Here name is Abbie Eaton, and she’s a decorated race car driver

One of the biggest mysteries surrounding The Grand Tour’s second season was the identity of the show’s new tame race car driver. We didn’t get an answer in the first episode of the new season, but the reveal finally came in the second episode. In a surprising move, the show’s new test driver is actually a she, and her name is Abbie Eaton.

For a show that prides itself on unsuspecting revelations, The Grand Tour didn’t give Eaton’s debut the pomp and circumstance that we were expecting

For a show that prides itself on unsuspecting revelations, The Grand Tour didn’t give Eaton’s debut the pomp and circumstance that we were expecting. In fact, there were no vignettes, no teasers, and no Stig-like breeding farms involved in the arrival of the new driver. What we got was the boys talking about The American’s departure before Clarkson pivots to say that they’ve found a replacement, followed by a simple, “and here she is.”

I suppose that phrase itself was the hook, partly because we weren’t expecting him to say “she.” The segment then cuts to a shot from inside the Mercedes-AMG GT R where we finally get to see Eaton in full racing gear.

The Grand Tour's New Test Driver Is A She
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Turns out, she’s not only good at racing, but at just 25 years old, she already has a decorated career

I understand the confused reactions when it was revealed in the end credits that the driver’s name was Abbie Eaton. I didn’t know anything about her until I looked her up on the Internet to see what kind of racing credentials she had. Turns out, she’s not only good at racing, but at just 25 years old, she already has a decorated career that includes the 2014 championship in the Mazda MX5 Supercup, a handful of podium finishes in the 2015 British GT Cup, and most recently, another run to the podium in the 2017 Blancpain Endurance Series where she drove a Ferrari 488 GTE. In other words, Abbie Eaton is the real deal.

Now, it’s unclear if she’s going to be the permanent test driver of the show moving forward. It would make sense for here to have the seat all to herself because having “guest” test drivers would be ridiculous. Lap times would lose their comparison value because there’d be too many variables to consider.

I don’t mind that Eaton’s introduction didn’t come with more drama. I actually think it was better that she got the introduction she did because it was completely unexpected in an understated kind of way. And for what it’s worth, she produced a hell of a run on board the Mercedes-AMG GT R. That’s what she’ll be known for in the series and she’s already shown that she’s up to the task at her new job description.

Welcome aboard, Abbie Eaton!

References

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R.

GQ Talks Shop With The Boys From The Grand Tour: Video
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Read more The Grand Tour news.

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