- Jeremy tests the Vauxhall VXR8.
- Jeremy & James investigate the history of “the car”.
- Richard finds out just how difficult it is to drive an F1 car.
- Jeremy goes for a ride in a BMW 330i that can lap the test track by itself.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: James Blunt, Lewis Hamilton.
Main review: Clarkson reviews the Vauxhall VXR8, a rebadged HSV Clubsport R8. Although on the same pace as the BMW M5, the barn-door engineered Australian car is £30,000 less, because “it’s about 30,000 times less complicated.” Clarkson loves it, but wouldn’t have it over an M5. Sets a time of 1:31.3 in wet and oily conditions.
Investigation: Clarkson and May set out to discover the first car to have the control layout that cars use today. After investigating many old cars, including a Benz Motorwagen, an early Royal Enfield car, a De Dion-Bouton and a Ford Model T, they name the first car with a modern layout to be the Cadillac Type 53 from 1916 which was then popularised by the Austin 7.
Star in a Reasonably Priced car: James Blunt posts a time of 1.48.3 on a wet track.
Challenge: Hammond drives the Renault R25 Formula One car, which took both the driver’s (with Fernando Alonso) and constructor’s championship titles in the 2005 Formula One season. He is to do two laps around Stowe Circuit at Silverstone. Hammond tries to get the car rolling with the anti-stall program kicking in eight times before completing half a lap and stalling again as he spins out from lack of grip due to lack of tyre and brake warmth. Hammond completes the required two laps around the track the second time. May comments that the telemetry shows that Hammond only hit full throttle in the car for 0.2 of a second. (This segment was originally prepared for Series 9, but was rescheduled due to Hammond’s accident.)
F1 Driver in a Reasonably Priced Car: Lewis Hamilton, driving on a wet and oily track, posts a time of 1.44.7 in the original Reasonably-Priced Car, the Suzuki Liana, which has been kept to be used by Formula One drivers. This placed him third overall on the F1 racers’ board.
Review: Clarkson supervises a driver-less BMW on a lap of the track. The time for the lap was not revealed and Clarkson finds himself unable to stop the car as it continues to drive itself round the track with 3/4 of a tank of fuel left. After the end credits, Clarkson declares, “I’m bored!” as the car continues driving.
“Some say that when he slows down, brake lights come on in his buttocks. And that if he’d been the manager of the England football squad last week he wouldn’t have been a feckless ginger gum chewing buffoon and ruin it for all of us. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”
Stig Power Laps
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car