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Wacky Racing

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"The idea is very simple. The car on the bottom has a throttle, brakes, and gears, but no steering wheel — because that's fitted to the car on the top."
Jeremy Clarkson describing the madness seen at right, Top Gear (UK)

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 an oval for a few dozen or a few hundred 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 (if there are any rules at all), 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.

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.

Most Mascot Racer games involve this.

Also see Unconventional Vehicle Chase, Vehicular Combat, Chariot Race, Fictional Sport, Pseudolympics, "No Rules" Racing.


    open/close all folders 

  • 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 & Manga 
  • Anpanman has had a couple of racing episodes (one was a half-hour episode, the other a theatrical short). Some vehicles were go-karts (by most of the racers, even the superheroes. 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.
  • The 2000 Digimon short Digimon Adventure 3D: Digimon Grandprix has the partner Digimon from the first two series and PicoDevimon racing in flying vehicles that are in some way themed after themselves or their human partners. It goes off the rails right away thanks to Agumon's rocket going out of control and Veemon and PicoDevimon's constant fighting.
  • Digimon Frontier has an episode like this. All of the kids, Neemon, and a Digimon stand-in for Dick Dastardly and Muttley each get onto a train. The episode proceeds as a big battle, with only Takuya completing the race.
  • In Digimon Ghost Game, the Monster of the Week Sistermon Ciel turns a friendly race into a Deadly Game with the losers executed by The Grim Reaper Digimon MetalPhantomon, and ropes the heroes into it.
  • 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 an 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 competes in a race to settle who should be the true protagonist.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • An episode of the original series 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 ˝ 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.
  • Red Line has a number of outrageous characters (bounty hunters, space police, magical girls) in vehicles with weapons and gadgets (one vehicle is amphibious). The main race takes place on a planet ruled by cyborgs who aren't too keen on the race taking place there, so the racers have to fight with them as well as each other.
  • 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 becoming 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! 5Ds where everybody plays card games while riding motorcycles. If it wasn't for the autopilot, we'd have some serious wreckage here...

    Comic Books 
  • 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 short-lived 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. In Supersurf 11, 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 an "Everybody Dies" Ending scenario until it was retconned away.
  • Marvel's Voices: The high-tech car race Forge and Shuri partake in involves multiple terrains and teleportation portals. Prodigy comments that Forge's car also has an espresso machine.
  • 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 — Animation 
  • The "Japan World Cup" is a horse racing Quirky Work 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 its 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.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie takes the wacky racing Mario Kart is known for and makes it the hat of the Jungle Kingdom; the Kongs use their karts quite dangerously in the most mundane ways, with a Kong driver throwing a Banana Peel onto the ground with no concern for the next Kong who slips over it and gets flung into a building, causing the kart to explode. A later scene in the film where the Koopas attack with karts of their own brings some power-ups from Mario Kart with it; besides the banana peels, there are also Bom-Ombs and cannons that shoot Koopa shells.
  • Sugar Rush from Wreck-It Ralph is one big candy-coated Expy of Mario Kart. In addition to the literal Sugar Bowl setting, the racers seemingly have special abilities and are allowed to attack each other on the course. The game also has a character roster that's seemingly chosen randomly. It's actually decided by a race held when the game's not being played.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cannonball (1976) depicts a cross-country (Santa Monica to New York) road race which is also illegal (the race has to be started early due to the police being alerted). There seem to be no restrictions against hampering your opponents as a few teams actively try to cause their opponents to wreck. There is, however, a restriction against flying across the country (which gets one driver disqualified). Downplayed in that the drivers and their cars are relatively normal.
  • The Cannonball Run is based on the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash (and written by the creator of that race, Brock Yates). In addition to the characters being allowed to directly impede their opponents' progress, the racers are a bit eccentric, with one having a superhero alter ego, another believing he's a famous actor (who happens to play him), and a guy who seems a bit psychotic note . One team masquerades as a paramedic team in an ambulance and two teams use gadget-laden cars as if to cement its status as this trope.
    • The sequel, The Cannonball Run II, continues the tradition of racers being allowed to directly impede their opponents. Vehicles include a military stretch limo whose team pretends to be a Nuclear Tactical Team, a gadget-laden sports car, and another limo with a false front seat for a monkey to sit in. Another team has to repeatedly change cars due to frequent breakdowns and another team is a target for kidnapping by a group of inept gangsters.
    • Downplayed by Speed Zone! (1989), a semi-sequel. The teams are a little less eccentric than the previous two films and the cars are relatively normal note . But the directly impeding other racers is alive and well and various bizarre occurrences happen during the race. For example, one team tries to fly across the country and end up bribing the pilot to drive the plane on the highway after its wings are sheared off.
  • 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. Every race in this movie counts as Wacky Racing, including the one at the end, of which we only see ten seconds, because Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat.
  • 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.
  • 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 of 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.
  • Star Wars: 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".
  • 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:
    • 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.

  • 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 do 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.
  • Star Bores ll by the 2 Steve's turns the pod race from The Phantom Menace into a parody of Wacky Races.

    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.

    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.


    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 


    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.
  • Beanotown Racing is a Mario Kart clone featuring characters from The Beano and The Dandy. There are power-ups or weapons themed for each of the ten playable characters.
  • 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.
  • Crazyracing Kartrider is a Kart Racer featuring super deformed cartoon characters racing go-karts in strange environments like deserts and arctic tundra. However, it's a rare Kart Racer that doesn't seem to have weapon power-ups.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 its 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 as 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.
  • The Forza Horizon series has Showcase events, which pit the player's vehicle against unusual opponents, such as airplanes, trains and hot air balloons, to name a few.
  • Freaky Flyers is what happens when you combine a Kart Racer with an aerial combat simulator. A group of wacky characters (bookworm with a violent alter ego, mimes, a robot) take part in a series of races through caricatures of various locales (Canada, Chicago, Arabia). One way to advance is to shoot down the opponents ahead of you. There are also side quests to handle during races and power-ups to collect.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Interstate '76: The Nitro Pack expansion had one mission where Taurus had to race against Drinky, a clown in an armed VW Beetle. It was considered to be one of the worst missions in the entire expansion pack due to the game not counting a lap if one of the tires of the car Taurus was driving went off the track but placing no such restrictions on his opponent. While both vehicles were armed, shooting Taurus's opponent also failed the mission (and given how annoying Drinky's taunting was, the player would definitely want to shoot him).
  • Jak X: Combat Racing is Vehicular Combat race game that features races against others in 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. And more than half the racers are hot chicks whose "vehicles" show lots of skin, and that the game is Nintendo Hard.
  • Kirby Air Ride is a seems to combine the normal gameplay of the Kirby franchise with a racing game. Racing in environments such as space stations, giant beanstalks, and active volcanos, Kirby also finds himself in battle with various enemies using powerups. (Of course, Kirby being Kirby, he can also just swallow them.)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: A sidequest in Snowhead 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:
    • LEGO 2K Drive is an open world racing game with some rather eccentric opponents (crop duster pilot, astronomer) with vehicles to match (World War 2 fighter plane on wheels, moon buggy). There are weapons that can be used during races and the vehicles transform when they encounter different terrain.
    • LEGO Racers is a Mascot Racer pitting robots, pirates, and medieval knights in themed karts against each other on tracks through arctic regions, Egyptian pyramids, and the surface of the moon. It's one of the few games of this type where power ups need to be built (out of Lego of course).
  • 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.
  • The Mario Kart series has gone to various degrees of wacky racing over the years. Courses with cannons that launch you to the top of mountains and racetracks on rainbows aren't exactly common in real life. Neither are powerups like mushroom boosters, banana peels, and the infamous Blue Shell.
  • 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 has the player racing cars from the Micro Machines toy line in such oddball environments as tabletops and sandpits.
    • Micro Maniacs is a Spin-Off of Micro Machines which swaps out miniature vehicles with miniaturized people (racing on foot) with special abilities. The oddball environments such as tabletops and gardens carry over from the main series.
  • Midnight Club features 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 third installment 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. Better yet, the game dumped the Fauxrrari approach of the first two games in favor of featuring real life vehicles-including super-rare vehicles like the McLaren F1 and even concept cars like the Cadillac Sixteen.
  • 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:
  • 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 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.
  • Skunny Kart: Eight racers driving around colorful tracks, throwing missiles at each other, sometimes turning invisible. Driving into deep water turns the kart into a submarine.
  • 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...
  • Sonic Riders has the famous hedgehog engaging in a series of races run on hoverboards. Performing tricks during the race is the norm and the courses range from futuristic cities to tropical forests.
  • 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...
  • Super Tux Kart, a Mascot Racer for Linux, has an odd cast of characters (mostly anthropomorphic animals) racing in environments such as farms and pyramids. Strange weapons like bowling balls and flyswatters can be used against your opponents.
  • 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 principle 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 to 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.
  • Wreckfest. Where else can you race a motorized port-a-potty against a V8 powered sofa?
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers:
    • "Retarded 64: Retard karts 101" note  has Mario open a driving school. When none of the students show much skill, he decides to hold a race to determine the best driver. The race quickly descends into chaos with the racers using various weapons against each other and running each other off the road. Only one driver crosses the finish line.
    • "Stupid Mario Kart" starts off with a race with the drivers resorting to the usual weapons and attacks. However, the drivers are so incompetent that they have to try Mario Kart's other game modes to determine a winner.

    Web Video 
  • Critical Role: The players once play a one-shot in the above-mentioned tabletop-game-system Crash Pandas. They play as racoons, and the race is crazy indeed: cars run over other cars, caltrops get used, icecream-sludge gets thrown on the track, a social-media slur campaign against another driver is instigated mid-race...

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Alien Racers is this trope IN SPACE! More accurately, it takes place on an alien Death World between members of different species. The winner of each race gets a sample of the Applied Phlebotinum found only on said planet.
  • 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.
  • Cyberchase: "The Creech Who Would Be Crowned" 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-Plot 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!'s third movie, "Channel Chasers", has an Affectionate Parody of Speed Racer.
  • Fudęncio e Seus Amigos: The seventh episode, "Corrida Mambembe", features all the main kids competing on a race for the canonization of Brazilian racer Ayrton Senna, with Fudêncio using several hijinks to win such as spraying water hoses on his opponents, spilling bilial juice under their cars to make them slip, or even pulling a hunky guy out of his car to distract Zé Maria. Funérea is the only one who doesn't participate, with multiple Cutaway Gags showing her just watching TV at her bedroom.
  • 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".
  • Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire: A sci-fi version is the premise of "Mkhuzi: The Spirit Racer". Manzo's mother was the famed racer Mkhuzi in her youth, but when the alien overlord Ogam challenges his community to an interplanetary race, Manzo must step up to save his hometown and compete against Ogam and other powerful alien pilots.
  • 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...
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The episode "The Cart Before the Ponies" has the CMC and their sisters (or, in Scootaloo's case, sisterly figure) take part in the Applewood Derby cart race. The wings on Rarity's cart qualify it as a Wacky Racer, and the final result is a big cart pileup. At the start, one side-profile shot of all the racers is the expected Shout-Out to Wacky Races.
  • 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 racecourses 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 and Robin, Mario and Luigi, Michael Knight and KITT, The Dukes of Hazzard, Ponch and Jon, Matt Trakker (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's 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 multiple traps and with a huge body count, where the prison's inmates 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).
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward episode "Race For Glory" has the turtles enter an international road race on behalf of O'Neil Tech. The other vehicles have some interesting designs and the race goes through some treacherous terrain (both fire fields and icy mountains). And it probably doesn't help that Triple Threat is trying to steal the race cars during the race.
  • 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. As well as the Fender Bender 500, which replaces everyone except Dick Dastardly and Muttley with classic Hanna-Barbera characters.
  • 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 
  • Various illegal coast-to-coast road races:
    • The Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash was specifically intended to protest the 55 mph speed limit of The '70s. In addition to the willful disregard for the speed limit, some drivers decided to use gimmicks like the team that dressed up as priests to troll the cops, a man who brought a police badge to pretend he was an undercover cop note , and the team that rigged up a van to look like an ambulance, complete with doctor and "patient" in the back, with the alibi that the "patient" had to get to California for a life saving operationnote .
    • The U.S. Express came around shortly after the last Cannonball, but was relatively normal. However, there was a driver who used an airplane as a spotter to make sure they didn't run into police.
    • In the years after these events, a number of drivers simply tried to best the record time for the journey without being entered in an event. One such driver, Alex Roy, had his car disguised as a German police car. (He chose a foreign police car out of a legal loophole.)
    • 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.
    • The Musketball Rally was run in 2021 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the first Cannonball. The organizers instituted a limit of one hundred horsepower on the cars. Violators were required to add ballast to their cars in proportion to how much they went over the limit and assemble a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle and tape it to their hoods.
  • 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 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...
  • 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.