What is 24 Hours of Lemons?

An endurance roadracing series for cars that cost $500 or less.

What’s a $500 car?

It’s a car bought and track-prepped for $500 or less (not including safety equipment, brakes, and wheels/tires).

Do $500 cars really exist?

Absolutely. See a $1000 car on Craigslist? Bring $400 cash and a 12er of Old Milwaukee. Nine times out of ten, you’ll be driving it home.

What cars are eligible?

Pretty much any four-wheeled machine that was street-legal when made and passes our safety inspection today. Smog, insurance, or title aren’t required.

What if I spent more than $500?

If our judges decide you spent over the $500 limit, they can assign negative laps to your standings. Your cheaty-ass Spec Miata will still start the race when the green drops–it just may be working Lap -629.

What kind of special equipment is needed?

Cars need a legal 6-point or better cage, a race seat, race belts, an extinguisher or onboard suppression system (suppression systems are mandatory starting in 2019), a kill switch, and either a 100% stock fuel system or pro-quality fuel cell. Drivers need a legal helmet, head-and-neck restraint, and fire-resistant suit/gloves/shoes. See the Rules to get the particulars.

How much will it cost?

If you want to go wheel-to-wheel racing, it doesn’t get much cheaper. Entry fees are listed here. You can borrow the safety gear from a teammate, or rent it from various online vendors, or buy a full set from us. Sleeping bags, gas, bologna sandwiches, and car-building costs vary hugely. There are great threads about cage costs, and fab shops on the Lemons Forum.

Can I modify the car?

Unless it puts you afoul of a safety rule, any mod is allowed. Just remember, it’ll count toward the build total, so be ready to talk price with the judges. Absurd non-performance enhancing mods are usually exempted: Don’t lose sleep about penalty laps incurred for the costs of putting a Suzuki Sidekick inside a pop-top camp trailer or a Dodge slant-6 in your E-30 BMW.

Where can I get answers and help?

Hit the Lemons Forum to learn from other racers. See the Lemons Registration Help page for help getting signed up. Look at the How to Not Fail Tech guide for car-safety questions, and the Lemons Rulebook for everything else. And if that doesn’t do it, just drop us a line.

Do I need prior training or experience?

Nope — just a valid street driver’s license.

Is everyone part of a team?

Yep — all 24 Hours of Lemons entries have 4-6 drivers and any number of crew members.

How do I start a team and get signed up?

The captain invites drivers and crew to join the team. Then the captain (that’s Olde English for cat herder) makes sure they properly register, organizes the build, and/or cracks the whip on getting it all done. Don’t have any friends dumb enough to join you? Our forums have teams looking for drivers or post your own personals ad.

Can I just come and watch?

Absolutely—all-access spectator tickets are sold at the gate. Check the individual event pages for details.

What am I getting myself into?

You have no idea. Check out some of our previous race recaps on YouTube.

What is this? 

It’s our original logo. We’ve come a long way, baby.