. Over the seasons, he covered virtually every aspect of the sport, from the pro tours to junior racing, freestyle and World Cup alpine competition. He wrote the first national stories for many U.S. team stars, and was still around to report on their retirements. “Longevity has its rewards,” he said, “but it’s a slow process.”



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