Top Gear USA: Episode 1

Top Gear USA To Premiere November 21st
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The wait is finally over as the curtains were lifted off of the very first episode of Top Gear USA. Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Rutledge Wood were all smiles as they prepared to meet their maker in the form of critics and fans alike, who were all prepared to make that fateful decision: to hate or not to hate Top Gear USA.

Before watching the first episode of Top Gear USA, we were very hopeful that the trio of Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Rutledge Wood would light up our television sets with the witty repertoire we’ve heard so much about. It started out a little rough with some forced playful banter and horribly scripted lines, but by the end of their very first episode, we started to see the chemistry between all three hosts.

Were they able to succeed in winning over their target audience? The jury is still out, but we can only hope that Top Gear USA will pull through for all of us. Let us know what you think after reading the details of their first episode after the jump.

The Stig

Tony Hawk tweets photo with US Stig
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What Top Gear will be complete without its very own Stig? USA’s version of the white suited, helmet-wearing secret driver’s first appearance in the media was with legendary skateboarder, Tony Hawk, even before the first episode was aired. Apparently, Hawk’s enthusiasm shone bright as he tweeted a picture of him and the legendary driver.

And true to form, the Stig’s identity has already picked at with Williams F1 driver, Rubens Barrichello, being the driver suspected of tinkering with the toys on the Top Gear set.

Whoever this mysterious driver is, his first task was to get in a Dodge Viper ACR with its 600hp slammed into the rear wheels and take it for a little trip around the Top Gear test track. The Stig accomplished this task in 1:22.0, making this the first time to be put up on the board. More about the Top Gear test track next!

The New Track

A first look at the Stig's new track for Top Gear USA
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The Stig can’t do his job without a track to race on, so Top Gear was ready to please by utilizing a former Marine Corp facility at El Toro in Orange County, California. The former air field includes plenty of north/south and east/west runways to make driving the best cars that much more enticing. The only thing lacking from the race track was elevation, but that was quickly fixed with the addition of a ten foot drop and an off-track loop.

Car Reviews

What better way to start off the Top Gear USA history than to compare some of the most spectacular vehicles to come out of Sant’Agata? For their very first set of car reviews, the American trio were pinned up against each other while driving a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera (driven by Ferrara), a Lamborghini Gallardo Valentino Balboni Edition (driven by Foust), and a Lamborghini Murcielago SuperVeloce (driven by Wood).

After some anticlimactic bantering mixed in with some pushed details about each vehicle, the trio set off on their competitive runs. The drivers challenged each other in the standing mile. Wood topped off at 175mph while Foust hit 173mph, but Ferrara came out on top with a fearless 180mph.

Not wanting to leave the Stig out of all the fun, the men from Top Gear had the mystery driver take all three vehicles for a run on the track. The Lamborghini Gallardo Valentino Balboni Edition made it in 1:26.9, the Lamborghini Murcielago SuperVeloce got a 1:23.4, but the Superleggera came out on top again with a 1:22.8.

Big Star Small Car

Top Gear USA's vehicle for "Big Star in Small Car" will be a Suzuki SX4 Exterior
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The first celebrity to step foot on the Top Gear race track is the famous American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot, and astronaut, Buzz Aldrin. After a lackluster and forced interview, Aldrin was challenged to climb into the featured small car, the Suzuki SX4, and make his way through the Top Gear test track. We think we dozed off a bit before Buzz and the Suzuki actually made it across the finish line at 1:55.56.

The Challenges

2010 Dodge Viper SRT10
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The first challenge of the season pitted two snakes together in a game of cat and mouse. The first serpent to slither out was a Dodge Viper SRT10. The guys had plenty to say about the Viper as they compared driving it to taming a wild horse, but the true challenge for the Viper was outslinking the second snake in this battle: a Cobra Attack helicopter. The challenge was easy; the Viper had to make it from the airfield to the railroad bridge (a distance of about 10 miles), while being chased by the missiles from the helicopter. With Foust as the driver and Wood as the navigator, the duo set off on a high speed adventure where a few lights on the dash let them know if they had been hit by any of the “missiles” the Cobra helicopter had launched at them.

The Dodge Viper SRT10 boasts a top speed of 202mph, with the Cobra Attack helicopter falling short at 172mph. After some crazy, then some lazy driving, Foust and Wood were ended up being caught by the helicopter three times, therefore failing the challenge that was set before them. That didn’t stop them from performing some crazy donuts as part of their sendoff into automobile heaven.

Wrapping it Up

The men of Top Gear USA
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The show was stacked with reviews, challenges, a celebrity guest, and some wicked laps on the Top Gear test track, but we think the script definitely needs some work as the men seemed to choke on their words as they were speaking them. It wasn’t horrible, and definitely improved as the show went on. Their chemistry truly showed through towards the end when they were giving Foust a hard time over losing during the Lamborghini challenge. Of course, they did start the season with some of the most beautiful Lamborghinis so we still have high hopes for Top Gear USA, and we don’t think they will disappoint.

Check in with us next week as we move on to Episode Two of the controversial Top Gear USA, and remember to leave some of your thoughts on the maiden episode in the comments section below.

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Show Comments


  (206) posted on 11.24.2010

"Top Gear USA uses one full adult, one flake, and one adolescent, all of whom bring something different. Here we have three dull twenty somethings, none of whom have any real knowledge of cars, and I doubt could tell an MGA from a Lotus Elan."

Isn’t that a contradiction?

And if you think any of the guys on Top Gear UK had any knowledge of cars then you have problems. The show is funny, but they aren’t very bright, and are very biased.

  (1) posted on 11.24.2010

Top Gear USA uses one full adult, one flake, and one adolescent, all of whom bring something different. Here we have three dull twenty somethings, none of whom have any real knowledge of cars, and I doubt could tell an MGA from a Lotus Elan. These kids are going to tell me which 70K car is better? They’ve never even owned one. On top of which, they’re really boring.

  (1) posted on 11.23.2010

Top Gear USA ED!!!!!!!! Nothing personal to the hosts but Jesus Christ were they lame. I LOVE the European Top Gear with Jeremy, Richard and James! They have quirky, interesting personalities and they all look like they are over the age of 12. Regarding the American version, the men dress like slobs, look like they are 12 and their personalities are flat. I truly extend these criticisms as constructive and are not intended to be mean. Until the program changes, I will not watch the American version and will stick to the European version. I have even chosen vehicles based on the review and testing I’ve seen on the European Top Gear. The American version, sadly, put me to sleep.

  (1) posted on 11.22.2010

I thought it was pretty lame. They need their own identity and not try to be like the UK version (i.e. get new theme music). Also, the first challenge was terrible because you could tell they filmed it when the roads were closed (i.e. blowing through stop signs) and when they were open (i.e. with cars driving in the background. Who cares what the top speed is when you are driving in town, they made too much of a deal about it. We’ll see how the other episodes go.

  (6) posted on 11.22.2010

It’s piss, really, the presenters are obsessed being like Clarkson and the guys from the original Top Gear. This show shouldn’t exist, is a plagiarism!

  (24) posted on 11.22.2010

The first episode was just short of my expectations, but as mentioned before, it was their first episode, but it still needs something (like Clarkson’s odd, but understandable comparisons(remember him saying that a Lambo could be driven by a dog?))... but I think they will get the hang of it and have a great show.

  (16) posted on 11.22.2010

I thought it was a pretty good episode too. Their chemistry isn’t quite there yet, but if you watch early episodes of the original Top Gear, the US show is definitely going in the right direction, I’ll watch it for at least a season to see how they develop the show and their interactions

  (3) posted on 11.22.2010

I thought that it was decent. It was their first episode, and as the article mentions, by the end, you could see them interacting more naturally with eachother. It’s no TGUK, but I will keep watching.

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