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In Real Life, the racing of any kind of vehicle is very dangerous, and many people have died or suffered serious injury while doing so. Things have gotten better, but it is still a potentially deadly sport truly only kept in the reins of safety by the skill of the drivers. However, there is also the fact that in real life, except for off-road rallies and endurance races, most races simply involve going from point A to point B, or driving in a circle for 500 or so laps. Because of this, writers tend to spice things up a bit. The result is a Wacky Race, a race so improbable, so outrageous, so dangerous, that it makes Pikes Peak look like a Sunday drive.

The race often has rules more akin to a Demolition Derby than a normal race, and often takes place on an improbable course. Courses built around entire cities, courses with rollercoaster-like architecture, courses floating in midair, courses existing only in an alternate racing dimension, and courses in locations where it's generally not safe to be standing, let alone racing, are common. In addition, the vehicles themselves are often specialized. If they're cars, expect them to have weapons and other modifications.

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If they're go-karts, expect a lot of Power Ups to be littering the course—if not, plain old Car Fu will be highly encouraged. And if they aren't normal vehicles, expect them to be some amazing sci-fi vehicle capable of pretty much defying the laws of physics. The Vehicles are often themed after their drivers (who are just as wacky as the race itself). The Rules of the Road may be altered arbitrarily. And of course, expect the prize to be some sort of MacGuffin.

It's almost traditional for a set of characters in a non-racing series to have an episode or spinoff where they engage in this. The hero usually wins, (or a random side character) the Ensemble Dark Horse always gets the coolest car, and the villain cheats and has it backfire hilariously. And, of course, someone always Drives Like Crazy.

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Most Mascot Racer games involve this.

Also see Unconventional Vehicle Chase, Vehicular Combat, Chariot Race, Fictional Sport, Pseudolympics.


Examples

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    Advertising 
  • This 2014 Peugeot commercial brilliantly recreates a live-action version of the Wacky Races cartoon, culminating in the protagonist giving Penelope Pitstop a ride and kicking Muttley out of his car.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Anpanman has had a couple racing episodes (one was a half-hour special, the other a theatrical short). Some vehicles were go-karts (by most of the racers, even the super heroes. Baikinman dressed as a mysterious racer in both episodes until his cover was blown), a few had bike pedal-powered cars (Creampanda, but he's a kid, so he can't drive. The Donburiman Trio, on the other hand, had Tendonman winning a bet, so the car gets to look like him, and he doesn't have to control it, while Katsudonman and Kamameshidon are forced under the kart controlling it), and even steeds (the cowboys using their horses/grasshopper (in Arinkokiddo's case)). Both times involved Baikinman using Dokinchan (and Horrorman at one point) to help rig the race.
  • The 2012 Busou Shinki series had one episode like this. It gets more and more wacky towards the end.
  • Episode 9 of Carnival Phantasm turns the Holy Grail War into such a race with vehicles distributed by lottery; Rin/Archer got a sports convertible, Caster/Soichiro got an old-time car, Lancer got a drag racer (Which, he learned later, can't turn), Illya turned Berserker into an army tank, Shinji/Rider got a regular bicycle, and Shirou/Saber got a lion-themed kiddie ride that was coin operated. Assassin later showed up driving a truck that carried the temple gate he's bound to, and then Gilgamesh appeared driving a motorcycle.
  • Digimon Frontier has an episode like this. All of the kids, Neemon, and a villian each get onto a train. The episode proceedes as a big battle, with only Takuya completing the race.
  • Doctor Slump has a chapter like this. Special mention goes to author Akira Toriyama for having his own Author Avatar participating in the race.
  • The TV series of Future GPX Cyber Formula has this with more wacky racing courses like a track with ice hills and roads with time-floods, with booster-equipped cars as the racing machines. In the OVAs however, this aspect has been largely abandoned.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run is basically the horse racing version. It's a race across the whole United States in a alternate history Wild West, featuring competitors with flamboyant clothing and special powers. One even eschews the horse and runs on his own two feet.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! featured a race involving a go-kart (Fumu / Tiff and Bun / Tuff), a Model T (the Mayor and wife), a big old fashioned limousine (King Dedede and Escargo(o)n), an old-school Formula 1 car (Meta Knight) and a spaceship (Kirby).
  • MegaMan NT Warrior was not one to miss out. It also makes a good example of how the vehicles will reflect the role and personality of their riders: MegaMan drove a F1 car, ProtoMan rode a Cool Bike, Roll drove a silly-looking coupe, and Force Three all rode together in a train.
  • Episode 18 of Osomatsu-san where every character in the show compete on a race to settle who should be the true protagonist.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • An Pokémon: The Original Series episode had a race between trainers riding one of their Pokémon (or in one case, Pikachu riding Squirtle).
    • One episode during the Johto saga had something called "Extreme Pokémon", where the Pokémon pulled the trainer on a skateboard.
    • And the Summer School arc in the middle of the Sinnoh saga concludes with a relay race where racers change mounts at certain points.
  • An episode of Ranma ½ has the cast going to an amusement park and competing in a go-kart race to win a full-course meal. It goes as well as you'd expect, and in the end the winners are Kasumi and Nabiki.
  • REDLINE takes this to ridiculous levels. Tailenders, too.
  • Scramble Wars was a Super-Deformed Wacky Race parody featuring several anime produced by AIC (such as Bubblegum Crisis, Gall Force, Megazone 23, Mospeada, and Riding Bean).
  • SD Gundam did a Wacky Races homage episode, complete with Gundam ZZ villains Yazan Gable and Gemon Bajack as transparent parodies of Dick Dastardly and Muttley. Sadly, due to licensing issues, this short couldn't be included in a recent DVD collection.
  • Episode 21 of Sonic X had Sonic competing with Sam Speed in a race throughout Station Square and the desert beyond it.
  • Speed Racer had the Mach 5, Dangerous Courses and a Vehicular Acrobatics Team. And let's not get started on the movie!
  • The 1993 OVA Royal Revival (volume 1) of Time Bokan involving all the Terrible Trio villains of the franchise in an epic race with the winner became protagonist of the next volume. Naturally all try to cheat and sabotage the opponents, but, at the end, the winner is the Dorombo team from Yatterman, the most famous.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- has the dragonfly races in the world of Piffle with all the racers being cameo characters from other CLAMP series.
  • In Gosho Aoyama's manga Yaiba, there's an extra arc that involves the main characters racing for a wish granted by God himself. Hilarity Ensues. There's also an Author Avatar character with the fourth-wall breaking capacity of erasing cars in front of him and redrawing them behind him.
  • This is serious business for Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's where everybody plays card games while riding motorcycles. If it wasn't for the autopilot, we'd have some serious wreckage here...

    Comics 
  • Archie's RC Racers was one of the stranger entries in the Archie Comics franchise. In it, two teams of Riverdale teenagers, led by Archie and Reggie, travel across the United States racing radio-controlled cars, while foiling the dastardly schemes of the villainous Babette and her bungling henchmen.
  • The shortlived comic book Chassis centered around aircar racing in an Alternate History where World War II never happened.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: The italian 4-part story "La Grande Corsa" (The Big Race) has a time controlling midget steals Scrooge's dime and makes him participate in a rally (in the Duckburg from past, present and future) against his opponents, and with the help of his friends and family, in order to take it back.
    • The Carl Barks story "The Hard Loser" involves Donald competing against Huey, Dewie, and Louie in an anything goes horse race. Donald finishes first, only to find out the last horse to finish is considered the winner. Donald takes this about as well as you might expect. Barks revisited the concept in "The Chuckwagon Derby", with Donald and Uncle Scrooge racing antique cars.
  • The second arc of The Fuse, "Gridlock", involves illegal street racing on a space station colony, using magnetic skimmer-bikes on the outside of the station in hard vacuum.
  • This is the reason why Supersurf, a Sky Surfing competitive tournament, is traditionally illegal in Judge Dredd; Sky Surfing itself is legal, but is done at high altitudes where there's plenty of open air for people to move around in. Supersurf, by comparison, is done much lower, using the crowded Mega City environment to generate obstacles and really test a sky-surfer's judgment and agility. Sky-surfers frequently die in Supersurf, and often cause accidents that can kill many other people in the process. Taken Up to Eleven in Supersurf 11, where the man who organizes the tournament turns it into a deliberate death course, with lethal booby traps and even gun encampments ordered to open fire on the racers — the racers only compete when he manages to appeal to their ego, and it ended in a Kill 'Em All scenario, until it was retconned away.
  • The Nightwing (Rebirth) storyline "In Harm's Way" has him enter a motorbike race on an Irish island riddled with dimensional tunnels, the prize being to ask one question of Cimialcinnus, Celtic god of pathways. The competitors are a range of aliens, humans, and costumes, mostly with appropriate Themecycles.
  • A story in Superboy had Roxy enter Cadmus's Whiz Wagon in a super-powered cross-country car race called the Demolition Run, organised by a mysterious crime-boss called Mr Big.

    Films — Animated 
  • The "Japan World Cup" is a horse racing Widget Series that is all about this. For starters, half the "racehorses" aren't even horses (and one is clearly just two guys in a horse costume), and even the ones that are have their own bizarre and eclectic themes. Only the first horse seems perfectly normal... right up until it stands on it's hind legs and starts doing the Charleston across the finish line. And it gets even wackier with each sequel.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf took the exact format of Wacky Races and replaced the normal racers with monsters. The plot centered around Shaggy being turned into a werewolf to participate in the race, because the real werewolf had retired to Florida.
  • "Sugar Rush" from Wreck-It Ralph is one big candy-coated Expy of Mario Kart.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cannonball (1976), a classic David Carradine B-Movie Action Flick, takes inspiration from the "Cannonball Baker" cross-country race.
  • The Cannonball Run (1981) (based on the same races), a slapstick comedy starring Burt Reynolds and Dom De Luise as the most "normal" team in a field of broad ethnic stereotypes. Includes an early US role for Jackie Chan — playing a Japanese driver, with Richard "Eegah!, Jaws" Kiel as his copilot in the sequel.
  • Death Race 2000, in which points are awarded for running over pedestrians.
    • And the 2008 remake Death Race, which is a more standard three-lap race around a closed circuit, with all of the vehicles heavily armed and all racers out to kill each other.
  • The Great Race, which served as the inspiration for the Wacky Races.
  • The Gumball Rally (1976), a slapstick comedy loosely based on the outlaw "Cannonball Baker" cross-country races, features a host of hilariously eccentric racing crews.
  • In a sense, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The film depicts a group of strangers who hear the dying words of a man who tells them about a large amount of money buried under a giant "W". These strangers then race to the giant W to be the first to find the money and claim it for themselves. The people use cars, trucks, airplanes, and even bicycles to reach their goal.
  • Downplayed in The Phantom Menace by the podracing sequence. The race is fast and dangerous, and elements like Sebulba's flamethrowers definitely fit the trope, but the emphasis is still on "drive faster than the other guy and make it to the finish line first" as opposed to "Demolition Derby that happens to take place on a racetrack."
  • Ready Player One has the race to get the first key, which goes through a simulated Manhattan Island that has been modified to become an unbeatable Death Course involving such things like being squashed flat by King Kong. It then turns out that the only way to win is not to race but to perform a Dungeon Bypass by means of a secret course the programmer placed as an "Easter egg".
  • Silent Movie features a wheelchair race in a hospital that gets pretty crazy.
  • Of course, the Wachowski sisters' live-action Speed Racer is all over this. It's probably one of the few films out there where the Car Fu is literal, with cars smashing the crap out if each other in high-flying wuxia-style moves.
  • Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over has the Mega Race, the fastest and most dangerous race in the game. If nothing else, the amusing characters and the very nature of the race make it quite wacky, especially when the unreliable nature of the flying machines is factored in.
  • Super Hero Taisen GP Kamen Rider 3, as indicated by the initials for "Grand Prix" in the name, features a race between the heroic Kamen Riders (including Kamen Rider Drive and Kamen Rider BLACK RX) and the Riders brainwashed by Shocker.
  • Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines had the same basic concept, only with airplanes.
    • Monte Carlo or Bust (a.k.a. Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies), sequel to the above does with vintage cars what the original did with vintage planes, only with more cheating..

    Literature 
  • The fifth Accel World novel actually has one of these as a special, one off event to celebrate the adding of the space elevator to the Unlimited Field. Since the kings customarily not take part in such events, Haruyuki uses it as a chance to convince Sky Raker to rejoin Nega Nebulous on a full time basis to round out their four person team. Of course something happens to interrupt it.
  • "The Big Race" in Terry Pratchett's children's short story collection Dragons at Crumbling Castle, as the Blackbury Steam Company pits a steam car against the new internal combustion engine, and various inventors of clockwork, wind-power and weirder cars get involved.
  • In the Discworld book Going Postal Moist organizes a race between the Post Office and the clacks to deliver a message to Genua. He wins by cheating and replacing the message that the clacks sent with one outlining the crimes that the owners had committed.
  • A low-tech version occurs in The Foundling when the hero's schoolboy protégé organizes a race using a cow, a donkey, and an old broken-down horse ... making everything "fair" by having the riders of the animals ride backwards. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Great Balloon Race A=concerns an international balloon race from France to Egypt, with little in the way of rules or oversight, a route that takes the competitors over an active volcano (amongst other hazards), and ends at the Great Pyramid of Giza, with the winner landing atop it (although that was an accident and not a victory condition).
  • The broomstick race through a dragon preserve mentioned in Quidditch Through the Ages.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Curfew takes place in a dystopian England (and Scotland) both run by a totalitarian government and overrun with mutant monsters. The race featured within turns a blind eye to physical conflict between teams, but doesn't enforce it either. It also takes place at night when the monsters are active. The list of vehicles involved note  looks more at home in Twisted Metal than Gran Turismo. One character even refers to the event as the Wacky Races.
  • Gekisou Sentai Carranger and to a lesser extent Engine Sentai Go-onger combine this trope with Super Sentai, which is already pretty damn wacky.
  • The Goodies did this in "The Race" when they enter the Le Mans 24 Hour race, despite not knowing how to drive. Ultimately they end up driving their office in the race.
  • House, M.D. of all places. House, Cuddy, Wilson and Sam at the Go-Kart. Sam makes a point of driving her opponents off the road; House stops her car by disconnecting a power line with his cane. Complete with holocaust allusions on Cuddy's part and Evil Laugh on House's part.
  • The Sooty Show, with Justin Lee Collins as the requisite cheating villain Fred Firewheel complete with "Drat! And double drat!" Shout-Out.
  • Top Gear:
    • One of the show's favorite features, to say the least. One thing they love to do is race cars against things that cars usually don't compete with. For example, the Bugatti Veyron (1000 bhp supercar) vs. Eurofighter Typhoon (top-rated fighter jet) in a drag race (vertical vs. horizontal), Mazda M-5 vs. a greyhound (the dog, not the bus), compact car vs. Le Parkour, Historic People Carrier/Motorhome/Passenger Bus/Airport Vehicle Racing, a rally car on ice vs. bobsledders (and later a second Rally car vs a skeleton luge), and so on. The amazing thing about the Bugatti Veyron race was not that the Bugatti lost, but that it lost by only four seconds.
    • Relatedly, they often race cars vs. various forms of mass transit, such as trains or (if geography allows) boats. While theoretically useful for commuters, these races tend to be carried to such extremes as to provide little practical information.
    • The double-decker car racing, depicted above. The catch is simple: you sit above, your partner sits below. You have the steering, he has the acceleration. The first race of this type pitted England vs. Germany. The same challenge was repeated in the Ashes Special, against the Top Gear Australia hosts. Except the steering car has been turned upside down, but only for the Australian team.
    • Racing "the post." They basically raced against an abstract concept. And lost. Ostensibly, they were racing a relay team; mail boat takes the letter from the island to the mainland, where a series of planes and trucks carry it further, until it reaches the local post office where a dude comes round and delivers it.
    • Clarkson actually dared race against God. Well, technically, he attempted to drive across England in one night from west to east before the sun could rise. And he also won.
    • Richard Hammond has held several rally races using a strange selection of vehicles, all with various Touring Car champions as competitors, to determine which one is the fastest within that set, and all of them inevitably wind up like this. We've had caravans, buses, airport vehicles, international taxis and movie-set vehicles.
    • Top Gear (US) had gas-guzzling super-tuned mountain car vs. a pro kayaker down a mountain.

    Machinima 

    Music Videos 
  • The music video for Abney Park's cover of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang shows such a race involving the Captain in a rat rod, two others in another with a roller on the nose, another racer on foot with springheel boots, and a girl in a light airship. They are all attacking each other, and at the end a newspaper clipping shows that they were all disqualified for cheating. And burning down the countryside.
  • The Animated Music Video for Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti's Ogni adolescenza is a homage to Wacky Races, with avatars of the three musicians and of other indie musicians and comic book characters participating. In the end the Dick Dastardly expy, who's probably supposed to stand in for music majors, wins by cheating.

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Believe it or not, there are some actual illegal street racing circuits using Humongous Mecha in BattleTech. Fans have taken note of this, and put together some incredibly silly races as a result. It's doubly hilarious because the game's unforgiving skidding rules are friends to none, and this leads to several Cicada-shaped dents in the enclosure walls.
  • The Car Wars boardgame by Steve Jackson Games. It's 20 Minutes into the Future and the aftermath of a nuclear war and everyone drives around in cars with machine guns and lasers and the like. Sometimes there are races, but other times the drivers just blow seven bells out of each other's vehicles in an arena or on the road.
  • Crash Pandas, a one-page Tabletop RPG, has the players play as a group of raccoons trying to make it on the LA street racing circuit.
  • One of the settings written for d20 Modern (published in Polyhedron Magazine) was "Thunderball Rally", which revolved around the eponymous secret cross-country race. The writers made perfectly clear in the notes that, aside from a few twists added to make it more action-driven (one of the race's sponsors is The Mafia and they really don't like blabbers, for example), the setting is a huge homage to The Cannonball Run.
  • Perfectly understandable in Gaslands, given the available sponsors: an arms dealer, a prison warden, a Japanese courier company, a Russian mad scientist, a cult of speed, and a woman who rules Australia from her new capital city, Anarchy. The Time Extended supplements for the first edition made it worse, allowing for lone lawmen and a sponsor whose teams were themed after Hollywood golden-age pirates. Reloaded (the second edition) adds a builder of Frankencars, a sponsor specializing in 'ballet on wheels', pyromaniac cultists, a ghost car, and swerving bootleggers.
  • GURPS Autoduel, an extention of the Car Wars concept into a roleplaying game.
  • "EcksEcksEcksEcksian Cart Wars" in GURPS Discworld Also. A low-tech parody of GURPS Autoduel combined with the Mad Max sequence in The Last Continent, and an experiment in seeing how far the GURPS Vehicles rules could be pushed before they broke. Pretty far, it turns out.
  • "The Widening Gyre" (for 6th edition Hero System). The sample adventure included in the book is not only a steampunk Wacky Race, but several of the NPC racers are Shout-Outs to the Wacky Races racers.
  • "CarToon Wars" in Toon Tooniversal Tour Guide. Another Steve Jackson parody of their own project, this one even more like Wacky Races than the others since it's set in a cartoon universe.
  • Steampunk Rally is basically Wacky Races, but it stars famous historical figures (and Doctor Emmet Brown), and every Invention (the vehicle) is The Alleged Car, and half the game is keeping your bastardized homunculus of a vehicle intact.

    Theme Parks 

    Toys 

    Video Games 
  • In Angry Birds Go!, the slingshots aren't loaded with birds... they're loaded with birds (and pigs) on karts!
  • Blur, which is like Mario Kart with real cars (including supercars such as the Koenigsegg CCXR!) and improbable challenges.
  • Burnout: Souped-up, nitro-equipped race-cars (or trucks, or vans) compete in street races on roads packed with civilian traffic, and crashing (or, better yet, making your opponents crash) is half the point.
  • California Speed has most of its tracks start out normally enough, then sends you racing through a shopping mall, a military base, an active volcano, or even a giant computer. What are you racing with? Ferrari and Lamborghini clones, hot rods, a camper, a golf cart, and a forklift among others.
  • Carmageddon and its sequels. Street racing of the classic arcade formula - try to keep your timer up while you attempt to complete your objective. Only instead of just completing the race as your objective, you can instead destroy all your opponents, or run over every pedestrian in the level (which includes cows). The whole mass murdering ordeal caused no small controversy and the pedestrians were replaced with zombies or robots for some markets.
  • Choro Q series isn't as wacky as others in term of a racing rule. However, after the 2nd game, the series started to put the racing courses that are beyond reality such as a disco factory, a sewer, inside a castle, a haunthouse, outer space, on the sky, under the water, and other weird possible areas. And instead of powerup, they have upgradable parts which are crazy instead.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has a minigame where you surf directly over lava on hoverboards. Of course, like at all points in BFD, it's possible to die in spectacular and grotesque ways, as opposed to most of these, where you bounce off of everything.
  • Cruis'n USA is relatively normal other than the hidden cars including a school bus and a police car. The sequels, however:
    • Cruis'n World provides a number of interesting vehicles to race with, including an army Humvee, a three-wheeled truck, and a big rig. The courses are laid out around the world where you end up racing through Egyptian pyramids, underwater tunnels, and the Great Wall of China.
    • Cruis'n Exotica goes a bit further with races taking place underwater, in prehistoric jungle, and on Mars. There are a few licensed vehicles...as well as a Volkswagen van, a Nash Metropolitan, and a rusty station wagon.
  • The Destruction Derby series is a textbook example, especially in RAW; the 'Wrecking Racing' mode in particular. A number of beat-up cars must race each other around a series of increasingly improbable and dangerous courses with wacky themes; RAW, for example, features a course shaped like a dragonfly with a four-way crossover, a track shaped like the number four, a course set in a sewer system, another set in a prison courtyard with no inner boundaries, and one which requires racers to drive head-on into other racers over a giant central ramp. You're rewarded with points both for finishing in a certain place and for smashing into other racers and making them do flips, spins, and corkscrews, with lots of points if you knock an opponent out of commission. You can only advance in Wrecking Racing by getting a certain number of points, and in later races you are required to drive like a maniac and smash into everyone as simply coming in first won't get you enough.
  • Diddy Kong Racing follows on the footsteps of Mario Kart and adds its own twists, like Boss Battles and different vehicles, plus a surprisingly elaborate overworld.
  • The races in Driver: San Francisco would be perfectly ordinary open-world street racing if not for Tanner's ability to shift into other cars. If you can't catch up to someone, nothing's stopping you from shifting into a car further down the road and driving headlong into your opponent. Several races even require you to shift between two cars mid-race and get first and second place simultaneously. In a bit of playing with a trope, the same applies to police chases; whether you're the chaser or the chasee, things get complicated really fast once you can hijack any car on the road instantaneously.
  • Excite Truck. Feels like a G-rated Carmageddon crossed with Monster Truck Madness. Lots of nitro and ludicrous jumps contribute to the over-the-top feel.
    • How about Excite Bots, which is like Truck, except with vehicles styled after animals and minigames in the middle of the races.
  • Extreme-G:
    • Superfast motorbikes with all sorts of weapons.
    • The original Extreme-G on the N64 was able to actually overdo the wackiness. There was a cheat code that enabled you to get a random secondary weapon just by clicking it's fire button as opposed to running over a power-up on the track. And this worked for the A.I. racers too. Cue much rocketspamming and the amount of carnage going on could mess up the N64's processor and graphics and reduce the game to its bare wireframe models in that race.
  • Fate/Grand Order: The second summer event "Dead Heat Summer Race" has the Servants (many of them in swimsuits) racing in various vehicles and allowed to attack each other. Every quarter of the race has them interrupted by some wacky obstacle like Atalanta growing apple trees on the racetrack or Boudicca lashing out because she doesn't have a playable swimsuit version. And then it turns into the Great Escape as they get locked up in prison with Medb acting as a warden and the whole event was orchestrated by Ishtar to revive her great bull Gulganna.
  • Fatal Inertia takes place on isolated race tracks with a dozen jet-engine powered Flying Cars screaming along at 500kph+. The tracks are littered with a variety of unusual weapons, such a rocket boosters which can be attached to your own engine for a long boost or shot and attached to an opponent's craft, sending them into a wild spin.
  • Fatal Racing, particularly in the Bonus Races (Bonus Race #3 is of special note). And then there's the instance when one of the AI cars decides to screw things up by going in the opposite direction.
  • Flatout: Similar to Burnout but with crazier, off-road tracks, and high explosive trackside objects, but no civilian traffic. The other racers want to make you crash so hard that you're flung through the windscreen of your vehicle, though.
  • Full Auto, which can be boiled down to Death Race: The Video Game.
  • F-Zero. Super Fast Hover Cars, Courses Suspended in Mid-Air that double as cities, and characters like Captain Falcon make this a perfect example of this trope.
  • The web racing game series GoKartGo! is essentially a browser-based game like Mario Kart, with goofy animal characters.
  • Gensou Skydrift: How much wackier can you get than the cast of Touhou Project using each other as Body Sleds and using all manner of bizarre Limit Breaks, ranging from Nue turning into a Flying Saucer to Flandre pulling out a Flaming Sword that is bigger than she is.
  • You can make your own wacky races for others to race in Grand Theft Auto Online using the Creator tool. If you need to see what kinds of ridiculous stuff people have come up with in that game, then go on YouTube and watch almost any "Grand Theft Auto Funny Moments" videos made by the Sidemen.
  • HSX Hypersonic Extreme (also known as G Surfers). Think of F-Zero X, 20 times faster and taking place on a Real-Scale rendition of the world. It also features a very powerful track editor which takes advantage of said Real-Scale rendition of the world.
  • Jak X: Combat Racing is Vehicular Combat race game that features races against others in a buggies armed with missiles, mines and nukes in cities with orthogonal turns, through sewers and over lava, challenges where the points are awarded by ramming drones head-on, deathmatch arenas and races where you need to power up power cell by constant nitro-boosting, which results it in shooting on adversaries in front of you. And you get extra credits for kills.
  • Kinetica. The racers wear their vehicles, with the wheels attached to the ends of their arms and legs, and they race on the walls and/or ceilings of large skyscrapers. Oh, and did I mention that more than half the racers are hot chicks whose "vehicles" show lots of skin, and that the game is Nintendo Hard?
  • A sidequest in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is a rolling Goron race, which is much like, and about as safe as, climbing inside monster truck tires and racing them down a mountain.
  • LEGO Racers is basically Mario Kart WITH LEGOS!
  • Looney Tunes Racing is a PlayStation karting game, featuring weapons from cream pies to heat-seeking cream pies to, of course, anvils.
  • Looney Tunes Space Race is a Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 game that takes things IN SPACE!, but with the same general principle.
  • Every Mario Kart style game qualifies. Courses with cannons that launch you to the top of mountains aren't exactly common in real life.
  • MechWarrior Living Legends has a small number of racing maps made with the game's Level Editor. Being a combined arms simulation wargame, most of the vehicle selection consists of main battle tanks, Humongous Mecha, hovercraft, artillery pieces, etc. Weapons-live racing is either allowed or restricted, depending on the race. The two most prominent racing maps, TSA_Mariokart and TSA_RACE_Kaido incorporate Gravity Screw elements, such as massive jumps or airborne sections of track.
  • Micro Machines is Wacky Racing On the kitchen table!, or In a sandpit!, or...
  • The developer behind Midtown Madness (see below) would later create the spiritual successor Midnight Club which continues the exploitation of shortcuts and ramps it up with insane jumps. The vehicle list includes several cars that look like they came out of The Fast and the Furious note  as well as buses, ice cream trucks, and taxis.
    • The first sequel took a step back with the vehicles by limiting them to customized cars and motorcycles, but took the stunts a little further with Car Skiing and weight transfer in midair.
    • The second sequel added special abilities like Bullet Time and sonic blasts which part the traffic ahead. The vehicles could now be customized by the player, so they could be as eccentric as desired.
  • Midtown Madness depicts street racing in Chicago...if street racing were more about finding and exploiting shortcuts than actual driving skill. The list of vehicles is relatively normal.
  • Monster Racers combines Wacky Racing with a Mons RPG, where you capture monsters to race with them. They can use their monstery attacks to get an edge in races.
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, of all games, had a mode ("Motor Kombat") for this. Why it was felt a fighting game needed a Racing Minigame mode, we couldn't tell you.
  • The entire Need for Speed: franchise is basically Super Smash Bros. as a racing game franchise with real-life licensed cars instead of characters as fighters for you to slam each other. A few notable ones put here:
    • The Need for Speed is no slouch either: You can have stock sports cars from Japan, Europe and America battling each other on the highways. Subsequent games like Need for Speed II and III: Hot Pursuit ups the ante by having varieties of European and American supercars beating each other up, with Hammerspace Police Force launching Hot Pursuit turning the races into Blood Sport since the latter.
    • Underground and Underground 2: Nitro-equipped, highly pimped out import tuners speed around Olympic City and Bayview, through coastlines, back alleys, spillways, factories, and going at 400 km/h in the highways. The roads are packed with civilian traffic.
    • Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2005 and Carbon: Same as before, but bring back German and Italian supercars last seen in classic era, and just to top the whole thing off, bring back a police department with infinite funds and reserves.
    • It gets better in 2010's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, where you can play as the Rabid Cop wrecking the wacky racers' fun. Same goes to its 2013 Spiritual Successor, Need for Speed Rivals.
    • Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012 is Burnout Paradise with cops, licensed cars, a bigger social element, and slightly more realistic physics and handling.
  • N-Gen Racing: Racing planes through canyons, tho lower you go the faster you go, of course, while using the plane's weapon systems to cause damage to your opponents.
  • Pokémon Dash is Pikachu versus other Pokémon in footraces.
  • Re-Volt, similar to Micro Machines but with radio control cars, has Everything's Better with Dinosaurs in the second game.
  • Rock n' Roll Racing features futuristic race cars, racing on tracks with deadly jumps and mines, while the racers themselves tout energy blasters, missiles, and mines.
  • Rollcage, which used gravity-defying cars that can be driven on the ceiling and walls as easily as the floor... and for frequently taking place in stages where it's hard to even TELL what's up and down. Or where up and down just aren't constant values (like in a space station).
  • Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing hews very close to the Mario Kart mold, with unorthodox vehicles armed to the teeth with wacky powerups.
  • Slipstream 5000. 20 Minutes into the Future racing with, essentially, flying cars. Through twisting valleys and down fjords in Norway, through the winding highways and tunnels of Chicago, down Grand Canyon... Oh yeah, and you had missiles, too.
  • Snowboard Kids is guilty of this one. You'd expect all the courses to have snow, but when one of the stages is a tropical island... Or a space station... Or a jungle...
  • The Wii version of the Speed Racer film, which transposes the insane courses and Car Fu tactics of the movie.
  • In Split/Second (2010), you can blow up things around the track, as well as drop ships and airplanes on your opponents.
  • Star Wars Episode I: Racer, based on the Phantom Menace race mentioned above. Settings include underwater cities, mining facilities, volcanic planets and zero-gravity space prisons.
  • The early '90s computer game Stunts was about racing in European supercars on courses filled with more obstacles than you can shake a stick at, including half-pipes, corkscrews, loops, jumps over buildings, and roads made of ice. Its Spiritual Successor Trackmania upped the ante by introducing air-suspended courses specially meant for cars that defy the laws of physics. With its Level Editor, you can also make your courses as crazy as you want — provided the car can get through them...
  • The climax of episode one of Tales from the Borderlands involves a crazy bandit demolition derby known as Murder Rally 12000.
  • Team Fortress 2 introduces the Payload Race mode. The RED and BLU teams push a cart (Packed with an ammo/health dispenser and a massive bomb) from their side of the area to the opposing team's base. Whoever gets theirs to the final station wins. Of course, they're free to screw with each other's progress. There's also a map based on the same principal called, you guessed it, wackyraces. There is also a variation called Balloon Race, which pits the two teams in a zany dirigible race (which tends to end with people exploding, naturally).
  • Tread Marks is all about sentient tanks racing each other in the wilderness while firing nuclear missiles and death rays at each other for fun.
  • The Trope Namer Wacky Races has a video game based on it made for the Sega Dreamcast and for PlayStation 2. Unlike other Mario Kartlikes, you don't pick up power-ups along the track — you chose three from a list specific to the character you choose before every race, and pick up tokens along the track that let you use the powers you chose.
    • There are plenty of other Wacky Races themed video games out there, too, and they’re just as fun as the show.
  • The Apogee classic Wacky Wheels is just basic kart racing, except for the hedgehog cannon.
  • The Game Boy version of Wave Race. You think a jet-ski race would be pretty standard, but the racers constantly bump into each other due some narrow areas. Moreover, dolphins and octopi serve as power-ups.
  • Wipeout: High-tech hovercraft zoom round vastly improbable tracks (including ones suspended from a city's skyscrapers) at supersonic speeds, while blasting each other with various types of missile, and the Quake Disruptor, a weapon that causes the entire track to undulate in an excessive manner, slamming itself into opponent's craft, causing massive damage.
  • A popular 'sport' in World of Tanks is ELC racing, which pits small, fast French light tanks in head to head races around a variety of maps. The challenge is to make it to the end without being shot, getting stuck, or flying off a cliff because you couldn't slow down to make a turn. Sometimes other models of tanks are raced, such as Cromwells or Chaffees.
  • In Zoo Race, animals complete a course containing things like flames coming out of surfaces, explosive barrels, oncoming trains and so on. Oh, and plenty of messages about the love of Christ strewn around.

    Webcomics 
  • In Misfile, we see it done by Cassiel in Ash's race against Logan.

    Western Animation 
  • Baileys Comets is an obscure De Patie-Freleng show from 1973 (airing on CBS) about fifteen teams of roller skaters, including the eponymous Comets, who are on a cross-country marathon race to find a treasure. The opening theme was a bit rushed.
  • In the episode "Death Race to Oblivion" of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the interstellar warlord Mongul forces five superheroes and five supervillains to participate in the eponymous death race. The Batmobile and its ilk are already pretty Wacky Races in expressing the owner's, uh, preferences, but this episode revels in it.
  • One of the earliest animated examples was the Betty Boop cartoon "Betty Boop's Ker-choo", where Betty Boop, Bimbo, Koko the Clown and various anthropomorphic animals compete in an auto-race, all while Betty has a cold.
  • Black Dynamite: With an emphasis on races with each contestant being a representative of a different race and each car filled with stereotypical weapons.
  • Camp Lakebottom: "Slimeball Run" features a race across the swamp with ownership of Camp Lakebottom at stake.
  • One episode of Cyberchase is about Matt, Jackie, Inez, and Digit helping Princess Creech enter such a race so that she can become Queen of Tikiville, but at the same time, The Hacker also wants to rule Tikiville, and therefore he resorts to cheating in the race so he can win.
  • Dexter's Laboratory also has an homage to Wacky Races with an episode based on the concept, except replacing the typical drivers with Dexter's Laboratory regulars.
  • An episode of Dofus: Kerub's Bazaar features a Dragoturkey race that acts as a Whole Episode Reference to Wacky Races, complete with the villain of the episode being a female Expy of Dick Dastardly.
  • Dragon Booster. The cars are in this case dragons, and the tracks are utterly insane given that they are being raced by living creatures.
  • The Dukes, the Hanna-Barbera Animated Adaptation of The Dukes of Hazzard, features the Duke cousins (originally Coy and Vance and later the more familiar Bo and Luke) in an automobile race around the world against Boss Hogg, in a duel over the ownership of Duke farm.
  • The Fairly Oddparents "Channel Chasers" has an Affectionate Parody of Speed Racer.
  • Tom Slick, a companion segment to George of the Jungle, forces the hero and his nemesis, Baron Otto Matic, to convert their racecars into different forms in virtually every episode. During the short run of the series, the Thunderbolt Greaseslapper became, among other things, a skateboard, a blimp, a submarine, a locomotive, a snowmobile and a swamp buggy.
  • Pretty much every cartoon inspired by Hot Wheels. (Hot Wheels Accele Racers in particular, is where the Alternate Racing Dimension thing comes from.)
  • "Johnny Kart Racing" in Johnny Test centers around this. Notably, the episode starts off as a normal soapbox car race between Johnny and Dukey, snowballs into this trope as more and more racers enter, and the soapboxes are swapped for real cars. Also noteworthy is that a lampshade is hung on Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat.
    • Actually, this show seemed to love this trope. There's at least five episodes that use this trope.
  • The BBC's Kerwhizz is a mostly-CGI, pre-school game show, in which three teams consisting of a kid and his/her android Non-Human Sidekick answer questions before racing their pods around a themed "race world". One suspects the writers may be paying homage to Wacky Races with titles like "Fun Food Freeway", "Moonlight Night Flight" and "The Deserted Desert Dash".
  • Laff-A-Lympics frequently includes races as well, with various vehicles. Hanna-Barbera is fond of this trope.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Porky's Road Race (1936) has Porky and a bunch of No Celebrities Were Harmed characters in an auto race, with "Borax Kar-Off" as the Dick Dastardly figure.
    • Also from Looney Tunes is Hippydrome Tiger (1968), where Cool Cat partakes in a cross-country road race in Paris, and his nemesis Colonel Rimfire and his mechanical elephant pursue him throughout the race.
    • Bunny and Claude from 1968, while not actually an auto race, has this type of feel as the redneck Sheriff pursues carrot thieves Bunny and Claude through the countryside. The fact that it feels somewhat like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon at times helps add to the resemblance to Wacky Races.
  • The entire second season of 80s cartoon M.A.S.K. (all ten episodes) centered around racing. Considering that the racing vehicles were all equipped with weapons and could transform...
  • NASCAR Racers, set in a future where NASCAR has evolved into a Speed Racer style event around grotesque dangerous tracks. Ironically, though, it's actually safer than real NASCAR, since all the vehicles have "rescue racers", an escape pod jettisoned in the event of a crash.
  • Ōban Star-Racers plays this seriously, as it's aliens who've made all the race courses to have a bunch of different aliens (plus humans) compete in a galaxy-wide competition.
  • PJ Masks: The season 3 episode "The Moon Prix" involves a race between the heroes and all the Night Time villains.
  • The Grand Finale for The Powerpuff Girls has a scene where all the villains drive racecars (with Mojo Jojo's tank resembling a cross between the Mean Machine and the Army Surplus Special) to race to the Mayor's office where the Key to the World is being hidden. Upon insistence from the Professor, the Girls drive a dune buggy (which looked like a pink Shout-Out to Speed Buggy).
  • The Real Ghostbusters episode "Afterlife in the Fast Lane" is about a wacky, albeit frightening, race. The ghostbusters and Slimer compete with each other in a race to win money for a charity, until they are switch to an Giant Tabletop Game by The Gamemaster, a powerful ghost that forced them to race for their lives.
  • Disney's The Replacements has an Affectionate Parody of Speed Racer.
  • An episode of Robot Chicken features Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise recruiting Vin Diesel's character from The Fast and the Furious to take part in a race against famous TV/Toy car characters, including Batman, Mario and Luigi, The Dukes of Hazzard, Ponch and John, Matt Tracker (with Scott and T-Bob in the back seat), Speed Racer, and one of the vehicles from Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.
  • An episode of The Smurfs has the eponymous characters making a Wacky Car Race with all cars allusive to each smurf' personality.
  • The South Park episode Handicar culminates in an homage to Wacky Races (which have been banned by international convention) between various ridesharing and new-fuel vehicles complete with a Canadian Penelope Pitstop and the appearance of Dick Dastardly and Muttley.
  • Speed Buggy is usually wacky races mixed with the Scooby-Doo mystery formula.
  • Superjail! apparently hosts this on a yearly basis with "Superjail Grand Prix", a violent race with mutliple traps and with a huge body count, where the prision's immates compete with each other to win the great prize of being set free... that is, unless the Warden wins (which, considering he's the one that designs the tracks, he always does).
  • Teen Titans has a Wacky Races-esque episode where the Titans are trying to beat various villains to steal back a mysterious suitcase belonging to Robin from Ding-Dong Daddy.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry, where the cat and mouse enter a race to win a mansion after being kicked out of their old home. At various legs of the race, they and the other contestants had to continually modify their cars for different types of travel, culminating with a race back to the start (read: Travel from the island of Borneo to the starting line in Hollywood...the long way) in five minutes.
  • Uncle Grandpa has the episode "Uncle Grandpa Retires", where Uncle Grandpa decides to become a tire for the RV and his friends try to convince him to stop by entering a wacky race with almost every major side character on the show. It even features a cameo of Dastardly and Muttley among the spectators, showing their support for Evil Wizard.
  • The Trope Namer is Wacky Races, which in turn is based on The Great Race. That fits the driver and car aspects of this trope.
  • Perhaps the most obscure animated series to come out of Mainframe Entertainment, Weird-Ohs, was about an entire city dedicated to this.
  • Yogi's Space Race is an extension of this, in space!
  • Zig & Sharko has an episode called "The Island Tour", which invokes this trope.

    Real Life 
  • The Real Life Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash was an illegal coast-to-coast road race specifically intended to protest the 55 mph speed limit of The '70s. Downplayed: the only really wacky thing about it was the willful disregard for the speed limit.
  • The Great Race was very loosely based on the real-life 1908 New York-to-Paris automobile race, and some of the more nonsensical aspects of the movie (crossing the Bering Strait on an ice floes, for instance) were actually considered for the actual race before common sense prevailed.
  • Truth in Television: Most rally raids, including the Paris-Dakar Rally and the Baja 1000. More often than not, these rallies are not much about who finishes first, but more about who finishes at all!
  • Of particular note is the 1963 East African Safari Rally. Eighty-four cars started the rally. Five days later seven crossed the finish line.
  • The 2018 Rally Turkey became this when more than a dozen competitors from top-level WRC drivers to support categories ended up wrecking or breaking down their cars no thanks to the rally's gruelling conditions. As Toyota driver Ott Tänak put it, it made sense to drive smart and not just rely on pure speed lest risk causing unnecessary damage to the car.
  • 24 Hours of Lemons is a series of endurance races designed for low-budget cars (as in no more than $500 US, not counting the cost of safety equipment) and the people reckless enough to drive them in a race. Just go out there and look how people race these little pieces of crap. You won't regret it.
  • At the Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino, California, in the late 90s, they had a racing class called trains, which consisted of three cars hooked up to one another, racing on a figure-8 circuit. The one in front had only gas and steering, the one in the middle was empty, and the one in the back had only brakes and steering. Did we mention that the cars actually are on a single level track, so they can crash into each other in the middle? That's probably why they don't run it anymore.
  • Roller Derby is a sport that is basically Wacky Racing on Roller Skates. It's a "race" insofar as teams score when their jammer laps the rest of the team, but as a contact sport, sheer speed takes a back seat to knocking the other team around. Skaters are encouraged to take on over-the-top, pro-wrestling-style personas.
  • Jokamiehenluokka ("Everyman's Class") in Finland and folkrace in Sweden. The participants drive rallycross on ordinary family cars modified for safety and drivers wearing crash gear. The rule is that after the race, any car is on sale at a given price (usually 1500 euros). Many Finnish family cars end their service lives in such competitions, and since the age limit is 15, many Finns actually learn how to drive on such races. Mind you, Scandinavian cars usually have stick gears...
  • The Cannonball had two successors in the 21st century. Both enforced limited budgets on their teams, ensuring some eccentricity in terms of vehicle:
    • The 2904 was a race whose name refers to both the projected distance and the $2904 budget the racing teams were allowed to spend on their journey from New York City to San Francisco. Said total budget includes not only gas, food, and speeding tickets, but also the car itself. The race had its last running in 2019.
    • The C2C Express had a slightly more forgiving budget than the 2904 as teams could spend up to $3000 on their vehicle, but they could only pick cars made before 1980. The race ran from New York to Los Angeles, similar to the original Cannonball. Like the 2904, it last ran in 2019.
  • Some Variety Club Bash charity race teams can have a similar appearance.
  • England’s Goodwood Festival of Speed has recreated the cars from Wacky Races in real life and has annually paraded them with people cosplaying as the drivers.


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