Why it's Monte Carlo or bust for a load of car-loving celebrities

Chicken, get the car in the picture. They're interested in the car!"

Chicken, get the car in the picture. They're interested in the car!"

I wouldn't be so sure, Caprice. Eye-catching as her rally-prepared Porsche 911 was, it was difficult for our photographer not to focus on the supermodel before him. During my all-too-brief time with her she told me that, after her experiences on Celebrity Big Brother, she won't be doing any more reality TV. "It's not for me. I met some nice people but I didn't enjoy it. I had a hard time being myself. Everyone was fighting for attention, and all girls like attention." Caprice fighting for attention? Against John McCririck?

At any rate, there was no sign of her having to fight for attention on London's South Bank. It was an impressive sight watching Caprice graciously agree to be photographed with strangers who just sidled up to us. More magnificent still was the way she put our snapper firmly in his place and, I have to admit, she was right. Ish. For the whole point of Caprice turning up at Waterloo on a nippy morning was to publicise something called the Gumball Rally. Caprice, her co-driver Pep (from 1980s duo Pepsi and Shirley), and various other celebs are on their way to Monte Carlo. By way of explaining what the Gumball is, Caprice says: "I love driving. I drive as fast as I can. Just for the fun of it." Does she understand much about how cars work? "Oh, no. There's this beautiful thing just here. I press it and go as fast as I can." The technical term for that "beautiful thing" is "accelerator pedal". Is that all there is to it? Sort of. But it is a remarkable event.

The Gumball is a car rally for rich and famous people. You pay £10,000 to enter and get to drive from Waterloo to Monte Carlo taking in Prague, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Sicily and Rome on the way. Jamiroquai's Jay Kay, Jodie Kidd, Starsky & Hutch's Owen Wilson, Kill Bill's Daryl Hannah and DC Shoes skateboard legend Rob Dyrdek will all be driving Ferrari Enzos, Pagani Zondas, Porsche GTs, old Aston Martins, Rolls-Royces and even the Dukes of Hazzard's General Lee, or at least version of it. It's a money-making enterprise for the Gumball's organisers, the celebs get some publicity, and there's a charitable angle as well, with money raised going to Everyman, the testicular cancer fund.

The first Gumball 3000 took place in 1999, when its host and founder, Maximillion Cooper, getting his idea from the film The Cannonball Run. He invited 50 friends to take part in a Wacky Races-style 3,000-mile party around the US. Now it's cruising into Europe. Sounds great. So what could possibly go wrong?

The tricky bit, I suggest to Caprice, is the small matter of the law. She was gorgeous in her defiance. Yes, really. Gorgeous. "I don't care about speed limits," she said. "But what if you get stopped by the police?" "I'll try and get out of it. I'll have a supply of Caprice calenders. I'd be a schmuck not to try."

This is not an attitude to road safety I entirely agree with. I think about suggesting she get a few lessons from my good friends at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, but then wonder what kind of a bloke she might think I was. I quickly change the subject to fiscal policy. Yes, taxation.

Caprice tells me that she pays less here than she would in her native California, and that she wants to become a British citizen. "I have to wait a year for my passport," she says regretfully. We may well be seeing more of Caprice soon.

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