Our Sunday evenings this autumn have just got a whole lot better again, as Top Gear revs into action for its 29th series this weekend.
Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris are making the primetime move to BBC One for this new five episode run, which promises more high octane stunts, super cool powerful cars and more laughs than ever before.
At Driving Experience, we’ve been lucky enough to have a little preview of what’s coming up from the lads, so here, for you, is our guide to what you can expect from the new series.
One of the most obvious differences you’ll see is that, whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has halted or reduced capacity on other popular TV shows that rely on a studio audience, Top Gear have been able to innovate.
The studio, based at the team’s test track at Dunsfold Park in Surrey, has now been redesigned as a large outdoor ‘drive-in’ stage, with capacity for an audience of 500 people in cars parked 2 metres apart, in line with the same current guidance for drive-in cinemas.
It took a team of approximately 150 people to build the new stage set in 3 days, and all the presenting team have stated that it will be ‘quite spectacular to watch … a mixture of a low-rent rock festival meets a 1960s drive-through cinema’. Based on what we’ve seen of the stage, it looks to be more fantastical an experience than ever before for Top Gear’s fans.
You may recall back in the summer that we wrote about Paddy’s hairy experience whilst filming in a classic Lamborghini Diablo during the team’s road trip up in North Yorkshire that will feature later in this series.
But that’s not all the team has been up to. In this weekend’s first episode, we’ll also get to see what happened when the team tested three new company cars up in Mr McGuinness’ very own backyard of Bolton.
There’s a twist in their mission though, as they had to stay in them for 24 hours without getting out. Now if that’s not extreme quarantining in this day and age, we’re not sure what is!
Another sequence the team filmed back in the summer that you may have seen make the headlines - and featured in trailers for the series - was their filming on a ‘Wall of Death’ vertical stunt drive at 50 mph in some inexpensive insurance write-off cars that will feature in the second episode.
The team have since spoken about the filming of this, with Paddy stating “We all nearly died”, whilst Chris said that it came with the perks (or cons depending on your viewpoint) of being a Top Gear presenter: “If we weren’t nearly killing ourselves we wouldn’t be doing our jobs properly!”
Other features we can expect to see on this new series includes the team, as they always do, driving some of the very latest and timeless heritage supercars in equal measure.
On this Sunday’s episode will be Chris’ footage of his trip to Italy to test drive the new Ferrari SF90. We can also look forward to Freddie’s attempt to take a classic old Jaguar up to 200 mph on the second episode.
The ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ feature of the show has always been a long running favourite with fans of Top Gear, which has witnessed everyone from Rowan Atkinson to Olly Murs going hell for leather around the show’s test track.
Because of current circumstances, the segment has been understandably rested for this series. However, Chris has not ruled out star guests featuring on the show in future, saying “My feeling is, if we have them, we should do more with them than just sit in the studio.”
However, at Driving Experience you can still get to try out the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car feature for yourself with our special package at the home of Top Gear’s test track in Dunsfold Park - click here to book yours today from dates and gift vouchers for just £149!
Top Gear returns this Sunday at 8pm BST on BBC One.