Top Gear makes its long-awaited comeback on May 29, and while the show has been mired in constant controversy there’s little in the way of hard facts about what exactly is in store for the news series.
That is until now. Details of the Chris Evans relaunch have been hiding in plain sight, namely the latest issue of Top Gear magazine. Evans, who’s leading a new presenting team featuring Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, Sabine Schmitz, Eddie Jordan and Rory Reid, offered up his thoughts on the new series.
“I have never experienced anything in my career that comes close to what it’s like to make a single film for Top Gear, let alone a whole hour show… let alone a whole series,” Evans said. “There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world of TV. Every scene could be from a movie, every moment teetering on the brink somewhere between disaster and triumph.
He continued: “The vast majority of television I have been involved with in the past has been much more ‘of the moment’, more disposable if you like, as well as being usually live or ‘as live’. All of which is so NOT Top Gear. TG is more akin to a Bond movie.”
Crossing 10 countries and four continents in 50 cars have been taxing, with Evans saying the crew “have each aged a thousand years in the past 10 months”. The proof will be in the putting, and all that’s left now is to see the finished thing. Here’s an idea of exactly what you can expect from the new Top Gear, including celebrity guests, US v UK rivalry and more…
Getting around London congestion
Anybody who’s lived in London knows it’s a commuter’s nightmare. Matt LeBlanc finds this out first hand when he embarks on a lightning-quick tour of the capital in a 1965 Ford Mustang. Guided through empty back roads and underground tunnels by rally driver Ken Block, he managed to gatecrash a wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral. This was the TG film that caused a stir around the Cenotaph, so don’t expect that to make the final cut…
The Orient Express
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express gets you from London to Italy at a cost of £3,300. Not exactly a bargain, but Evans, Schmitz and LeBlanc attempt to replicate it by buying second-hand luxury cars and racing each other to the finish line. There’s even a cameo from chef Tom Kerridge to cook up a Michelin-grade dining experience.
Matt LeBlanc hits Morocco
The Ariel Atom is a road legal high-octane sports car manufactured in Somerset. But how will it cope in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains? LeBlanc takes the new Atom V8 for a spin and faces off against drones, dirt bikes and a paramotor.
UK v US
If you’re looking for “bantz” in the new series of Top Gear, then look for it to come via some transatlantic rivalry between the Evans and LeBlanc. A friendly debate about classic Rolls Royce cars – Evans loves the Corniche, LeBlancn the Rolls Royce Dawn V12 – culminates in a trip to Dingle in Ireland where the locals have their say on what’s best.
The highest pub in Africa
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to transport three A-list musicians to the highest pub in Africa then this film will set you straight. Evans, LeBlanc and Eddie Jordan leap into SUVs – a Jaguar F-Pace, Porsche Macan and Mercedes-Benz GLC – and pick up Seasick Steve, Tinie Tempah and Texas’ Sharleen Spiteri to get the mission done.