The boys are certainly back. Sunday’s Top Gear episode featured the usual burnouts, fast cars and even a race. While the episode overall was well done, I feel that it could have been improved slightly.
First off, about the race. It just wasn’t all that good when compared to the other races that they have had. I don’t know why they chose 1949 as the year, but the motorcycle Richard Hammond drove was boring and James May didn’t really have much competition in the Jaguar. The train was interesting for the fact that it took so long to build and is completely bespoke, but other than that (and seeing Jeremy Clarkson get covered in coal dust), the race turned out just as I thought it would. I think that they should have saved that race for later in the program as it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal for a premier episode.
The second gripe that I have is with the Lotus Evora. Sure it looks like a fun and exciting car that handles just as well off road as on, but when that Porsche Cayman turned up in the back of the picture, I was expecting a race. That race never happened and the Cayman and the Evora merely drove together for a few seconds before the segment was over. I would have liked to have seen how the Lotus stacked up against the Porsche because it seemed to me that the Evora would have had the Cayman in the twisties while the Cayman probably would have made up ground on the straights (depending on the model). A head to head was needed there because all I can remember about that review was Clarkson doing slow donuts in the grass.
But the show did have an extraordinary highlight though. The Stig was revealed! Ok, so not really, but it was just as spectacular to see Michael Schumacher under the helmet. I mean, how awesome must it have been for that crowd to see a seven time Formula One world champion just a few feet from them without a crowd of bodyguards? And the FXX that he was driving was the absolute best car they have had in a long time. You could tell that that thing was going to demolish the existing track record as soon as it went into the first corner. It simply hunkered down and ploughed through as Schumi was on the throttle the whole time. And the sound that that engine makes is just magic. In reality, that car has about the same, if not more, horsepower than the current crop of F1 cars!
From the previews they showed of the upcoming episodes, it looks to be a great season. Let’s hope that the rest of the shows only raise the bar and that they don’t have any more races that don’t really have anything to do other than waste time. I am seriously looking forward to the battle between the Renault Megane R26.R and the Ford Focus RS. Until the next episode, here are some pictures of the cars featured in this episode.