A Smart Car wins the 3,000-mile Cannonball Run. Inspired by the Erwin G. “Cannonball” Baker and in defiance of the then introduced 55 mph US speed limit, rebellious journalist Brock Yates launched the “Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash”. The Cannonball Run was made into a comedy movie and released in 1981 staring Burt Reynolds.
Cannonball Run, was an unofficial, if not outlaw, car race run four times in the 1970s. Magazine writer and auto racer Brock Yates and Car and Driver editor Steve Smith started the race in 1971.
In January 2006 Jan Dechamps purchased the license for the European event and took the event to further greatness in 2008 bringing even more new Cannonballers to the race, creating new stories and new legends.
A Smart Fortwo has beaten the more traditional supercars to take glory in the 3,000-mile Cannonball Run.
The epic dash across Europe is an annual event, with a starting grid line-up typically made up of Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ferraris and other high performance sports cars.
The legal road race is inspired by the famous 80s film starring Burt Reynolds.
Lifelong friends David Ward and Adrian Hull, from Essex, saw off their exotic opponents in a five-year-old, second-hand smart fortwo Brabus, which was the smallest car in the 40-vehicle field.
The event, which started at Sandown Park and took in France, Portugal and Spain with a finish in Brighton, saw the duo awarded first place for completing the route at the exact stipulated requirement of an average of 61mph.
It was the smart's frugal fuel economy that really provided the edge for the 46-year-olds and their Union Jack-liveried smart.
The performance version of the fortwo range, which features a 700cc, 74bhp, three-cylinder turbo engine, is capable of 53.3 miles per gallon when driven on the combined fuel cycle.
This enabled the car to spend less time at the petrol pumps than its thirstier rivals.
"The downfall of the bigger cars was that they were forced to stop so often, so while they kept overtaking us, we eventually went past them at the next petrol station when they needed to fill up again," said David, who runs an estate agency in South Woodford.
"We kept at a decent speed and still averaged around 35 miles per gallon.
The duo are now planning further adventures in their smart car, including next year's Gumball Rally from Los Angeles to Miami and a drive from Land's End to John o'Groat's in just 12 hours.
With only an ECU and suspension upgrade, the five-year-old, second-hand smart fortwo BRABUS of David Ward and Adrian Hull took victory in the Cannonball Run – a 3,000 mile dash across Europe inspired by the famous 80s film starring Burt Reynolds and Jackie Chan.
Contrary to popular belief, this Cannonball Run is not an illegal race which spans thousands of miles across numerous state and/or country borders. Instead it is a road rally where an average speed, in this case 61mph, is the target over a predetermined route. Despite the participation of numerous pavement scorching six-figure supercars, who gets there first is not the objective.
“The downfall of the bigger cars was that they were forced to stop so often, so while they kept overtaking us, we eventually went past them at the next petrol station when they needed to fill up again,” said David, who runs an estate agency in South Woodford. “We kept at a decent speed and still averaged around 35 miles per gallon.”
As first time participants, the run started in Sandown Park into France, Portugal and Spain with a finish in Brighton. Making David and Adrian’s victory even more miraculous was the fact that they were the only entrants without an in-car satellite navigation system, preferring a traditional European road map instead.