Coming to a city near you!

The 18th annual Gumball 3000 Rally has officially got off the grid. And among the many stunning cars are a few famous faces too.

Competitors in the event – which headed off from Merrion Square in Dublin on Saturday and ends in Bucharest on May 7th – include legendary actor David Hasselhoff, former F1 ace David Coulthard and world heavyweight champion David Haye. Drivers will cover all 3,000 miles of the route entirely on public roads.

Originally set up by entrepreneur Maximillion Cooper in 1999 (and based on the 1976 movie of the same name), the Gumball 3000 has gone on to be one of the most colourful events in the motoring calendar. Those participating – and those spectating - can expect to be entertained with live music, action sports and thrilling car shows. It is expected that the televised and online audience will reach over 100 million households in 60 countries.

This year 30 nationalities are represented, driving 120 cars from vintage classics to modern day hypercars including Pagani, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, Koenigsegg, Jaguar, Bentley and Rolls Royce.

En route to their final destination those racing will drive through Belfast, Edinburgh, Manchester and London before heading over to Luxembourg for the European leg of the competition.

The cost of entry for this years event cost each of the 120 participants £35,000. And the prize? Well, the prestige of taking part - and winning - is the 'driving' force for most. Previous participants have included TV presenter Jodie Kidd, actor Adrien Brody and fashion designer Donna Karan.

The winner of last years race was Team KQWest.

By Tracey McBain

Pit stop in Belfast featured this spectacular Charles Hurst line-up