The date is May 26th, 2011, it's a dark and misty morning typical of London's unpredictable weather.... this day marked the genesis of the infamous Team Wolfpack. The route is London to Istanbul, no small trek considering the plethora of unreliable exotic vehicles readying to embark on this adventure from the civilized roads to of Western Europe all the way to the treacherous backroads of the Turkish and Bulgarian borders. As the sun begins to break through the morning weather, slowly more and more drivers start to arrive at the starting grid in Covent Garden, it's almost time.
Newcomers to the gumball 3000 rally, or any exotic car rally for that matter, Ardy Akhavan, Josef Holm, Mel Basar and Huda Mahdi wake up with the feeling of butterflies in their stomachs, or maybe possibly just bad hangover from the opening party the previous night. As rookies, the excitement level of the group was hard to be measured force, hangover, jitters and all the group headed to the starting grid to load up the cars and get ready to set on an adventure of a lifetime, a bucket list item we had watched has children on TV and said to ourselves "someday I am going to do that."
Now we were here, surrounded by millions of dollars in cars, celebrities, musicians and attendees whom were masters of industry in their own respective fields of business, hell even the hoff was there. The crowds are immense, even the constant waves of precipitation had no effect in deterring the Gumball fans from holding their spaces along the grid to watch the starting flag drop.
Ardy and Josef board the R8 V10 spider while Mel and Huda get in their Range Rover sport support vehicle, we are ready.......the flag drops. The feeling of that first starting grid will be hard to ever be matched, this moment marked the inception of a family, not related by blood but by brotherhood.
As our team ventured from city to city and country to country, we met many great people, helped change tires, picked up other contestants stranded on the road, lead groups of cars that were lost or simply didn't have visibility in the darkest of hours.......the team gathered a reputation for itself, the more people we helped the larger our convoy grew. By the last day, we had an entire group of about 8 cars in our little pack always sticking together.
One of these other participants that had been in our convoy dubbed us as "The Wolfpack," because we always moved as a pack and never left others behind.
7 years and 7 Gumball's later, Team Wolfpack never stopped growing, now comprised by nearly 30 members each with their own unique flavor they bring to the team. Through the years, the Wolfpack pushed the envelope for creativity and unity among car rally teams winning several Best Team awards and the coveted Spirit of the Gumball rally trophy in 2017.
As the years have gone by, so many people ask me "why do you do it? What's the attraction to driving in uncomfortable cars for 7 days in a row on little sleep and with a group of animals like the Wolfpack."
The answer is simple, The Wolfpack is more than just a team...it's a family, not just when it's rally time but in real life, you can always count on the pack to have your back.