The date is 20 October 2002. After the original incarnation of died in 1999, a newly updated & rebooted version of the pokey motoring show ‘Top Gear’ broadcast on BBC2 with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond & Jason Dawe at the helm.
‘New TopGear’ was completely different to ‘Old TopGear’ in almost every way. For anyone who didn’t see the old version, it mostly involved men with beards standing around discussing boot luggage capacity and MPG figures. When they did drive a car, they did so in the most boring manner possible. Jason Dawe’s role in Series 1 was mostly discussing used cars and how to get the best deals on new cars, along with what to look for in a used car. Near the end of the first series he famously admitted to ‘buying a £900 cars and driving them until they died’ – at which time he’d simply by another one and repeat the process. Frugal motoring indeed, but this obviously didn’t sit well with New TopGear’s ethos and he was replaced at the end of the first series.
It was at the start of Series 2 that TopGear really started getting into the swing of things – with James May joining the team and completing what we now know as the TopGear Holy Trinity – the boys. James’ first segment introduced him as a new presenter, but also his old Bentley T2 which he bought for “Mondeo Money”. In typical James May fashion, he finished off the segment by stating, “Yes, it’s um… For the money you spend on a basic Mondeo, you could buy an old Bentley like I did. Don’t!”
Over the past 10 years, there have been 220 power laps, proving that an Ariel Atom V8 is the fastest car around the Top Gear Test Track, while a pedal-powered Porsche Pain au Chocolat is the slowest. 168 laps of the test track have been completed by Stars in the Reasonably Priced Car(s): 57 in the Lacetti, 34 in the Kia Cee’d and 77 in the Suzuki Liana. There has even been 9 F1 drivers try and prove that they’ve got the best line through the first corner in order to beat our man Stig.