Gumball 3000 Starts in Miami Beach

Miami Beach is the starting line for the a motor rally that spans the Atlantic Ocean.

By Julia Bagg and Justin Finch
|  Friday, Jun 6, 2014  |  Updated 6:55 AM EDT
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The Gumball 3000 is taking off Thursday from Miami Beach and will end in Ibiza, Spain. NBC 6's Justin Finch explains how.

The Gumball 3000 is taking off Thursday from Miami Beach and will end in Ibiza, Spain. NBC 6's Justin Finch explains how.

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There's nothing new about a bunch of cars on Ocean Drive, but on Thursday the cars were decked out for the Gumball 3000.

The 3,000-mile motor rally starts on Miami Beach and stretches through public roads across the globe, all for charity.

Drivers began the race at 10 a.m. The 120 cars will make their way from Miami to Atlanta, then to New York, and then across the Atlantic into Europe before ending in Ibiza, an island in Spain.

"It's an amazing journey," said fan Andrew Lyvovsky. "It's basically like the Great Race cut in half."

Now, how exactly are the cars crossing an ocean? They'll be making it to Europe by freight plane and cargo ship.

"We're flying all of the cars and all of the entrants over the Atlantic, so we've got two Boeing 747s to fly all the cars and then we've charted our own jet as well to fly all our entrants," organizer John Marcar said.

The cars will be wrapped in a variety of colors and patterns. One of them in particular might stand out: a Ferrari belonging to electronic music DJ Dedmau5.

"I'm obsessed with cars, and this is like, nuts," fan David Marchette said. "Some of these are like so crazy, I don't even know what they are."

Sponsors, like Russian dating site Anastasia Date, say the Gumball is more of an experience than a race.

"It's an opportunity for people who really love things that are best in life to get together and experience it," said Lewis Goldber, who represents Anastasia Date.

The cars paid with the most cash will leave first for the race. The money will go to different charities around the world.

The rally last came to South Beach in 2009. Organizers are hoping they can raise $1 million on this year's race.

"Last year we raised just over $800,000 for youth charities all around the world. With that we built a skate park in Philadelphia with Tony Hawk and the Tony Hawk Foundation," Marcar said.

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