Here's your big Top Gear TV preview!
A new series of TG telly is here, and this is what you can expect...
These are febrile, befuddling times in the world of motoring. The world’s energy markets are in flux, microchip and wiring loom shortages are playing havoc with global supply chains, and let’s not even get started on Britain’s EV charging infrastructure.
What’s required, clearly, is some wise heads to bring clarity to these muddy waters. Enter, then, Messrs Flintoff, Harris and McGuinness. Three learned men, aiming to answer today’s biggest automotive questions… by turning a Sinclair C5 into a bobsleigh, tackling some 1920s motorsport, delving into donk racing, racing HGVs with helicopters strapped to the back, and whanging some very cheap cars around a tank assault course. Yes, Top Gear’s back to brighten up your Sunday nights, and here’s what in store in the new series.Advertisement - Page continues below
ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET, FLO’
Over the last few years, Team Top Gear has got stuck into a whole bunch of different motorsports, all over the planet. The Baja 1000 in Mexico, Formula Off Road in Iceland, GT racing in the millionaire’s playground of southern Norfolk. And it’s fair to say that, while there’s been plenty of enthusiasm and shouting, there’s not been a whole lot in the way of actual silverware. None, in fact. Team Top Gear’s trophy cabinet, looking a bit bare right now.
Time, then, to put that right, with a road-trip across the corner of the globe that boasts more original, grass-roots race series than any other: Florida. The aim? For Chris, Freddie and Paddy to get stuck into as many different events as possible, try and bag a few trophies. The events? Properly oddball.
In Miami, donk racing, in which extravagantly modified old muscle cars do battle on the drag strip, and spectators exchange hefty sums of money (sensibly) betting against Team Top Gear progressing.
In Naples, swamp buggy racing, in which competitors splash round the Everglades in homebuilt creations while trying not to alert the attention of the resident alligators.
And in… a field somewhere south of Tampa, that most quintessential of American motorsports: the police Crown Vic derby. In which competitors bash lumps out of each other around a classic American oval, with the power-boosting assistance of nitrous oxide. Hell, and, indeed, yeah.
Naturally a big motorsport road trip requires a big team bus. Enter the glorious, 35-foot-long Holiday Rambler Aluma Lite, a classic RV boasting a giant GM V8 and, judging by the colour and scent of the upholstery, an exciting array of fungal diseases. Is the venerable Rambler the machine to finally ferry Team Top Gear to motorsport glory?Advertisement - Page continues below
TOP OF THE COPS
What’s happened to telly cop cars recently? Back in the day, the vehicles driven by on-screen rozzers were as recognisable as the cads behind the wheel – Starsky and Hutch’s Ford Gran Torino, Inspector Morse’s Jaguar Mark 2, Magnum PI’s Ferrari 308 GTS. But nowadays, TV coppers seem happy to make do with a grey Volvo estate or diesel Astra. What we’re saying is: you don’t see anyone from Line of Duty skidding around in a Lambo Huracan STO, do you?
This, clearly, is a travesty. So, ever with an eye on their public service remit, Chris, Freddie and Paddy are on a mission to introduce some legendary TV cop cars for the 21st century, in the shape of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, Ford F150 Raptor and Audi RS3. Which means, inevitably, meeting the presenters’ crime-fighting alter egos: Dave Tall, the Preston Ranger, and Dirty Cobra…
HGV FOR VICTORY
With Britain in the grip of an HGV crisis – not enough lorry drivers to get the stuff we need, where it needs to go – it’s time for the presenters to find out what it takes to become a trucker. After heroically attaining their HGV licences, Chris, Freddie and Paddy set out on a British lorry trip in three state-of-the-art, top-of-the-range trucks, a trip incorporating all the challenges an HGV driver might face in a day’s work. Including, of course, tackling a slalom course with a pair of helicopters strapped to the back of their trucks.
Unfortunately their maiden road trip happened to coincide with the arrival of February’s monstrous Storm Eunice. Because there’s nothing you want more on your first big truck trip than 100mph crosswinds…
Cheap cars have got very expensive recently. With the average price of a used car in the UK rising by five thousand pounds in the last year alone, are there still genuine second-hand bargains to be had out there?
To find out, Top Gear’s consumer champions assembled a veritable smorgasbord of very used cars – all bought for less than £500, all with valid MOT, at least a couple without a truly harrowing odour inside – and set about subjecting them to some proper consumer reliability testing. Proper consumer reliability testing that involved, naturally, a military tank assault course, a substantial water crossing, and a race to the death around Europe’s biggest scrapyard.
This year sees the fiftieth birthday of everyone’s favourite Bavarian-based automotive tuning department: BMW’s M-Division. To celebrate half a century of spectacular, tyre-toasting Munich mayhem, Paddy commandeers some of the finest products ever churned out by the M-Division, from the legendary 3.0 CSL Batmobile and V10-engined M5, right up to the present-day, nostril-tastic M3. But which will he M-declare the finest M-car of the M-bunch?Advertisement - Page continues below
A LUGE TRIBUTE TO SIR CLIVE
What better way to honour the life of legendary British inventor than by turning his most famous creation, the Sinclair C5 microcar, into… a bobsleigh? Well actually quite a lot of better ways, now we think of it. A nice park bench, maybe. Or perhaps a plaque. But no, a C5 bobsleigh it is, with Freddie keen to see if he could crack 60mph down Norway’s Lillehammer luge track.
BIG HILLY STYLE
The team pay tribute to the BBC’s hundredth anniversary, motorsport style. How? By bouncing up some very steep country tracks in a very old, very expensive car, in what might be Britain’s most idiosyncratic motorsport: hill trials. Tally-ho!Advertisement - Page continues below
Naturally the series sees Team Top Gear running its trusty rule over the latest, greatest new cars on sale, including the Maserati MC20, Lotus Emira – and a jaw-dropping Rivian R1T drag race.
HARRIS DRIVES FORD’S WRC PUMA
“Hi Chris. Just wondering if you fancied driving Ford’s new WRC car on the snow in Norway. Bec—Chris? Chris? Don’t forget to pack your passport!”
Catch the new series of Top Gear TV, Sunday at 8pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer