TopGear Track Guide
Our Guide to the Top Gear Track
Located at a top secret facility outside a slightly rubbish and shoddily-built studio just off the A281 between Bramley and Bucks Green, sits the world-famous Top Gear test track. Lotus designed the two-mile long, figure of eight circuit with a raft of awkward corners designed to a) give each and every car a proper workout, and b) humiliate celebrities.
From the opening 'Crooner Curves', through 'Chicago', the tricky 'Hammerhead' and the terrifying 'Follow Through' (so named because you will if you take it flat out) to the troublesome Gambon Corner - a corner named after actor Sir Michael Gambon cornered on two wheels - the circuit has seen some of the most heroic, and dim-witted racing moments ever filmed. But whatever your time, you'll always be slower than the one they call Stig. Sorry.
Star In A Reasonably Priced Car
We know you didn't want to see half-a-million quid's worth of expensive, temperamental and loud exotica being driven by celebrities. What you really wanted to see was an averagely priced lump of automotive reasonableness being badly piloted around a purpose-built and quite shoddy test-track. Welcome everyone, to Top Gear's Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.
For the first seven series of new Top Gear, and following a lightly amusing conversation with Clarkson, our little Suzuki Liana carried the famous derrieres of the likes of Harry Enfield (the first ever star), Sir Michael Gambon, Roger Daltrey, Simon Cowell, Lionel Richie, Jay Kay and even a blind man named Billy Baxter. We saw spins. We saw Sir Michael Gambon on two-wheels. We saw blindingly quick laps.
It was in the eighth series that we had to put our little Liana out to pasture – only resurrecting it for our roll call of F1 drivers past and present – and replaced it with a Chevy. But this be no Camaro or barn-storming V8-powered Corvette. Remember, this is reasonably priced. Enter the Lacetti, our prized averagely priced celeb-chariot, taking over duties from series eight to 15. And while it gave good service – seeing Simon Cowell and Jay Kay battle for the top spot – we gave it a proper send-off. By crushing it under a demolished chimney.
And so we turn to our new reasonably priced celebrity steed, and it's a very averagely priced slice of Korean reasonableness. It is a Kia Cee-apostrophe-d. And it's already hosted the rather famous backsides of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, both of whom recorded scorching times. Until some northern comedians turned up and obliterated them. May we present to you, the fastest Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, Mr Rowan Atkinson and his time of 1m 42.2s. Beat that Cruise.