The blokes over at Top Gear are starting to make a habit of being spotted in obscure settings all over the world. Guess they’re really taking advantage of all those frequent flyer miles, eh?
A little over a month ago during their taping of the show’s Christmas Special, the whole crew of Top Gear was spotted in Israel sporting their own versions of custom drop-top roadsters on their way to meeting the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. We all know how that turned out.
This time around, the troika of Clarkson, Hammond, and May have been spotted in Albania. That’s right. Albania.We can only assume that the three chaps were taping an episode of the show in the country, after word leaked courtesy of Albarent, a local rental agency that was responsible for their transportation. According to Albarent, as soon as the hosts and the crew arrived at Tirana Airport, the rental agency went ahead and picked them before driving them to Saranda on the “Albanian Riviera” with a rental fleet including a Mercedes S350 VIP-LOUNGE, Hyundai H-1 VIP-LOUNGE 11+1 Minibus, and an IRISBUS IVECO Tourist Class 19+1 Minibus. Wow, that’s quite a motley crew.
Unfortunately, details as to what happened on their Albanian adventure have been kept under wraps. For us to find out, we’re going to have to tune in to the show, which quite frankly, we’ve never had a problem doing.
The presenters over at Top Gear have seen and driven just about every supercar that has been produced for the last decade, so it’s not surprising that the fastest lap times around their race track belong to the fastest and most powerful machines on the planet.
But as the course of history has shown us, once in a while, a modern day David arrives with a rock and a sling in hand to topple the mighty Goliaths in one fell swoop.
Weighing only 550 kg and powered by a 3.0-liter V8 engine that produces 500 horsepower, this David is by no means a pushover. It’s the Ariel Atom V8 500 and it sure made quite an impression on Top Gear.
As if we didn’t have any more reason to get all geeked up over the 16th season of Top Gear, the lovely folks over at the BBC were kind enough to give us a peek of what to expect from Clarkson, Hammond, and May.
Top Gear’s 16th season is set to hit the tubes on Sunday, January 23, 2011, at 8 pm on BBC2 and BBC HD with the show airing in the States at a later date, that is unless you decide to stream the show on the Internet. As you can expect, you can take it to the bank that they’ve got tons of surprises in store for us.
Now we don’t know the full details behind the show, but we’ve gotten a glimpse of some of the things on tap for season no. 16, including reviews on the new Ariel Atom and the Skoda Yeti, a segment on the proper way to destroy a Volkswagen Beetle , a classic dust-up between the Porsche 959 and the Ferrari F40 , a segment involving submarines, James May in tights, and landing a helicopter on top of a car.
At some point, there’s also going to be the return of our favorite test driver, the Stig , somewhere in there.
Rest assured, season 16 of Top Gear is expected to be one for the books, and quite frankly, coming from Clarkson, Hammond and May, we don’t expect anything less.
Looks like the Top Gear trio is causing trouble again. A few months after Jeremy Clarkson was blamed for a few idiots over in the UK flipping a Reliant over on its side shortly after seeing Clarkson do it on Top Gear, the crew is back in the headlines for yet another fouled up attempt at hilarity.
Apparently a few fans of the show are up in arms about the men donning burkas on theirChristmas special. Burkas are a piece of clothing worn by Muslim women that cover them completely from head to toe, with the exception of their eyes. The men wore the burkas during their Christmas special as a "disguise" so that they could travel through the city without being "recognized."
The Twitter lines simply lighted up after the scene with many people taking offense to the choice of attire. One viewer said, "This is probably the worst top gear special. Y the f*** r they wearing burkas!!?" Another added, "Top gear – the burka joke wasn’t funny."
Still some fans came to the UK show’s defense by saying, "Why are so many people offended. It’s just a piece a clothing. The Burka is not in the Quaran at all. If people are so offended, why don’t they switch over the TV?"
In all honesty, we don’t think Top Gear intended to offend anyone. This was just their way of "blending in" so that no one would recognize them. It’s the equivalent to the men throwing on some kilts if they decided to do a show in Scotland or a cowboy hat to drive through the state of Texas. Of course, it probably wouldn’t have been so bad had Clarkson not made a comment about seeing a Muslim woman sporting a G-string under her gown a few months ago.
Considering the excruciatingly long distance and the myriad of unflattering conditions these three cars were subjected to, it’s a complete miracle that the three drop-top sports cars Top Gear used in their “Christmas Special” made it all the way to their destination in Bethlehem.
Though there were some mishaps and unplanned detours along the 1,200-mile journey from Iraq, Clarkson’s Mazda MX-5 , Hammond’s Fiat Barchetta , and May’s BMW Z3 , lasted long enough to see the three deliver their gifts of gold, frankincense, and apparently, a Nintendo DS.
As a result of successfully completing the journey of the Three Wise Men, the three sports cars are now on display in the World of Top Gear exhibition at Beaulieu, UK.
They’re not in the best of conditions, to say the least. Clarkson’s MX-5 has bullet holes on its doors as a result of an experiment gone bad, Hammond’s Barchetta experienced radiator problems, and May’s Z3…well, it fared the worst of the three with a laundry list of problems. But like true steeds dedicated to bringing their masters to their destination, the three sports cars battled dirt roads, desert dunes, and even an impromptu NASCAR-style race, to find a way to get to their destination.
So to give honor to these noble four-wheeled sheets of metal, the three sports cars have been placed in the World of Top Gear Exhibition to join its fellow brethren of cars that have been used over the years in different challenges by the cast of the show.
It’s a well-placed recognition considering what they’ve been through.
Very rarely do we see a full episode of Top Gear find its way into the ‘Tubes, but somehow, the show’s highly-anticipated “Christmas Special” ended up on You Tube. Yup, all 76 minutes of it. Granted, we don’t know how long it’s going to last, but for now, it’s here for your viewing pleasure.
The boys are back for the first episode of the show’s 16th season, and as with all season premieres go, Clarkson, May, and Hammond wasted little time with their usual banter and theatrics. For the season opener, the three “Wise Men” relieved the journey undertaken by the original Three Kings on their way to Bethlehem. But in true Top Gear fashion, going all the way to Bethlehem isn’t enough of an adventure for these guys so they opted to take the trip with a few, shall we say, ‘complications’, along the way. Check out the full season 16 opener and get your jollies off of the wild adventure of the “Three Wise Men” on their way to the birthplace of Jesus.
For all their head-scratching stunts and irreverent attempts at humor, one would think that the hosts of Top Gear were as impervious to bad mojo as any three people we know.
Turns out, they’re human after all.
James May, one-third of the lovable triumvirate, was knocked unconscious while filming the show’s Christmas special in Syria. The accident occurred when May was helping out his co-host, Jeremy Clarkson pull out his car from a ditch. As bad luck would have it, May ended up falling into the ditch and hitting his head on a rock in the process.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the 47-year old May was rushed to a hospital where he was diagnosed with a severe concussion and given stitches for a nasty gash on his head. To his credit, May was still in a light mood after the entire ordeal, joking that he was only given a head scan because "the Syrians were just excited to be able to use their new scanner."
May’s episode isn’t the first time any of the three have been involved an accident. Back in 2006, co-host Richard Hammond suffered a more serious and dangerous accident when the dragster he was driving overturned at 300 mph. Hammond ended up in a coma and nearly lost his life in the process.
At the end of the day, we’re just glad to see James May still have his wits together, albeit a little scrambled in the process. Here’s to hoping for a full recovery, buddy!
It seems only fitting that with all the controversy he has been involved with in the past year, The Stig would end up taking a much-needed hiatus from his job as Top Gear’s resident driver. But while our definition of a vacation involves white sand beaches or a round of golf at the local clubhouse, the Stig has a different approach: end up in God-knows-where and ask you to find him while being surrounded by people from all walks of life.
This is “Top Gear: Where’s Stig?”, the latest game from BBC Interactive. Taking a ‘page’ from the hit book of the same title, which, in turn was inspired by the ‘Where’s Waldo’ franchise, Top Gear: Where’s Stig? will test not just your familiarity with Top Gear’s inaudible test driver, but will also test how sharp your eyes are, as well as your attention-to-detail.
Find the Stig, his Top Gear buddies, and a boatload of other items, and you’ll be well on your way to unlocking the mysterious driver’s whereabouts. Are you up for it?
The year 2010 is coming to a close in a few weeks and we are still hearing news about Top Gear’s Stig. Yeah, talk about a story dragging longer than any of us expected.
The latest twist in the ongoing drama involves a certain former member of Top Gear who now plies his craft on a competing show, but will be returning to Top Gear on a temporary basis to serve as the show’s Stig. We’ve gotten word that Fifth Gear’s affable old-timer, Tiff Needell, will be returning to Top Gear as the Stig after a nine-year absence.
For those who didn’t follow the show back in its pre-Clarkson days, Needell was a co-presenter on the show from 1987 up to 2001 when the show was canceled. Since the show returned it has become a worldwide phenomenon, but the whole controversial ‘StigGate ,’ has left them struggling to recover. This is why they have reached out to an old friend to fill in some of the voids left behind by the Stig catastrophe. Needell’s task was to teach and train Danny Boyle, the director of the award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, how to drive the Top Gear test track for his appearance on Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car.
Danny said: “The Stig has gone of course so they have this other guy Tiff Needell who used to front the original Top Gear. He was a terrific teacher, no nonsense. It was good.”
According to a Top Gear spokesman, Tiff will not be donning the white tracksuit and helmet permanently, but will only be around until Top Gear finds a permanent Stig through its "Stig Farm" .
The Christmas special will be aired on December 26th, 2010 and will feature a Top Gear version of the boys’ "own 21st century nativity play," but as a gift for the holiday season Top Gear will also air their regular episode on December 21st. This episode features an "epic road trip up America’s east coast" with the boys driving a Mercedes SLS , a Porsche 911 GT3 RS , and a Ferrari 458 Italia . In this segment, the trio put the sports cars to the test to determine which is the greatest. Other segments of the episode will include Danny Boyle’s track run of the reasonably priced car and "a round up of car-related Christmas tat."
There you have it, two Top Gear episodes in one week. Isn’t Christmas wonderful?