Ex-Top Gear Hosts Resurface With Fast Things
A P1, a 918 and a LaFerrari for the former BBC employees.
Auto writers, including The Drive’s own Lawrence Ulrich, are lapping Portugal’s Algarve circuit in the all-new McLaren 570S this week. They’ll be tracing rubber laid, however, by Jeremy Clarkson in another McLaren just days before.
The erstwhile Top Gear host left the BBC swinging early this year after punching a producer in the face. Now, the infamously cantankerous 55-year-old has a new contract with Amazon, another giant budget and has reunited with former co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond.
For the debut episode of the web series—which until Clarkson smacked down the prospect recently, was speculated to be called Gear Knobs—the British supertrio has compared the sold-out, million-dollar McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari as they would have on Top Gear, had the 23rd season gone forward. The months-long delay cost the boys some exclusivity; a video of the exact same test was recently published, which almost led to Clarkson canceling altogether so that the new show wouldn’t be “gorging on sloppy seconds,” according to a recent column in the Sunday Times.
Clarkson won’t reveal much about show format, or what has changed vis-a-vis Top Gear (allowing only, “everything”). They can’t use the Stig, the test track, the “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” segment, the celebrity lap-time wall or the airplane-hangar set. The BBC owns all of that.
“It forced us to get creative. To do what we’d never dared to do in the past: to change what we knew worked,” Clarkson wrote in the Times. “Everything is different. Apart from James May, obviously, who is still in 1953. And Richard Hammond, who still doesn’t quite understand anything. And me, who thinks everything can be solved with a hammer.”
We’re keen to see what Clarkson and crew have planned, if only to confirm their uncensored approach and locker-room humo(u)r are still present. Fists lowered, presumably.