What is 24 Hours of Lemons?
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 car racing equipment is needed?
Cars need a legal 6-point or better cage, a race seat, race belts, an onboard fire suppression system, 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 car 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 E30 BMW.
Where can I get answers and help?
Do I need prior car racing training or experience?
Nope — just a valid street driver’s license. Who thought car racing would be so easy?
Is everyone part of a team?
Yep — all 24 Hours of Lemons entries have at least two drivers and any number of crew members. Car racing takes a village. Or, at least you and a buddy.
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? You can check out the matchmaking section on our forum, sign up as a solo driver on our OkStupid matchmaking tool, or check out the matchmaking Facebook group.
Will my team get accepted?
Probably! For starters, don’t miss any deadlines—just check the schedule for the important ones. After that, we look for interesting cars and Team Concepts (you’ll fill all of that out during the application process). Just convince us that you don’t suck, and you’re in. Oh yeah, and rookie teams get accepted automatically. We figure you newbies have plenty of other stuff to worry about.
Can I just come and watch?
What the heck is the I.O.E.?
The I.O.E. (Index of Effluency) is the grand prize awarded at each 24 Hours of Lemons race. Using a proprietary calculation of how bad a Lemons entry is versus how high it finished, race organizers bestow the award on only the most worthy teams. Winners of the I.O.E. enjoy the highest honors (a low bar, we know) of any Lemons trophy.