24 Hours of Lemons

The 24 Hours of Lemons is a series of endurance races held on paved road race courses across the United States. The name of the race series is a play on words alluding to both the long-running annual 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race in Le Mans, France, and the notion of unreliable cars being referred to as “lemons.” Teams of at least 2 drivers compete for up to 24 hours in race-prepared cars with a price limit of no more than $500 — not including safety equipment. These races set themselves apart from the typical road race by the severe price limit imposed on the contestants’ vehicles, the unusual penalties and punishments handed out by judges, and their blatant disregard for traditional racing politicking. Most events are 14½ hours long, with sessions on Saturday and Sunday running from 6-10 hours long. There is usually one full 24-hour endurance race each year. Penalties include metal silhouettes of various farm animals welded to the roof to reduce aerodynamic efficiency. Any car that flips in the process of the race is slapped with the “Why Am I Upside-Down?” penalty, which disqualifies them from the race and bars them from other races for one year. Other awards handed out include the “People’s Curse” award for the car driven by the biggest jerk of the day and the “Organizer’s Choice” award given to the team that best represents the friendly spirit of the race. The organizers announce annual team and driver champions — based on points accrued from overall race finishing positions — at the end of each season.