Jeremy Clarkson has written about the trio’s new Amazon motoring show in his weekly Sunday Times column. His optimism appears to be at an all time high following months of uncertainty.
“On Wednesday morning I climbed behind the wheel of the McLaren P1, fired up its massive engine, eased it into Drive and set off in a blizzard of noise and wheelspin to start filming Amazon Prime’s new motoring show. On one side of me was James May in a Ferrari the Ferrari. On the other was Richard Hammond in a Porsche 918 Spyder. And in front, hanging from the back of a Land Rover Discovery, was the big, bushy beard of Ben the cameraman. The band was back together and I was very excited. But, ooh, getting it to this point had not been easy.”
Jeremy recalled the range of emotions he went through after finding out his contract would not be renewed, post fracas. Having been left devastated from losing his Top Gear ‘baby’, Jeremy found the prospect of doing “nothing at all” to be very appealing, and also considered creating a more relaxed programme which focused on farming, perhaps titled Top Tractor.
At the time he knew James and Richard had his back, as the three always operated under the rule of “we do not leave a man behind” – though some of their cheap car challenges would have made you think otherwise.
“Put simply, they [James and Richard] had themselves to look after and the BBC was making all sorts of coo-coo noises while dribbling warm honey into their heads”
In the end of course, we all know they both sided with Jeremy and their new journey began. Jeremy also described the overwhelming process of fielding offers from American broadcasters and the freedoms they allowed,
“All of a sudden we were up to our scrotums in the dizzying world of modern narrowcasting, in which you can upload a programme when it’s ready, not necessarily at 7pm on a Tuesday. And you can say what you want, because out there, in the free world, there’s no Ofsted. There’s no finger-wagging. Kevin Spacey spat on Jesus and no one batted an eyelid. Because the internet, lets face it, is also showing a gentleman and a lady making sweet love in extreme detail.”
It was not without its challenges though, which funnily enough according to Clarkson was the language barrier. Thankfully, Amazon came to the rescue and a deal was eventually nutted out at their London headquarters. Jeremy also reiterated that the deal meant that literally everything about the show would have to be new, “Apart from James May, obviously, who is still in 1953.”
That means no Stig, no Cool Wall and no Star in a Reasonably Priced Car; but to me that’s no great loss. The Stig, while incredibly famous, is by definition is a faceless man which makes him easily replaceable. The Cool Wall, too, has fallen to the wayside in recent years, and as for the SIARPC segment? Unless you enjoy watching movie stars attempting to look interested while they plug their new movie, there’s little lost there too.
Luckily, the boys will still be doing what they do best – testing cars; and as we reported a few days ago they’re kicking things off with three of the best – the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918. The boys know the three cars have been tested and compared by other people on the internet already, but then thought “People will hopefully want to know what we think.” And so they got on the plane and headed for the Portimao Circuit in Portugal.
Jeremy used the article to wax lyrical about the technical prowess of the McLaren P1; from the ‘wormhole’ throttle pedal which ‘puts you somewhere else’, to the whirrings of the hybrid drivetrain, the bellow of the V8 engine and the chirps of the wastegates. The P1, he says, is a car which can’t be beaten for “Oh my God, sweaty-pawed, heart-racing, wide-eyed, hair-on-end, ball-shrinking terror.”
The P1 was a leap forward for supercars and Jeremy thinks that the same can be said for their new show. “Whatever the outcome, we are now in the future. It certainly feels that way from where I’ve been sitting all day.”