The moment is here and the first episode does not disappoint! Below you will find a breakdown of the entire first episode of The Grand Tour. You’ve been waiting and you’ve been patient. You’ve earned the right to enjoy this episode thoroughly and you certainly WILL!
The opening of the very first episode, titled “The Holy Trinity,” begins on a somber note showing Jeremy Clarkson down and dreary stepping out of an office building in the UK (complemented with typical UK weather). This opening was a tribute to the sacking of Clarkson by the BBC in the Spring of 2015. He walked in the rain, into a cab and booked a flight to Los Angeles. Upon landing in the United States he is immediately greeted by a Galpin Rocket Mustang in a shade of blue and white racing stripes. Immediately he was joined by a red Mustang GT350R driven by Richard Hammond, and a white Roush Mustang driven by James May. From this ensemble, you can tell this was going to be an American show.
From there we see the intro that everyone has been talking about, the most expensive intro to have been shot in the history of the television world, and it does not disappoint. The trio in the three modified Mustangs raced through a field of pretty outrageous vehicles and exotics. The group arrives to a “Burning Van” party in the middle of the desert upon where almost a dozen jets flew overhead.
Clarkson proceeded to introduce James May referencing when he was fired by Autocar and how he is a slow driver. May then introduced Richard Hammond by making fun of his height, naturally. Finally, Richard Hammond introduced Jeremy Clarkson by joking that he was the one who has never been fired.
The montage of what we can expect for the next 12 weeks is astonishing. There are so many adventures in various locales, various cars racing and drifting around tracks, lots of off-road challenges, guns being fired, very expensive cars, boats, and helicopters being taken to the limits, and cars and various objects being smashed and blown up!
Clarkson then introduced the traveling studio, the giant Grand Tour tent, just before the drone that shot the footage got shot down. The tent is quite impressive, as we’ve seen in previous reports, and Clarkson pointed out that even the background of the tent will always be different as each show is shot in different places.
Given that the first episode was shot in California, Clarkson kicked off the show by pointing out the silly differences in the linguistics of American and English dialects, and calling trucks stupid. Hammond and May chimed in by commenting on how the silly American designers are by putting the steering wheel on the wrong side, which makes driving pretty difficult.
The kicked off the first film by introducing the Toyota Prius, exclaiming that the technology that’s been used to save the Polar Bears are being put into some of the most devastatingly fast cars: the Porsche 918, the McLaren P1, and the Ferrari LaFerrari. Clearly, the first film does not disappoint, and it was shot in Portugal in the Algarve International Circuit.
The battle of the hypercars began in the Circuit’s garage where the Porsche 918 and the McLaren P1 were accompanied by each of the car’s respective mechanics and engineers, each one claiming that their car is the fastest. The comparison between all of the mundane features quickly became a pissing contest.
Clarkson was the first to roll out with the Porsche 918 and he claimed that because of its four wheel steering, four wheel drive that it feels much more secure compared to the brutal and savage P1, which Hammond is driving. Judging from Hammond’s comments and reactions while driving the Algarve circuit, Clarkson is completely right about the McLaren’s brutal power and handling. The two then proceeded to compare ridiculous analogies to better understand the characters of the two cars. The whole time they bickered the third member of the trio, Captain Slow, shows up in a car that May claims will obliterate the other two.
The Ferrari LaFerrari, the 950 horsepower prancing horse equipped with the KERS system, is one car that has successfully topped the list of cars that gives James May ‘The Fizz’. All of these three cars are extremely expensive, extremely powerful, and extremely rare, and this is the first time where the three cars were tested by three of the most qualified automotive journalists.
The first test was a drag race using pure electric power only. This puts the LaFerrari at a huge disadvantage as the Ferrari could not use electricity solely because it had to be stored first in the KERS system. The race then was limited to the P1 and the 918, which the 918 handily won, quietly. The second test was to drive the cars to their hotel which was an hour away. Again, much to the chagrin of Captain Slow, the LaFerrari couldn’t be driven because it wasn’t registered and thus not road legal. Therefore as Clarkson and Hammond enjoyed their road trip, May was stuck riding shotgun in the transporter.
The new segment where they talk about motoring news and other updates will begin with a bespoke intro, similar to the Simpsons ‘couch gag’ where each week will be done differently. The first bit of news they talked about was how James May was caught speeding in his motorbike.
Clarkson then introduced the new Grand Tour test track in RAF Wroughton, with a proper test track benchmark setter, the Ferrari 488 GTB. The first turn of the new test track is called “The Isn’t Straight,” which has been made of long essess. This segment leads into the “Your Name Here Corner,” where Jeremy takes the opportunity to sell advertisement space for future investors. After “Your Name Here Corner” the 488 GTB flies back through “Isn’t Straight” and into “Old Ladies’ House.” It has been called that because, you guessed it, it’s right by a house where an older lady lives. After that corner the track leads through a narrow and bumpy “Substation” which is a series of 90 degree left turns, completing the “Most Dangerous Track” in existence. Also, apparently there’s an unexploded bomb in the track.
Next it was time to introduce the Grand Tour’s version of The Stig, The American, played by Mike Skinner, an American Stock Car Racing Driver. After a couple of cheap shot jokes about America’s Nascar, the American jumps into the M2 to set a laptime around the new test track. The M2 registered a time of 1:26.2, just a couple of seconds slower than the M3. At this point we got to see the Grand Tour’s leaderboard, which a digital board unlike Top Gear’s hand written version. The board has already been pre-populated with other cars that they’ve taken around the track such as the Ford Fiesta ST200, the Honda Civic Type R, the Nissan GTR, and topping the list of 10 is the McLaren 650S.
In another attempt at throwing a jab at the old Top Gear format, they poked fun at the “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” segment by saying that it would be a silly idea. Rather than taking the celebrities around a track they would instead do a segment called “Celebrity Brain Crash” where celebrities would be put through a test by a machine which will measure a celebrity’s mental agility, prompting Clarkson to mention the machine’s validity as having been used by the RAF, the best air force in the world. Quickly the crowd booed the trio’s English patriotism, which then led to a series of hilarious edits.
In their quest to introduce their guests for the “Celebrity Brain Crash” gag, the arriving stars had a difficulty of actually getting to the show because they kept on dying in the process. Jeremy Renner skydived out of a plane where his parachute failed to open. Armie Hammer, the backup guest, was killed by getting a snake bite on his way to the tent, and finally, Carol Vorderman was just simply dead, albeit in the studio. Because the show was now littered with very famous corpses, they decided to skip the celebrity section (and perhaps for good) and get back to the cars.
Back to the Holy Trinity, the trio is finally performing a proper three way drag race. This meant all three cars engaged their respective launch control procedures, which Clarkson’s McLaren was equivalent to performing heart surgery. The first race ended with the LaFerrari taking the checkered flag and the P1 finishing third. Clarkson blamed himself botching the launch procedure, leading to a second test. Second time around the Porsche 918 barely beat out the P1, while James May performed a poor launch, prompting a third test. The third test produced almost similar results but this time the P1 crossed the finish line first.
Not having a clear and concise winner in the drag test, they decided to give it a fourth, fifth, and sixth test where each one produced a different result. To settle this stalemate they brought on Jerome d’Ambrosio, a professional racing driver who has competed in both Formula 1 and Formula E. After completing testing laps in the three cars, Jerome returned to give his opinions in native tongue, to which Clarkson has taken the liberty to subtitle the translation. From this obvious tampering, the P1 got glowing reviews from the Belgian driver.
After the trial laps, the track was then equipped with speed traps to measure how fast the cars went around specific turns. The LaFerrari and the 918 were closely matched, which led to Clarkson making a bet that the P1 would be faster than the other two. The bet being if it’s slower, Hammond and May would be able to knock Clarkson’s house down. The results incredibly were tenths of a second of each other.
With that conclusion the very first episode of The Grand Tour is over and it confidently lives up to all of the built up expectations of fans of the old Top Gear. We cannot wait to see the next episode of The Grand Tour