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Introducing your new Extra Gear presenter: George Lewis

Ladas, Fiestas and Porsche 964s… new TG EG host shares his car stories

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Top Gear’s companion show Extra Gear returns this Sunday, 5 March on BBC Three at 9pm, with comedian George Lewis presenting alongside Chris Harris and Rory Reid.

Shot in the TG studio each week, George, Chris and Rory will take you behind the scenes on the films from the new series of Top Gear, including deleted scenes and the funniest moments that didn’t make the final cut.

Mr Harris will also take a closer look at the star cars that feature in the main show, and take them for a customary hot lap around the Dunsfold test track.

Before Extra Gear kicks off then, we caught up with presenter George Lewis for a little Q&A…

TopGear.com: What’s your earliest car memory?

George Lewis: My mum’s car, she had a white Lada and it was so embarrassing I begged her to change it for something else. She did eventually, for a red Lada Estate, which was even worse.

What does your car history look like?

My first car was a third generation Fiesta that I bought for £100 off my mate Dougie – he couldn’t pass his test so his dad made him sell it. I then had a couple of Escorts, before upgrading to borrowing my mum’s Focus. My current car is an 08 Renault Megane Expression – I can tell you’re excited. The truth is it looks like your mate’s dad’s car, but I drive thousands of miles to and from gigs, so I just need something that works.

Best and worst from that list?

Worst has to be my first Escort, it was so clapped out, I could barely get above 60mph and it leaked so I couldn’t drive it in the rain. The best is the Megane. Never lets me down.

What would your dream three-car garage be – up to £50k, up to £250k, and with an unlimited budget?

My first choice would be a Golf GTI – it’s my realistic dream car and the top end of what someone like me could pull off. Next would be a BMW M2, they just look like so much fun. And my third choice would be a perfectly restored Porsche 964. Not really making use of my unlimited budget, but they’re just so, so beautiful.

What are your driving skills like? Does The Stig have anything to worry about?

I spend most of the time with the cruise control on, eating Haribo and listening to podcasts. The Stig’s job is safe for now.

What’s the stupidest shunt you’ve had?

That was in my Fiesta, just a few weeks after passing my test. I came off the motorway onto a slip road a bit too fast and felt the car start to slide, then start to roll. I ended up on the roof. Luckily the seat was so shoddy that it broke and laid me flat, so I wasn’t crushed by the roof. The flimsiness of the Fiesta saved my life.

Something that really annoys you about other drivers?

Full beam.

Are you a big Top Gear fan? Answer this one carefully…

Haha, isn’t everyone? Honestly, it’s every boy’s dream to be on Top Gear, I’m chuffed to be a part of it.

What can we expect from this series of Extra Gear?

Loads more behind the scenes footage, original interviews, insight from the presenters, outtakes from the main show, and a Harris lap in every episode. It will be a lot of fun.

Have you met Chris, Matt and Rory yet?

Not Matt yet, but I’ve met Chris and Rory. We get on well. My job is basically a mediator between the two of them as they argue about cars.

What’s your favourite motorsport, and why?

It’s got to be WRC, the variation of surfaces and driver skill is just insane. I find myself watching more and more F1, though. It’s very easy to geek out on the tech.

What’s in your rider?

Dried mango. Nature’s gift to us all.

Favourite TV show?

The Office.

Favourite Band?

Oasis.

Biggest fear?

Boredom.

Fastest you’ve ever gone in a car?

When I’ve been driving, high 90s in my first Fiesta. With someone else driving – 120mph in my mate’s dad’s Vectra when I was a kid. I remember closing my eyes and praying to myself.

Give us your best car joke…

A man walks into a garage and says” “I’d like a new tyre for my Kia”.

The mechanic says: “Sounds like a fair swap.”

I can’t take credit for that. Or should I say blame.

All new Top Gear returns this Sunday, 5 March on BBC Two and BBC Two HD at 8pm, followed by Extra Gear on BBC Three at 9pm.

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