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UK

The ever-expanding popularity of Top Gear lends itself to a number of factors, including it’s overall template as a car show, the presence of three popular and irrepressibly funny presenters and their ’tame’ race driver, and the endless stunts that go on in the show on a weekly basis.

The stunts that go on in the show are one of the most popular elements of Top Gear, especially when three middle-aged men with thinning hair partake in these stunts without fear of the ramifications that go with their daredevil exploits. But as is the case with most shows, there’s an element to Top Gear that viewers aren’t privy to, and according to the British tabloid, Daily Mail, the show isn’t exactly on the up-and-up when it comes to the stunts that headliner Jeremy Clarkson participates in.

As it turns out, or at least according to the Daily Mail, Clarkson doesn’t always perform his own stunts and he has professional racing drivers do the chores for him. The paper even cites two unnamed sources who presumable spilled the beans on this little secret.

Continued after the jump

Source: Daily Mail

For the past few months, Don Wales and the Bluebird Electric Team have been preparing to break the existing land speed record for an electric car. Ultimately, fate would play other games on the team as the attempt came to a premature end.

With the team primed and ready for the record attempt at the Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire, Wales, on August 13th and 14th, 2011, Don’s son, Joseph, got the opportunity to enter the record books, continuing a family legacy that went all the way back to the patriarch, Malcolm Campbell. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as limited visibility within the cockpit of the Bluebird and an alarming slide towards the sea at speeds in excess of 100 mph caused the Bluebird to bounce severely on the uneven surface and hit a soft pothole of sand. The impact caused by the accident severely damaged the vehicle’s bodyshell, steering components, and the bottom wishbone.

“When you can’t see the ground in front of you for 60 meters or 70 meters you’re in trouble before you’ve seen it,” Don Wales said just after the accident.

The only good thing that came out of this doomed attempt was that Joe Wales was able to control the car enough that the damage it incurred was as minimal as it could have been given the circumstances surrounding the entire debacle. Nevertheless, the team is understandably dismayed about the failed record attempt, but they know more than anybody else the extenuating circumstances that can torpedo their record-setting quests. As for the future, the Bluebird Team is optimistic that another attempt is in the oven, although the time frame has yet to be determined.

“We’ll take the car back to Pembroke Docks and see what need to be fixed and see where we go from here," said Wales.

If in case all the news and rumors surrounding electric supercars have become a little too much for our gas-guzzling friends, it is worth pointing out there is a future for these type of cars. The only caveat, as has always been the case, is that someone actually builds something that could be considered as such.

The latest automaker to have their names attached to building ’e-exotics’ is British automaker, Bristol. You might remember these guys for their storied history in aviation manufacturing and their crossover into the automotive industry with the 200-mph Fighter sports car. However, now it appears as if the British company is looking at breaking into the electric segment.

According to EVO, Bristol wants to build an electric supercar that can hit up to 200 mph. Ambitious as it sounds - and it does sound very ambitious - the British automaker is serious enough to already have plans for putting in two separate electric powertrains for the front and rear wheels. These dual drivetrains will each have two motors, allowing for each wheel to have its own more, which could very well make for a very interesting car.

While the hope and dream for the car’s realization is still years away - if it ever gets there - Bristol at least has an important ally by its side in the form of its parent company, Frazer-Nash, which has been spending a lot of its time working with and helping develop range-extending powertrain systems for other manufacturers.

If Bristol manages to achieve producing a 200-mph electric super car with all the luxury bells and whistles that come with it, who knows, they might end up being a trail blazer in their own right.

Source: EVO

The power of extravagance knows no bounds, especially for those who just can’t seem to get enough of it. Then again, when you have the ability to just throw money around like its disposable paper, we suppose that you can do pretty much anything you want, including plating your Ferrari supercar in gold.

This is the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano that has been worked on by Hamann so there’s some top-level tuning in the car already. We already saw this car in the past but it’s certainly worth repeating: this bad boy is plated...with gold.

Apparently, the car belongs to a wealthy and high-profile individual from Dubai and was recently spotted in London being accompanied by no less than a Mansory-tuned Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. If a six-figure Rolls-Royce can serve as the ’bodyguard’ of this gold-plated 599 GTB Fiorano, then it certainly speaks volumes as to how extravagant this 673-horsepower, gold-plated Ferrari really is.

The only thing that boggles our mind is how he can get around town, let alone bring it to another country, without being worried about all the eyes that will inevitably fix their attention on his one-of-a-kind Ferrari.

Check out this gold-plated 599 GTB Fiorano in the streets of London after the jump

Source: YouTube

The GranTurismo S Automatic has turned out to be Maserati ’s most sold model on the British market and, as a thanks to their customers, the automaker is now offering a new Sport Pack as a bonus. The new add-on further enhances the GranTurismo S Automatic so that it delivers a performance oriented experience, but don’t expect that experience for free; the new package is priced at £3,840, or about $6,240 at the current exchange rates.

The most important feature of the new Sport Pack is a revised exhaust system which keeps its bypass valves fully open in Sport mode to provide an even richer sound. Next to this, the package also includes body colored side skirts and front winglets, a stylish black grille featuring the Maserati Trident Trident logo with red accents, black mesh side grilles, black look headlights, an integrated rear boot lid spoiler, and oval exhaust pipes. Grigio Mercury Neptune-design alloy wheels finish off the Maserati’s sportier look.

Other than that, the GranTurismo S Automatic’s specifications remain unchanged. Look for the usual 4.7-liter V8 engine that delivers a total of 440 HP and a peak torque of 361 lbs-ft at 4750 rpm to get the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat. Top speed remains at 183 mph.

Top Gear’s 17th season flew by just like that, didn’t it?

The sixth and final episode aired over the weekend, and unlike the past episodes, this one more than lived up to the expectations. Richard Hammond got the show off to a promising start with a great segment about the Lamborghini Aventador . From there, the show picked up some steam with a pretty hilarious segment featuring Jeremy Clarkson and James May as they embarked on an electric-car crusade around town. Some unforeseen circumstances resulted in a few mishaps, but all in all, the duo managed to make the most out of their respective cars - Clarkson had the Nissan Leaf while May had the Peugeot Ion - to finish their adventure in one piece. But even that wasn’t enough to convince the two about the potential of electric cars in the future.

Fittingly, the final segment of season 17 took a more serious turn with an inspiring story about a Cross Country racing team in Wales for disabled British soldiers. It’s a humbling way to end a very interesting season and puts into perspective what the human spirit is capable of accomplishing despite the challenges that seemingly lies in front of it.

Details after the jump.

Oh the tragedy! Many Americans may not be too familiar with Katie Price, but over in the UK, Price is widely known for her television appearances, her lackluster singing career, and her published books. With so many hobbies, we can only imagine that this little harlot has plenty of money to spend which is evident in her newest toy, a Bugatti Veyron .

Price laid out £1million - or around $1.6 million at the current exchange rates - on this beautifully fast supercar and plans on ruining it by painting it pink to match her other vehicles. Yeah, she has other pink cars to boast of. A close source to her said: "She will anger petrol-heads worldwide by turning such a beautiful, iconic machine bright pink. But at least it will match her other cars." Just goes to show that money can’t buy taste.

In addition to the high cost of the supercar, it seems Price has also purchased a rather expensive "F1" license plate. The Sun doesn’t say anything about the F1 plate slapped right on the front of the car, but it looks very similar to the license plate auctioned off in 2008 to Afzal Kahn (Kahn Design owner) for £440,000 (about $880,000). We don’t know for sure, but with the amount of money Price throws around, we wouldn’t be surprised.

Source: The Sun

A week after a forgettable fourth episode , Top Gear bounces back with a pretty entertaining penultimate episode that featured a review on the new Jensen Interceptor , a track day for Jeremy Clarkson with the Lotus Exos Type 125 race car , Bob Geldof as the guest celebrity, and a military house destruction challenge.

Comparing it to the previous show, the content for this week was a lot better, but in a weird twist, the show only had 59 minutes on it - the regular slot usually lasts for 62 to 63 minutes - because, apparently, BBC wanted to show the MotoGP race exactly on time.

That became a running gag during the whole episode as Hammond and May kept speeding up Clarkson in order to fill out the entire episode in the 59 minutes they were given.

In the end, the military destruction challenge proved to be the most entertaining segment of the episode - we’d argue that it’s the best one all year, too - filled with child-like shenanigans from the three hosts that make us love the work they’re doing.

Some people might slam them for wasting their precious time on something so inane, but if you were walking in their shoes, you’d be having a ball of time using military vehicles in trying to put down a cement house.

Details on Top Gear Season 17: Episode 5 after the jump

Rowan Atkinson is known by most as the one of the world’s funniest, albeit quirky, men. After all, Mr. Bean hardly needs much of an introduction, but what most people don’t know is that Mr. Bean is also an avid car lover and collector. Move aside, Jay Leno, because Atkinson knows his fair share of automobiles too, and drives them like a pro.

The proof is in the pudding and while dropping in on the gang at BBC’s Top Gear, Mr. Atkinson brought along one of his prized possessions: a very special Rolls-Royce Phantom . We say special because it doesn’t feature the Phantom’s usual 6.75-liter V12 engine, but a unique 9.0-liter V16. According to Atkinson, Rolls Royce designed the Phantom especially for this engine, but changed their mind at the last minute. The V16 engine was hanging around the company’s store until Atkinson - knowing of its existence and history - specifically asked for it to be dropped into a Phantom. The best part is that the V16-powered Phantom will be used for one of Atkinson’s upcoming movies - Johnny English Reborn - set to air in the States on August 18, 2011.

We’ve been harping about world records on this site for a little while now. It’s not because we’ve suddenly developed a fascination for them, but because we’ve always been on the look-out for records like this.

One record that seems to continually pop up recently is the land speed record for an electric car. And just as it always comes up in conversations, somebody is trying to take a shot at beating it. The latest attempt we’ve heard about comes from the Bluebird Team, a team of engineers and drivers building a car - the Bluebird Electric - with the hopes of breaking the top speed record for an electric car. Headed by land-speed racing veteran Don Wales, the Bluebird Team is looking at breaking 500 mph in the Bluebird Electric, a notable feat considering that the current record only sits at 307 mph, which, incidentally, was set just a year ago.

Despite the lofty goals being set by the team, the work done to jump start the entire project is still in its infancy stages. The dream is there; the money, unfortunately, isn’t.

"I have a team of 30 people requiring accommodation and feeding and volunteers are needed to help as course marshals and fodders, " Wales said in a statement. "Without a principal sponsor as yet, the development of the car is taking all of what limited budget we have".

Lack of money notwithstanding, the Bluebird Team is still pushing forward with their goal. As part of their testing, the team took the car to the Pendine Sands in Wales on July 2 and 3 for some testing.

If anybody’s interested in giving these guys a hand through donations, you can do so by contacting Rebecca Nicholls on her email at rebecca@bluebirdspeedrecords.com.

UPDATE 07/19/11: Bluebird Electric’s record speed runs has finally been penciled in at the calendar. The dates have been set on the weekend of August 13 and 14 at the Pendine Sands, South Wales. Circle the date, folks!

Learn more about the Bluebird Team and their BlueBird Electric Car after the jump.


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