Top Gear USA Preview
By now, you have either heard ofTop Gear or you’ve been living in a hole for the last few years. What you might not have known is that Top Gear is coming to the United States on the History Channel. Top Gear USA will be a spin off of the original series in the United Kingdom, similar to Top Gear Australia and Top Gear Russia.
Before we look into the future, let’s delve back into the past. It was three years ago when the BBC decided to export Top Gear to the US. One of the largest stations in the land, NBC, ordered a pilot of the show that would be called Sixth Gear. According to NBC reality chief Craig Plestis, many different automakers had shown interest in the show.
On June 16, 2008, NBC and the BBC announced the show to the world with Adam Carolla being the host chosen to play the role of Jeremy Clarkson. After the pilot was taped, NBC got ready to send it out in mid-season 2009.
Hit the jump to read on.
Top Gear USA Finds its Home
Only a few months after the pilot was filmed, NBC became worried that a car themed program might not work in America, due to the failure of Knight Rider. As stupid as that may seem, as Knight Rider was just terrible, NBC allowed the BBC to shop the show around.
That’s when the History Channel stepped in. That might not be the first channel that comes to mind when you think of automotive programs, but as long as they can do the TopGear name justice, we’re just fine with it.
The first series will feature ten episodes and will debut in the fall, though the exact dates are yet to be finalized. One of the positives of the show debuting on the History Channel is the fact that they have plenty of money to throw around. All of those Modern Marvels episodes must really pay the bills.
The Who and What of Top Gear USA
The show will follow the same format as all the others, with a secret race driver, celebrity guests, and funny challenges. Unlike the British version, the American Top Gear will incorporate a car customization element into the show due to America’s love of custom vehicles.
The series is set to premier this fall and it will be hosted by Adam Ferrara, who previously starred in FX’s "Rescue Me" as Chief "Needles" Nelson. Alongside him will be Tanner Foust, who if you’ve watched the Speed Channel you will recognize. Foust has worked on the sets of The Bourne Ultimatum, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and The Dukes of Hazard as a stunt driver. Foust is a winning competitor in rally, drift, ice racing, and time attack with multiple champion podium placements in the past few years including the 2010 Rally and Rallycross X Games Champion, 2007 X Games Rally Champion and 2007 Formula Drift Pro Drift Champion.
The third member of the group will be Rutledge Wood. Wood is a car lover through and through. He has worked on NASCAR Smarts on the SPEED Channel and a NASCAR trivia game show with Kyle Petty and John Roberts. He’s also a reporter for NASCAR RaceDay Built by the Home Depot, Trackside Live, and NASCAR Live. If you have a question on NASCAR, this is the guy to ask.
Features of the Show
With the cast in order, the show needed formatting. One of the most popular bits on the original Top Gear was the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment. The US version will have it’s own segment dedicated to American stars and we have proof of that in the form of a photo taken of Tony Hawk with the American Stig. We have also heard reports that Michelle Rodriguez, Bret Michaels – because he must be in everything – Kid Rock, Tim Allen, Dominic Monaghan, and a real American hero, Buzz Aldrin would be getting a go in the cheap car as well.
We have just recently heard that the reasonably priced car will be aSuzuki SX4 Sportback, although a Kia Rio was also in the mix for some time, and the first celebrities to drive it will be Ty Burrell and Tim Allen, according to The Variety.
Amazingly enough, there have already been rumors on who the Stig might be. The most recent rumor is that the man in white will be Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello. Now, that’s just a bit to far-fetched for us to believe at this point in time, as Barrichello is still hunting for victories in the 2010 F1 season and he intends to return for 2011.
What to Expect
If we were to speculate on what cars would be appearing first, we would have to guess that it would be the Dodge Viper and those three Lamborghini models that you saw in the trailer. We also imagine that the new Ferrari 458 Italia would play a role, as would a few American muscle cars, such as the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon Black, the Camaro Z28, and the 2011 Dodge Challenger. Seeing as this is an American version of the show, we would imagine that it would feature more American sports cars than the UK version did. A fewCadillac V-Series machines might also make an appearance.
While those are just assumptions, we have seen the boys driving a V6 Mustang, Hyundai Genesis V6 Coupe, and the Porsche 911 C4S Cabriolet. This appears to be a simple comparison test of the Mustang and the Genesis, while the Porsche might be a single car test. We would also imagine, given the show’s view on aftermarket tuning, that a few tuner vehicles will be shown as well.
We still aren’t sure if the show will be a hit, but we can’t wait to get a chance to find out for ourselves.