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New Top Gear Is Getting Better

The following post contains spoilers.  Proceed at your own risk.

The latest episode of Top Gear is upon us. I can see the comments now… Bring back Clarkson, Hammond and May!!! I refuse to watch the New Top Gear!!! ::angry emoji:: And so on and so on. Lets face it, the first 2 episodes have been less than spectacular. However, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not watching Top Gear’s latest installment. Episode 3 is, by an enormous margin, the best episode of the new series. It went back to basics. Cool cars being driven hard without any of the contrived challenges.

 We get things rolling with Chris Evans driving the new Audi R8 V10+. He’s quite fond of the car, but testing it on the Top Gear test track wasn’t enough. No, they had to hand the keys over to Sabine and let her have a go at Laguna Seca. The new R8 is jammed full of tech that makes the stock brokers who own them look good. But the question remains, is it faster with the aids on or off? Sabine put it to the test, running 1 lap with and 1 lap without. Surprise surprise she was 7 seconds faster without the aids than with them turned on. Or maybe it isn’t surprising, she is the Queen of the Ring after all. But without question the most entertaining thing about the entire piece was seeing how miserable Evans looked riding shotgun. At no point did he look like he was enjoying himself. All of which culminated in Evans losing his breakfast, right there on international TV. Fantastic!

ce r8 ls

If the Audi wasn’t enough for you, next up was Chris Harris in a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta tdf. The lightened more hardcore version of Ferrari’s “GT”. Harris starts the piece with a history lesson, naturally from the seat of a classic Ferrari. The original TDF. The 250 Berlinetta Tour De France. A car built specifically for the Tour De France. Not the bike race with dudes on exotic PED’s but the motor race that was 1 giant lap of France. Public roads, race tracks, even dirt roads were all included. 4000+ miles of which the original TDF dominated. Sadly the race is no longer with us, but it did lead to the new F12 which in Harris’ hands around Circui Paul Ricard is epic. For legal reasons the new tdf can not be named the “Tour De France” hence the lowercase letters apparently. From an entertainment perspective it really is hard to mess up a piece with those 2 cars in it. Just shut up and let the V12’s sing. Even when Harris felt compelled to speak it was still entertaining.

ferrari f12tdf

This led into the Stars in the Rally Cross Car. Like the episode itself this was the best interviews of any of the new Top Gears. Kevin Hart and Anthony Joshua. Kevin Hart of comedic fame and Anthony Joshua is apparently the IBF Heavyweight Boxing Champion. I say apparently because there is roughly 2.7 million different boxing federations and it is nearly impossible to know all the champions of all the equally numerous weight classes. I’m a rather large sports fan and I have to admit, if it wasn’t for Top Gear I would have no idea who this guy was. In any rate the interview was fantastic. 1 because Evans doesn’t speak as much and 2 because both guests were genuinely good. They did a fantastic job and they both were very good drivers. That said they need to bin the idea that one guest tells us what the other is up to. It’s too awkward and not the good funny kind of awkward either. It is awkward like your drunk Aunt’s tone-deaf rendition of Free Bird. That said, it was just a small blip on an otherwise fun interview.

aj khart topgear

Next up was Rory Reid driving a Ford Focus RS. Rory is quickly becoming the not so secret weapon of new Top Gear. I fully admit I had no idea who he was prior to Top Gear. He is a very welcome surprise. You can tell he is having a great time on his new job. This is yet another example of why this episode was so good. Just put a good personality in a great car and let the rest take care of itself.

focus rs civic r merc a45

Finally the episode concludes with the now infamous Ken Block and his bat shit insane Mustang on the streets of London piece. Under the guise as “Top Gear Tours” Ken Block takes Matt LeBlanc around London in the typical Ken Block-ian sideways smokey fashion. Yes it stirred up a bunch of controversy but watching Ken Block in his element will never stop being entertaining.

ken block in london

Like I stated above this was the best of the rebooted Top Gear. They just kept it simple. This is a new show, just do the basics correctly. Eventually once the cast has had time to gel you introduce the crazier challenges. Also I think for me this was the best of the first 3 episodes because it had limited Chris Evans exposure. It is still too early for me to formulate a final conclusion but so far I’m not the biggest Evans fan. I feel this episode had the perfect amount of Evans. Anyway, if you’re not sure about the new Top Gear and haven’t tuned in for whatever reason, forget the first 2 episodes. Watch the 3rd one. It’s the best of the bunch and shows that Top Gear can survive the Post Clarkson, Hammond, and May era.

About Chad Kennedy

Chad burst from the womb wearing a racing suit and a helmet. Chad's passion for cars is in his very DNA. His father was a gear head and passed on the tradition through owning such classics as a '66 Mustang and a '59 Corvette all while taking him to various race tracks in the area. Chad likes to wrench on his rides whenever possible, forgoing the stealership. Chad is an avid motorsports fan with particular interest in endurance/sports car racing. When not online writing for Shifting Lanes, you can find him working at the local golf course teaching people how to swing or hooning a golf cart at impossible speeds.

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