24 Hours of Lemons Is the Craziest Amateur Racing Series

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A “lemon” is a car deemed to have defects that have a negative impact on its value. But for one organization, lemon cars are the star.
24 Hours of Lemons is an endurance car racing series that takes place across the world and features cars that were bought and track-prepped for $500 or less (not including safety equipment, brakes, and wheels/tires). The name “24 Hours of Lemons” is a parody of the annual 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
This is truly amateur racing, and meant for drivers interested in racing but don’t want to spend millions. In fact, anyone can participate, as long as they have a valid driver’s license. All entries have at least two drivers, but there’s no prior racing experience required!
A red car racing in dirt
24 Hours of Lemons is an endurance car racing series.

Rules of the Racing series

According to the racing series’ website, pretty much “any four-wheel machine” that was street-legal when made is eligible. Cars also need to pass a safety inspection to participate.
There’s a penalty if judges decide that more than $500 was spent on a car. Judges often assign negative laps to those cars. Some car modifications are also allowed, as long as it doesn’t violate a safety rule and doesn’t go over the $500 limit.
The cars are also required to have certain racing equipment to participate, including a legal 6-point or better cage, a race seat, race belts, a kill switch, an onboard fire suppression system, and either a 100% stock fuel system or pro-quality fuel cell.
As for the drivers, they need to have a legal helmet, head-and-neck restraint, and fire-resistant suit/gloves/shoes.

Racing awards

24 Hours of Lemons also has many different awards.
The grand prize is the Index of Effluency award, which goes to the driver who did the most with the worst car. It’s a play on the real Le Mans race’s Index of Efficiency, which in the 1960s was awarded based on fuel mileage in the 1960s, according to Sporting News.
To determine the Index of Effluency winner, race organizers use a proprietary calculation of how bad a lemon entry is versus how high it finished.
Some other awards include
  • Winner on Laps
  • Most Heroic Fix
  • Organizer’s Choice
  • Winner, Class B (The Bad)
  • Winner, Class C (The Ugly)

More racing events coming up soon

According to Hot Cars, the races don’t actually last 24 hours—it’s more like 14 or 15 hours, due to the condition of the cars that are racing, and for safety.
Even though there are rules when it comes to maximum track time, the racing event reportedly set a Guinness World Record in 2015 for most participants in one race, at 216.
A one-time entry fee is $1,430 per team (which can include one car and up to four drivers. Additional drivers are $195). The entry fee covers registration, paddock pass, track time, track insurance, and on-site ambulance crew. Drivers must also have valid Lemons Competition Membership, which costs $75.
If you are interested in racing or checking out a race near you, take a look at the upcoming event schedule.
Spectator tickets are generally available for $30 at the gate.

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