Watch James May Smash a Mitsubishi Evo Into a Tunnel Wall

The crash raises questions about safety standards on The Grand Tour set.
YouTube/ Rizki Bagja

During filming for the latest Grand Tour special, A Scandi Flick, James May crashed a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII into a cave wall. The special has now been released, including footage of the impact, which you can now watch on YouTube.

The roving special saw James May, Richard Hammond, and Jeremy Clarkson road-tripping through Scandinavia. The trio drove all-wheel-drive sedans for the rally-themed film, with May’s Evo joined by Hammond’s Subaru Impreza WRX STI and Clarkson’s Audi RS4. Naturally, an argument was had over which car was fastest, to be settled by a contest. Each would drive their car at speed down a tunnel at the Olavsvern naval base in Norway to determine the winner.

There was just one problem—the tunnel was a dead end. It was also dark, with lights only turning on just in front of the car as it moved through the tunnel for dramatic effect. Green lights flicked on through each car’s run, with red lights at the end marking the wall at the finish.

May reached 78 mph behind the wheel of the Evo but sadly braked too late to pull up in time. He instead threw the car sideways in an attempt to avoid the wall, hitting it broadside instead of head-on. The impact was serious, with May’s head thrown into the car’s B-pillar as various items are tossed about the cabin. May was thankfully able to exit the car under his own power and was taken to a hospital for checks. He sustained a broken rib during the accident, but was able to rejoin the journey in the following days.

The car itself took plenty of damage all along the right-hand side. The radiator was leaking, the intercooler pipes collapsed, and the oil cooler was completely bent out of shape. Amazingly, despite the damage, the car was able to be repaired to continue on with the journey.

The crash raises concerns around the safety standards on The Grand Tour set. Driving flat-out toward a wall is a bad idea on the face of it. To do so in road cars without even basic safety measures like helmets or HANS devices is madness. Having random items bounce around the cabin only added to the risk. Thankfully for May, nothing heavier than a glove hit him in the head during the accident.

Few modern workplaces would entertain such a stunt, at least without mitigating measures in place. It seems The Grand Tour production follows a more Clarksonian bent, where health and safety come second to bravado and “common sense.” Of course, common sense would normally suggest one doesn’t floor it towards a cave wall without a helmet on.

Got a tip? Let the author know: