Top Gear TV is back, and here's your big series 33 preview
Chris, Freddie and Paddy return to our screens... and as usual, it doesn’t always go quite to plan
It’s that time of year when the clock on your dashboard’s about to be an hour out of whack, which must mean a new series of Top Gear is here! Yes, Chris, Freddie and Paddy are back for their seventh series, which means they’ve officially outlasted The Sopranos, and they’re closing in fast on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Big league stuff.
In this jam-packed, marmalade upholstered new series, you’ll find French waxworks, Italian taxi ranks, Thai pickups, German sausages, Croatian hypercars and, of course, a triple-helping of premium British beef. Here’s what’s on the menu...
The new series of Top Gear is on BBC One, every Sunday at 8pm. Be there! Or watch it on iPlayer! Or both!Advertisement - Page continues below
SCHNELL, SCHNELLER, am SCHNELLSTEN!
When we talk about supercars, it’s always about the big numbers. Horsepower, top speed, price. And don’t get us wrong, while we’re all about those numbers being as big as possible – well, the first two, anyhow – shouldn’t supercars be less about the stats, more about the way they make you feel?
So here’s the question. Which supercar out there gives the lucky beggar behind the wheel, the best time? Does bigger really equal better? To find out, Chris, Freddie and Paddy each selected an offering from a different corner on the ol’ supercar spectrum, and headed to Germany for a spot of research.Advertisement - Page continues below
Paddy went big, with the £3m Pagani Huayra BC Roadster. Freddie went... still pretty big, with the tech heavy new Ferrari 296 GTB. And for Chris’s supercar, he chose the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS, which isn’t actually a supercar at all, but let’s not get hung up on such minor technicalities.
Just the trio, then, for a night time charge down a derestricted section of autobahn, and a final ascent of Austria’s jaw-dropping Grossglockner Pass. Tough, day, office, etc.
Which nation is the most pickup obsessed of them all? If you’re thinking that it’s the US of A, you’re the US of Wrong. Because the pickuppiest country of them all is... Thailand! Per capita, Thais buy more of them than in any other country.
Keen to delve a little deeper into Thailand’s flatbed obsession, the presenters headed on a roadtrip of discovery from the country’s coast to its jungly, mountainous interior. An adventure that would see our brave heroes grappling with the world of pickup truck racing, the intricacies of Bangkok’s tuning scene and the gravity assisted, remarkably painful motorsport of Formula Hmong.
Such an adventure would clearly require pickups fit for the job. Which is why Freddie Flintoff selected a raised, toughened Toyota Hilux. And why
Paddy McGuinness took the dependable local favourite, the Isuzu D-Max. And possibly not why Chris Harris found a local workshop to perform some light modifications to the roof of an old BMW E30...
LIBERTY, EQUALITY, ELECTRICITY
If you want a tiny, battery powered pod-thing to transport you to spots that regular city cars simply can’t reach (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t, apart from people who live in the country, or people with more than one other person to transport?), you’re spoiled for choice right now.Advertisement - Page continues below
You could have the Citroen Ami, spiritual successor to the 2CV and almost impossible to tell its rear from its front. You could have the Carver Electric, the Dutch oddball bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘lean and green’. Or you could have the City Transformer, which transforms from ‘narrow city car’ to ‘slightly less narrow’ city car at the push of a button.
But how to decide the best of the bunch? We’re guessing, some sort of weighted matrix, incorporating price, performance, range, footprint, etc? All of which sounded a bit boring, so the team decided to settle the debate with a treasure hunt around Paris. The treasure in question being ‘mildly creepy waxworks’ and the hunting weapon of choice being ‘coloured berets’. Vive la différence!Advertisement - Page continues below
RIMAC NEVERA vs PETROL
Chris assembles a) a 2,000bhp Rimac Nevera, b) one of Britain’s longest runways and c) a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, for a drag race like you’ve never seen before. CH isn’t a man often lost for words, but this one might do the trick...
A TASTE OF STOCK
It’s Flintoff versus F1! But not regular, polite Monaco ’n’ superyachts F1. Oh no. We’re talking the real deal: F1 Stock Cars, Britain’s back-to-basics race series in which, and we quote, “full contact is allowed and encouraged”. Best pack the paracetamol, Fred.
The Ferrari Daytona SP3. Beautiful, but so vanishingly rare that most of us will never come close to seeing one, let alone driving it. So what better way to spread the Daytona love, as it were, than by taking a few new friends for ride in it?
Deliveries are big business right now, but what if you want to get into the parcel game on a budget? Chris, Freddie and Paddy each buy a van on the cheap, and set out to tackle Top Gear’s patented Real World Delivery Driver Obstacle Course Complete With Fearsome German Shepherd.
In just two months, can Paddy take four young motorsport enthusiasts, and get them up to professional race standard, ready to drive a McLaren at Donington in the GT Cup? Time to call in some help from... Lando Norris.
ONE FOR THE ROAD
At long, long, long, long last, it’s here. Chris heads to Germany to sample the AMG One, Merc’s very much awaited ‘F1 car for the road’. As you may have read, Harris’ Day of AMG fun didn’t exactly go... smoothly.
VERY OFF-ROAD IN THE NEW RANGE ROVER
The new Range Rover. Posher than Hugh Grant riding a thoroughbred, but does it off-road like, um, Hugh Grant riding a thoroughbred? To find out, Paddy and Chris take it to the UK’s toughest off-road event, the King of Britain. Definitely going to end well.