In Episode 5 of Top Gear Series 25, Rory heads to the spiritual home of muscle cars where a very strict teacher is waiting for him.
The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. A muscle car so extreme that it’s actually been banned in Europe. So Rory Reid, always prepared to put his own life on the line in the name of consumer research (and skidding around in muscle cars), was on the first plane to America to discover whether a European could indeed drive the 650bhp Camaro without instantly bursting into flames or being chopped into a thousand wafer-thin slices.
Luckily for Rory, it transpired the ZL1 1LE was non-toxic to European drivers. And, as he discovered at Willow Springs racetrack, really rather good fun to drive on a big fast racetrack like “Big” Willow. So, inevitably, the producers – never keen to allow anyone to have too much fun without stepping in to spoil things – ordered Rory to find out exactly how fast the MegaMaro could lap Willow’s very unforgiving 2.5-mile course. Naturally, they’d also laid on a spot of tuition. In the shape of Sabine Schmitz, a teacher very much from the ‘tough love’ school of race schooling.
Also in this weeks’ episode, Matt takes the Ferrari 812 Superfast to Imola. Beneath the 812’s bonnet and powering the rear wheels only, is a 6.5-litre V12 with 789bhp. That makes it nearly 60bhp healthier than the old F12’s 6.3-litre V12. This 6.5 is Ferrari’s most powerful naturally aspirated engine yet. Quite fitting, giving it may just be its last.
That peak power is delivered at 8,500rpm, by which point the noise is doubtless spectacular. Peak torque – 530lb ft, since you ask – arrives little earlier, at a still dizzying 7,000rpm. Matt heads to Imola to see just how nutty the new Superfast is. With the help of a Piaggio Ape…
Finally, heavy machinery enthusiast Matt LeBlanc reckoned he’d spotted a problem ripe for improvification. The tractor. Now, MLB’s a big fan of tractors when they’re doing their tractoring thing on the farm. In fact, he owns a whole load of them. The problem, as he saw it, comes when tractors leave the farm, and join the public highway. Yes, the tractor is holding up Britain’s motorists, and Top Gear needed to do something about it.
Now, the sensible policy solution to this issue would be to, say, ban tractors from the public highway during rush hour. But Matt had a far more exciting solution to the problem of slow tractors. Involving the Top Gear Agricultural Technology Centre. And a lot of horsepower. And a can of paint borrowed from Lamborghini. And a speed record.
Top Gear Series 25 Episode 5 will be available Sunday 25th of March on BBC Two HD and BBC iPlayer. Rory Reid’s companion show Extra Gear is on at 9pm, BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.