In a week where certain publications speculated that a video of former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson building a box on YouTube would garner more views that an actual episode of New New Top Gear the world awaited episode 3 of the new season.
Audi R8 V10 Test
This film has been rather anticipated, but not due to the appearance of either Sabine Schmitz or the all-new Audi R8 V10, the reason being everyone wanted to see Chris Evans lose his breakfast after a trip round Laguna Seca with Schmitz at the wheel.
The safety systems on vs all turned off was an interesting way of doing things, this coupled with an almighty driving display from Schmitz using the amazing Laguna Seca as a backdrop made the film work. As always the single highlight was Evans seeing his breakfast again and the reaction of Schmitz.
Ferrari 612 TDF Test
Finally, Chris Harris makes his New New Top Gear debut with a test of the brutal Ferrari 612 TDF. The first section of this film featured the rather expensive (and breakable) Ferrari 250 TDF being driven by Harris, again as always the high production values of Top Gear were upheld here magnificently, combined with Harris’s trademark super enthused presenting style we were presented with a huge amount of facts (actual facts) along with a great piece about a stunning car.
The main event however in this film was, of course, the Ferrari 612 TDF, the back-drop for this was the Paul Ricard circuit in France, the sight of Harris in his element sliding the big Fezza around the track was a truly magnificent moment and possibly what New New Top Gear has been lacking to date. The section where Harris explained his love for all of the small details on the car was truly entertaining.
A great debut on the main show and hopefully a sign of things to come.
Top Gear Studio Sections
This week, at last, we were given a majority of the New New Top Gear presenters in the studio with Schmitz, Harris and Reid all present and given equal presenting parts to do, basically, we had less Evans, LeBlanc, less shoutyness and it worked a lot better.
LeBlanc still looks a bit detached from his fellow presenters but here’s to hoping they will click fully at some point.
The stars in the new reasonably price car
This week the guests were boxer Anthony Joshua and US comedian Kevin Hart, thankfully this week it was just the two guests without any additions.
Hart was truly entertaining, thanks for the most part, to a fair amount of self-mocking for his rather diminutive height, whoever in the Top Gear backroom staff had the idea of booking a very tall man and a not so tall man on the same show should be given a pay rise as it worked very well.
Joshua came across very well, although he did struggle to get a word in between Evans & Hart, let’s be honest though, everyone likes a guy who is self-made and one of the first things he does when he makes some money to is to buy his mum a car, a Range Rover Sport no less.
My only reservation still is the change of track with the inclusion of the off-road sections. The filmed laps for me still lack overall excitement and pace. My guess is because they can never be compared to the prior Star Car Laps as the track layout has now been changed beyond recognition.
Ford Focus RS Test
Finally after seeing so much of Rory Reid in ExtraGear, we finally got to see him making his New New Top Gear debut.
What a debut, Reid looks a natural doing these types of tests, combining a child-like enthusiasm for his work with actual driving nous.
Amongst the many highlights of this film, the teenager drifting the Focus RS was one for sure, the quote from Reid of ‘Sideways that’s the new Forwards’ which is something I want to be engraved on my tombstone.
The minor inclusion of the Honda Civic Type-R and the Mercedes AMG A45 only served to confirm what most of us already know, the Ford Focus RS is clearly a performance bargain and a hell of a car.
Seeing Reid being the happiest man on earth, while drifting a Ford Focus RS was a moment.
A seriously cool debut, again Reid is what the show has been missing, more, please!
Matt LeBlanc tours London with Ken Block
This film has been highly anticipated after the huge amount of controversy it caused by the rather ill-advised donuts performed in front of the Cenotaph in London. Thankfully the TG producers omitted this section, if you know London well as I do then this film was thrilling as London’s many landmarks were used as stunning backdrops as London became the playground for the riotous Ken Block and his 845bhp ‘Hoonicorn’ Ford Mustang.
Ken Block is clearly in his element in a city/factory environment set-up as a stunt playground, the use of such landmarks as the Lloyd’s building, Tower Bridge & St Pauls provided a combination of stunning driving work from Block and wonderful camera and production work from the Top Gear crew.
The conversation between Block & LeBlanc was a highlight giving rise to some very amusing moments as Block sliced his way through the capital sideways. The only question I have, what does the red button do?
This week ExtraGear continued its strong run of form as it gave us a further insight behind the scenes of the main show, the additional Hoonicorn scenes filmed at the Ford plant in Essex, more Gymkhana style than anything but as always beautifully shot and great driving work from Block.
The studio debate between Harris and Reid in respect of the Ford Focus RS and the Ferrari 612TDF was great fun; it was basically two mates having a passionate debate about their chosen cars which was great fun.
Harris hooning the AMG GTS around the Top Gear track was excellent, first class hoonery at its very best , Harris has this massive enthusiasm when it comes to cars and he lets it show through, this alone makes him a bona fide Top gear presenter.
The behind the scenes of the Ford Focus RS film was both informational and hugely funny all at once, the fact that a man picked his nose on camera should go down as one of the great moments in Top Gear.
The ExtraGear news and guest section featuring Zoe Lyons followed the theme from the rest of the show providing very funny moments ,the fact that Reid and Harris are just a couple of mates sitting around having a laugh about cars is hugely entertaining.
The final piece was a first person lap of the Audi R8 V10 at Laguna Seca which as expected ended in Evans meeting his breakfast again; even on a second take, the sight of this was hugely funny.
What a difference a week makes, laugh out loud moments, some great cars and finally the introduction of the new presenters of the main show. The best episode yet of New New Top Gear.