Monday, November 20, 2017

Season 10 Episode 8

Filed under Season 10, Top Gear

Top Gear Series 10 Episode 8

On go-go-go Top Gear, we went F1 crazy when Lewis Hamilton paid a visit to our test track, possibly to steal the design for our Suzuki Liana, but probably not. Also, Richard drove Fernando Alonso’s (boo, hiss) ex-company car, Jeremy and James went in search of the grandaddy of the modern car, and Jeremy rode the Thunder from Down Under – Vauxhall’s new Aussie VXR8.

These days we’re often told Formula 1 drivers are a special breed of motoring ubermen, and that driving a modern F1 car requires the reactions of a housefly and the strength of ten tigers. So when Renault offered us a go in its 2005 championship-winning R25 racer, we sent Richard along to find out how a normal-ish bloke would fare.

Now, given that the R25 has somewhere in the region of three times the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron, you’d expect the drive to be pretty vivid. And it was, very. Fernando, Lewis and the rest suddenly seemed worth their wages.

Anyone who’s driven a car knows the standard controls layout: handbrake and gear stick in the middle, and three pedals on the floor. But it hasn’t always been that way. Jeremy and James set off to the National Motor Museum (a sort of total immersion therapeutic retreat for British car nuts) to find the car that gave us the blueprint for what we all drive today. In the end they decided the little Austin 7 was the true genesis of the modern motorcar.

The launch of Vauxhall’s Aussie-sourced VXR8 super-saloon was always going to be a cue for Clarkson to do a few very smoky laps of our test track, while merrily spouting one-liners about barbeques and rotary washing lines. And our resident master of cultural commentary didn’t disappoint. The car was pretty good too.

Challenge: Hammond in a Renault R25 Formula One Car. Automobile history investigation. GPS satellite self-controlled BMW 330i drives the test track.

First shown on: 02/12/2007

Watch Top Gear Season 10 Episode 8 Online

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