By Jay Tilles
Joel Zimmerman, better known as Deadmau5, has joined 80 teams racing from Miami to Ibiza as part of the 16th Gumball 3000 rally.
But unlike some Ferrari owners, Zimmerman doesn’t keep his in a garage only to touch the pavement on an occasional Sunday; he’s taken his love of super-cars further than most after customizing his Ferrari 458 with one of the Internet’s most popular memes: an 8-bit animated flying pop-tart cat.
With his new Nyan Cat-themed vinyl car coined EPICLULZ, Zimmerman signed up to show off this 562 horsepower Italian exotic in very public fashion. The EDM producer accepted an invitation to participate in the rally, the longest running high-speed globetrotting race in the world.
Rarely a private person, Zimmerman will webcast the adventure to his legion of fans hungry for hijinks. Joined by Tory Belleci of Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, Zimmerman has aptly named his team #teampurrari. Fans have lined freeway overpasses to catch a glimpse. Some have been more lucky.
The Gumball 3000 entry fee is £40,000 ($67,000) although many of its celebrities are invited by CEO Maximillion Cooper. Of the 120 cars running the 2014 rally, most are piloted by socialites and wealthy individuals with a few musicians, actors and athletes sprinkled in. The seven-day charity event is filled with fast cars and parties from Miami to Ibiza, with their cars being transported across the Atlantic via giant military-style cargo jet.
The rally began Wednesday (June 4) in Miami’s South Beach and will have traveled through Daytona, Charlotte and Atlanta before reaching New York’s South Street Seaport at 6 p.m. tonight. Of the U.S. teams, about half will be flown to Scotland, joining 40 local teams. The race then continues from Edinburgh through Manchester, London, Paris, D’Albi and Barcelona before reaching Ibiza.
Although Zimmerman’s Purrari may have one of the most creative wraps, it’s hardly the rally’s most radical ride. While the Scottish Team 17 boasts a 2009 Rolls Royce Phantom in burnt orange and black, Team 63 sports a $300,000 Brabus-modified Mercedes G-700 6×6. Team 46 even boasts a $1 million 2013 Bugatti Veyron. But among all the Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martens, Rolls, Mercedes and American muscle, the biggest attention-getter will be driven by Team 74, which pilot the Batmobile Tumbler, as seen in The Dark Knight.
Not to be outdone, Zimmerman sported a new mau5 head made of light weight carbon fiber, perfect for driving. Or not.
Artists in this year’s rally roster include Eve (soon to be Mrs. Maximillion Cooper), Deadmau5, Tinie Tempah, DJ Drama, and Bun B along with infamous L.A. photographer Estevan Oriol, Frank’s Chop Shop owner, Mike Malbo, photographer 13thWitness, music video director Jason Goldwatch and David Hasselhof, who has participated in every Gumball since 2008.
“A Gumballer is a driver with a Marine mentality. We’re very serious and we’re very focused,” explained Bun B to Rolling Stone. “We never leave people in jail, and people go to jail quite often for speeding or reckless driving. We tend to be doing more than five miles over the limit.”
Former Gumballers include Tony Hawk, Bam Margera, Johnny Knoxville, Travis Barker, David Guetta, David Hasselhoff, Xzibit, the Dudesons, Bun B, DJ Muggs, Eve, Daryl Hannah, Ryan Dunn and Adrien Brody.