LeMons: Racing Junk Cars

Photo: Fabrizio Constantini / NY TImes

Le Mans is a prestigious French endurance car race lasting 24 hours, which is "nasty, brutish, and not short enough," according to Jay Lamm. So he created LeMons as an homage:

Conceived in 2006 in mock homage to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, the LeMons is likewise a marathon of man and machine. But unlike the gentlemanly Gallic race, LeMons is a 24-hour brawl and, more defining, nice cars are not welcome. The rules say that teams can spend no more than $500 on their vehicles before adding safety gear.

So this is a race of junkers, and the one that lasts from Saturday to Sunday while turning the most laps is the winner, rewarded with a prize of $1,500 — all of it in nickels.

Eddie Alterman of The New York Times has the story: Link - via digg

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First; it's not all about the money. How many people do you know that play softball, soccer, pool, volleyball, you name it, and expect a return on what they spend on their sport of choice? Bet it's not many.

Second: The requirements for roll cages, suits, helmets, decent tires/brakes, etc... is for SAFETY. Liability issues require that (this is the USofA). Besides; I sure wouldn't want to be racing in a pack of any size if I didn't have some assurance that they'd be able to negotiate a turn, slow or stop safely. Even with all the safety requirements, someone was killed in a race this year; without them the casualty count would undoubtedly have been higher, and lawsuits would've shut down the organization entirely.

The LeMons organizers and racers know what they're doing, and don't want those who don't know what they're doing on the track; they would only be a danger to themselves and others. But there ain't nuthin' elite about LeMons. If someone wants to race but never has before, there are plenty of opportunities within LeMons to learn from others, but as in a lot of things, a know-it-all attitude won't get you anywhere.
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First.....the prize barely covers the enterance fee for most teams. $500 for the car and $100 per each driver (4-6 drivers are required) plus $75 for the non driving team mambers.
Second....this doesn't include all the many extras that need to be done/required to have the car race ready...roll cage, suits and helmets (where 415$ is the "cheap" selection), special seatbelts, special seats if they don't meet height requirement...ect

This sounded like an interesting event...I was actually stoked till I read all the various requirements.....they say "nice cars aren't welcome" but this is still an event for the racing elite.
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LeMons is what true racing is about; no corporate sponsors, no big prizes, no high-dollar equipment... The racers and support teams are there just for the love of the sport, and for fun. And when someone is suspected to be cheating, the punishments can be, umm, a little severe; like this BMW that "won" the People's Curse award and got chewed up by some heavy equipment.

Check out Jalopnik.com for complete LeMons coverage.
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