Top Gear (2002–…): Season 17, Episode 2 - Episode #17.2 - full transcript

James reviews the new Aston Martin Virage and bashes on the Nurburgring. The boys head out to Italy for a Hot Hatchback Roadtrip with Jeremy in the Citroen DS3 Racing, Hammond in the Fiat ...

I find a bicycle in a river...

James annoys a dog...

and Richard jumps over a dyke.


Hello, good evening!
Hello, everybody.

Thank you, thank you so much.
Thank you.


we start tonight on our track.

This is a place of screaming
engines and tyre smoke.

It is a cathedral to the god of
thunder and the mistress of power.

The natural home, then,
for James May.

That is a selection
of sporty Astons.

All of them neatly demonstrating
exactly what's wrong with
modern sports cars - handling.

The people who make sports cars are
absolutely obsessed with it, to
the exclusion of everything else,

like comfort, refinement.
They just give you a racket,
a load of smoke and a bad back.

That is the noise made by idiots -
full of sound and fury

and signifying nothing.

The reason these Astons
are so unnecessarily hard core

is this because of this place -
the Nurburgring.

As soon as a car company comes here
to develop a new model,

they forget about everything else
except lap times,

and that is the ruination of a car.

Of course, those of you who know
your Astons will be saying,

"But there is a model for you -
the DB9, the most grown-up
and least sporty Aston of them all."

The trouble with this, though, is,
it isn't shaking my teeth out

and it's not sending me into
a boiling rage about handling,

but it isn't really giving me
the fizz, either.

I think this has now gone
a bit too far the other way.

There's a slight
whiff of old fart about it.

So, what I need is
the comfort of the DB9

infused with some of the power
of the red-hot DBS.

And it looks like my prayers
may have been answered...

with this, the new Virage.

At first glance, it looks the same
as any of the current Astons.

But take a second look
and you'll see that nearly all
the body panels are new,

as are the front grille
and the streamlined headlights.

But does it fill the gap
between the DB9 and the DBS?

Now, the DBS has 510 horsepower,

the DB9 over there has 470,
and the Virage, that has 490.

Logically, then, the Virage should
be the second fastest.

I wonder how we can find that out.

Well, come on, we've got a runway
and three Astons.
What do you expect us to do?


Taking the DB9...

Only just. It's very close.

Oh, yes, yes, yes!


The car in the middle
of the power range

came in the middle of the race.
How about that?

The Virage uses the same 6-litre V12
you'll find in the DB9 and the DBS,

but, again, it's a sort of
in-the-middle version.

It's tuned differently
from the DBS engine.

Now it gives 85%
of maximum torque...

it does 1,500 RPM...

and it will go on
to 186 miles an hour!

And when all this gets a bit much,
you have ceramic brakes as standard.




As for the handling - surprise,
surprise - it's sharper than the DB9

but not as aggressive as a DBS.

So let's move on to the price.

The DBS is £170,000.

The DB9 is £125,000.

The new Virage is £150,000.
You see - in the middle.

So far, then, it's shaping up well,
and it gets better.

This is probably the
best-looking of all the Astons

and it has the nicest interior.

The stitching is all done
by one seamstress
to keep the weave constant.

And, joy of joys, the useless Volvo
sat nav of other Astons

has been ditched for one that works.

However, before I can give this car
a clean bill of health,

I have to address
the elephant in the room.

The worry is, they've made another
track monster.

They've fallen for the same
old trick - it's got to go
round the Nurburgring, etc, etc.

So I've decided to
do something radical...

leave the track and go for
a potter round our airfield.

My idea here is to go on something
a bit like a real road and
see what the ride is actually like,

and it will allow me to show you all
the bits of the Top Gear test track
that you never normally see.

That's actually our studio.
This is Nigel's garage.

He's a lovely chap.

Unfortunately, viewers, I then
had to cancel the rest of the tour

because, after just a few hundred
yards, I was too cross to carry on.

My God, I don't believe it.
They've done it.

I've got everything turned off, I've
got sport off, the firm suspension
off, but it's still too jiggly.

It's been ruined by the ride.

Rattle, rattle, bang, bang.
That is not necessary.

The Virage, then,
is a missed opportunity.

It could, and should, have been
a comfortable gentleman's express.

Instead, it's just another pointless
bone-shaking racing car.

What? Right!

Is this going to be a
five-minute argument,
or do you want the full half-hour?

No, cos I actually agree with you.
No... Oh, for God's sake!

Look, the point is, Aston already
make the DBS and the Vantage S

for enthusiasts of the Nurburgring,

but there might be somebody who
wants a faster Aston

but maybe has, I don't know,
backache, for example!
Yes, I agree with that.

Oh, shut up, man! Do you not realise
this could have been that car,

and it isn't,
and that's a tragedy? I know.

You are such an idiot! Honestly!

Anyway, we must now find out
how fast it goes round our track.


Because that enables me to
say some ludicrous things about
our tame racing driver.

Some say that he can't eat mashed
potato for religious reasons...

and that he recently received
47,000 tickets, Olympic tickets,

all of them for the final
of the women's wrestling.

All we know is,
he's called The Stig!

And he's off.

A nice controlled start there.
And listen to that V12.

OK, coming up to the first corner.

It's a heavy car, this, but it
manages to corner surprisingly flat.

Stig listening to the Bangles
there, but in German.

Very off.

One lot of tyre smoke
coming out of Chicago.

Coming up to Hammerhead.
Will the big engine upfront
drag the nose wide?

No, it is clinging on,

and it is in fact... Yep! It's
the back that's letting go first.

Very neat on the way out, though.

OK, into Follow Through.
Really opening up the taps now.

You can hear him shift up.

Lifting it, actually,
into the approach to the tyres.

That is impressive.
Just two corners left now.

Hard on those ceramic brakes.
Fat Pirelli squealing.

Just Gambon left.

Sliding it through there
and across the line!

He did it... He did it in 1.24.4,

so it's only half a second slower
than the DBS. Yeah.

And it would've been
a much better car if it had been
five seconds slower. I agree.

Ah, you're insufferable!

And now we must do the news,
and we start off with news
that since James drove that Virage,

Aston Martin have launched
a new car, and here it is.

It's called the V12 Zagato.
There it is.

James will be particularly
interested in this, I think. Will I?

You will. Because the boss
of the company was quoted this week

as saying, "The Nurburgring is
where we sign off every new model

"and there could be NO better place
for the new V12 Zagato
to be finally tested,"

said the BOSS of Aston Martin.
For crying out loud!

If I'd been in Bomber Command
in 1943,

I would have bombed the Nurburgring
every night until it was gone!

Am I the only person who thinks
like this? This bad back of yours -
does it make you a bit crabby?

It's nothing to do with my bad back.
He's got a bad back as well,
but he won't agree... OK! OK!

Ride is important.
All right, all right! Bomb it!

It was a bad policy.
Look where we are now.
We no longer have Dresden Cathedral

or all that lovely pottery,
but we do have the Nurburgring,

and under my bombing policy, we
wouldn't have cars that rode badly

and you'd have a nice cathedral
to look at, and better saucers!

Now, have you noticed how
some of the best-looking cars
you can buy these days

are, like, ordinary family saloons
or hatchbacks or estates?
I know what you mean. Yeah.

Citroen have sent us
a picture of their new DS5.

That is a good-looking
ordinary, mid-size car.

It's not alone. What's that Kia
called, from a while back?
The Rooney. Not the Rooney.

Rio. Rio.

That was an awful-looking car,
but they've launched this,

which is called the
something-or-other. The Optic.

Optical... Optima. Doesn't matter.
Nobody who watches Top Gear is going
to buy a Kia, but if they did...

All Kia drivers are watching
Countryfile going,

"It's Adam's farm in a minute.
We're looking forward to that.
Oh, look at the little baa-lamb."

Make a trail for what's
on the other side!
Countryfile's a brilliant show.

Particularly when it's cold, and
Julie Bradbury's out in a T-shirt.
Leave it! Leave it!

The Peugeot 508 is a good-looking
car. It is. We've got a picture.

What makes that particularly good is
that Peugeots in recent years have
had the big guppy mouths on them.

Yes, that. That is a very good
impersonation of a Peugeot.

I can only impersonate a Morgan.

Can you do any other car?

No, I can only do Peugeots, but I
can do any Peugeot you name. 308.

207. What's the people-carrier?
Can you do that one?

Yeah, hang on, that's...

I'll stump him.

You know the tiny one, the 1007
with electric sliding doors?

Ah... ahh... ahh...
It's exactly like that.

And the Vauxhall Insignia.
I was following one the other day.
That's basically a Vectra.

Yeah, fabulous. And the great thing
is, it's got positive camber
on its back wheels.

You've got positive camber
and you look ridiculous. He's right.

You have, you have.
We've followed you round
every airport in the world

and you lumber along
with your stupid legs
bending out at the knee, like that.

And it's like positive camber,
and you look TERRIBLE.

It looks good, positive camber.
You look like a knackered Spitfire.
Yeah. Spitfires are cool.

No, a leaky Triumph Spitfire.
That's assuming that's
oil that's leaking out of you.

It's cos I'm set up for angling.
You're set up for?!

If you could find a 100-metre track
that did that,

I could beat Usain Bolt,
cos I could run round corners.

You've been set up for cornering?

You can shut up. You look like a
car that's had its wheels nicked.
Well... Now, last week,

we looked at a modern-day
interpretation of the E-Type,
which was fantastic.

Well, now there's another one.
Here it is.

I just think that looks
spectacularly good.

It starts out in life as
a Jaguar XK, our modern-day car,

and then a Swiss company
ups the V8 engine by 100 horsepower

and then they fit a - I have
to say - brilliant-looking
carbon fibre and aluminium body,

so it's 200 kilograms lighter.
That's gorgeous. I know.

I'm not sure I really like it.
That's cos you're odd.

But... but I think there is
a problem with this car...

because they've called it
the Growler.


Now... now, we... we...
we Googled "growler"...

and we were quite surprised
and a bit shocked

by what it turns out to mean.

And do you know, Richard,
I've forgotten what it is.
What does it mean?

Can you tell
the ladies and gentlemen?

Well, you know those big welcome mats
you might see on a girl in the '70s?

That's what it is!

Yeah. Why would you name your car
after THAT? Honestly,
James, I don't think they knew.

I think they're sitting in Zurich,
or wherever...

This is the first time
they've realised that "growler"
means THAT in England.

And they'll be sitting going,
"Gott in Himmel!

"Ve have accidentally named
ze car after ein Fraugarten!"

The car, the Growler...

is it based on an XK?
Has it got four seats?

No, you can't get in the back.

What? What?!

Everybody's turned over
to Countryfile.

I'm not... I'm not sure they're
going to sell very many of those.

No, neither do I.
There's another reason why.

It costs £670,000. Ouch!

There probably will be
a trimmed-down version later,
but I bet you...

just for the Brazilian market.

I'm sorry.

It's called a Growler.

There's a bloke at some point
going to say, "I'm just going
outside to wax the Growler."

Oh, you dirty bugger!

Anyway, that is the end of the news.

Yes. Now, on Top Gear,
we love hot hatchbacks.

The idea of a sporty car and a
practical car all rolled into one
easy-to-park box is hugely appealing.

Yes, it is, but while we all agree
that hot hatchbacks are brilliant,

we cannot agree on
which one is best.

So the producers decided
we should sort this out on
a European road trip,

beginning in the Italian town
of Lucca, which is in Italy.

I was the first to arrive and, as
you can see, my choice was superb.

This is the Citroen DS3 Racing,
and it does
everything a hot hatchback should.

It is bonkers to look at and, with
204 horsepower under the bonnet,
is bonkers to drive as well.

But it still has back seats
that fold down. It's still small.

It's still relatively inexpensive.

Ah, it seems Mr May has arrived in
a driving instructor's car!

This is a Renault Clio,
but it's the Cup version.

And it is, pound for pound,
the most exciting car on sale.

Not my words. Not my words.
The words of Autocar magazine.

Autocar? Yes.
The magazine that sacked you?


And I could point out that it's
£16,000 and yours is, what, 23?

Where's your air-con,
cruise control, sat nav? You haven't
got anything. It's got air-con.

It's an optional extra. It's
an option that's been selected.
What have you got, 197 horsepower?

Yeah. 204.

That's very nearly
as much power as yours.

In the same way that the Egyptian
army is very nearly as
powerful as the American army.

197... 'Mercifully, at this point,
Hammond arrived...

'in a car from the 1950s.'

Ha-ha! Gentlemen, behold
the Fiat 500 Abarth convertible.

Best hot hatch ever. Well,
apart from a couple of things.
One is, it's not very hot,

and two, it's not a hatchback. It
is hot. This has got the SS kit on.

It says 158 brake horsepower
in there. Wow!

Just a couple of things. Small.

Yes, it is. This is enormous.
This is the Clio. Cup. Yes.

You've brought one of those
ridiculously gaudy training shoes

with springs at the back that go,
"Look at me, robot shoe."

Look at it. This would look
good on the deck of
a Nimitz-class aircraft-carrier.

We're not on the deck
of a Nimitz-class...

We're in a beautiful Italian plaza.
You know what this is? What?

Juvenile? James, one thing...
This is just a small French car.

It also has an optional extra
on it. It has air conditioning, yes.

Yes, it has something else.
Ah, yes...

But I didn't... What this actually
means in Italian is "bell end".

James, just a headline
to sum up the cars.

Magnificent, ridiculous...
It's a bit boring, bland.

It might look boring...
It isn't boring because...
What are these cars about?

They are about the sensation of
driving, and this will give it to me
because it's a small Renault

and they're the best in the world at
that. It's about fun and experience.
It looks magnificent. Looks?!

You can put the roof back...
But it isn't a hatchback.

It's like turning up to do the
Grand National on a cow or a hen.

It's not!

'Seeing that this was going nowhere,
the producer stepped in
with a challenge.'

This is a no-brainer.
A man with a thing...

"To see which of your cars works
best in the urban environment,

"you will now
leave the city of Lucca."

Is that it?


What, just drive out of a town?
How hard can that be?

As it turned out, very hard,

because in this medieval
walled city,
the streets were complete maze.

Now, I think a left here.
Oh, I can't go down there.

I can't go left.

Right, but it doesn't
matter too much.

I'll just go along here
and then turn right.

Ah, no, there isn't a right.
It's just somebody's drive.

I HAVE to go left.

One way. Really?! You don't say!

Every single turn you make puts you
in exactly the same road
as the one you've just left.

Also, in any other city, the Renault
and the Citroen
would be considered quite small.


But here, they were huge.

And... breathe in...

Bloody hell.

That's a squeeze.

No, it's not going to fit. Sorry.

Since when did the Renault Clio
become an enormous car
with a huge turning circle?

Happily, the Fiat was small enough,
but I had another problem.

This just isn't working.

The visibility in the
C version with the sliding roof,

with the roof back, is, you know,
it's good compared to, say,

having a bag on your head
or being blind.

Eventually, I decided the best thing
was to abandon ship.

Right, I'm leaving the car here.
I'm going to go ahead on foot.

I know I can make it on foot,
find the way out, come back,
pick up the car, drive out and win.

This... this must be James's
idea of hell.

He gets lost in a hotel.

That was a curve in that road
which was essentially a right,

but now I've gone to a left, so I
must still be going the right way.

Driving through
somebody's restaurant.

Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

Hang on a minute...

Is this...
Is this the square where I started?

Yes, it is.

Hang on.

That... That's the wall.

That's the city wall.

I've found it! There it is!

A bit of a hill.
Wasn't expecting that. Never mind.


No, it's that way.

Gearbox works.

Reverse, first, both good.


I think that ramp may have
been a bit of a mistake,

because the view from here and the
view over that way of trees

suggests I am actually
on top of the wall.
Still, could be worse.


I recognise you! Yeah!

Have you seen a Fiat,
a small black and white Fiat...
on your travels?

Nothing to see here.

Just a man driving
on top of a historic monument.

Eventually, I found my car
and the way back to the city wall.

That's the first time since I left
that I've gone fast enough
to activate the central locking.

But outside the city gates,
Professor Smug was already there.

Yes, there's no missing it, is there?

A man standing next
to a child's training shoe.

Did you see Lord Lucan?

No. Oh, he's there. Shergar.

They're all in there.

'Even though James wasn't with us,
another challenge then turned up.'


"You will now drive
to the town of Canelli,

"which is 170 miles away, near Alba.

"En route, you must collect
the following items.

"A branch of a cedar tree, ice-cubes,
a photo of as many people
as you can getting into your car,

"a CD from a service station -
but you may not get
out of your car to get it...

"a bicycle, a vine and a dog."

A dog?!

A vine? A bicycle?

Whereabouts on the Riviera
are you going to find...?
And a branch of a cedar tree...

Oi! May!


What are you doing up there?
I can't find the way down.

After the idiot explained
his predicament, we filled him in
on our new challenge.


That's what I said, "A dog"!
What's the point of that?

It's to see how
practical the car is.

Well, off you go, then.

So we did.

Autostrada, here we go.

And as we headed north, we fell
even more in love with our cars.

If you have a big BMW or Mercedes,
it's like an expensive suit,

so it has to be a sober colour -
silver, black, grey.

But if you have a hot hatch,
it's like a T-shirt.

It can be anything you want -
have writing on it,
it can be orange, anything.

That's why the DS3 Racing
is so brilliant,

cos they've just taken the
idea of fun and gone mad with it.

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Fizzy little car.

Just setting the cruise control,
Hammond. Are you able to do that?

Sorry, it's a bit windy in here.
I'm just going to close my roof.

Have you closed yours already?
Oh, you can't open it!

In all fairness, the Fiat and the
Citroen are very similarly equipped.

There are more things on the Citroen,
but this has everything you need.

Operate the stereo from the
steering wheel, electric windows,
electric roof that opens. Ha-ha!

Meanwhile, very far behind,
Captain Sense Of Direction

had finally found a way out of Lucca.

Bursting out
into the sunlight... now.

I don't doubt that the others
will be bleating on

about how they have sat nav
or leather upholstery, or whatever.
But that's not the point.

Renault has concentrated on the
things that make this a hot hatch
rather than just a hatchback.

They know your money goes on the
engine, this lovely steering wheel,
this fabulous gear change.

You get a dull interior.
It is very boring, very basic.

But I want this car to drive.

Soon, we were in the hills
and ready to start our challenge.

A bicycle, dog.

What else have we got? Ice cube.
Get that near the end or it'll melt.

I'm going to pull in the here

and attempt to buy a CD
without getting out of the car.

Branch of a cedar tree...

A vine.

To make life harder,
the producers hadn't given us
any money to buy things.

Fortunately, production has
supplied me with some
potential bartering items.

I have a CD here of
Robson & Jerome's love songs,
and I've also got this one, the...

A Cockney Christmas
with Chas & Dave.

Do you speak English?
A little bit.

Um... I may not get out of the car.
Chas & Dave -
molto popolare Inglese... um...

I don't understand.

Can you go really far? Really far.
Good, good, good.

There's three in the front

OK, let's go.

Suspension's gone down a bit.
That's ten.

In we go. Oh, thank you, madam,
for helping.

Right, I reckon we'll get
another four in the front.
Oh, cyclist! You'll be thin.

Skinny as a stick. Yes!

Scusi, signora.

It's his bottom. You've got
his bottom in your face there.



It's the 13th.

That is 13 people
in a Citroen DS3 Racing.

Beat that, Hammond. Beat that, May.

14. Count 'em up!

Oh, that is magnificent.
That's for Italy.

If I just do one for Italy, for Fiat.
Ya-ha! We're all excited.


Chas & Dave?

Robson e Jerome? Molto bene.

Since we had to be at
the finishing point by six

and there were bonus points
for getting there first,
it became a very busy afternoon.

Yes, that's a vineyard.

No, the CD, OK? In the shop?

Um, I'm a scientist

and I'm investigating the possible
medicinal healing qualities of vines.

Now, I am able to offer you
in part exchange

this commemorative plate.

This! The swap. OK...

For a vine... Si.

I can give you molto valuable
Wills and Kate
souvenir wedding bell. Ah, OK.

That is a good stereo.

Can I just clarify, I'm not
looking for bicycles to steal.

Anyway, there's a policeman there.
But it's a policeman on a bicycle.

There you go. Off-roading.

Oh! Is that a cedar tree?

Citroen - pfff! Renault - ha!
Fiat... Fiat.

Ha! Better.

Very, very good, Fiat.
Yes, exactly.

To show very good - bicycle in it.

It's a police bike in a Fiat,
it's just better!

Hang on.

I'm so hot.

How am I going to get
a bicycle in here as well?


Thank you. Thank you very much.

You don't have police dogs, do you?
Eh? No, never mind.

Oh, God! It smells terrible.

There were now just 20 minutes left

in which to scavenge
our remaining items.

I've got to get a cube of ice.
Not difficult.

A dog...

How do you scavenge a dog?

Come on. Come on.

Right, the final thing, ice.

Thank you so much for doing this.

You are so kind. Tres gentil.

Could you just stay here?
I have to get an ice cube.

Uno minuto. OK.

Really got to hurry now.
It's melting.

Come on.

Quicker, little Citroen.

Have you ever been in a car with a
tree growing out of the back, Theo?

Probably not.

James, too, had found a dog,

but sadly his speed was limited by
his ice-cube transportation system.

Which meant there was plenty
of time for conversation.

I like dogs and cats.

I've just got a wet seat.

That doesn't count.

There's one left.

Sorry about the noise. It's
the tree dragging on the road.

My ice cube is melting.

It's very pretty here, isn't it?

Now, come on. Don't melt.

Coming through.

Huh? Oh, it's there.

Ooh, sorry, sorry, sorry.

Oh, no!

Er, that's... OK, yes.

That's an actual person.
Yes, yes. First of all, well
done, Hammond. Well done, well done.

That's ice, as is that.

As is that. Yes, it is.

Where's your dog? It's not a dog.
Yes, it is.

What this is, it's an acrylic fur
stuffed with industrial waste.
That's no way to talk about a dog.

Yes, it is.
Do you think this is a dog, dog?

Look at that.
That's proof enough for me!
You can have that, little friend.

James arrived just as
the last of his ice cubes melted.

Good evening. Good evening.

This is Francesca. Hello, Francesca.

Francesca, this is Jeremy
and Richard. Let me guess.

Christ, has he made you pregnant?
No. No. You work fast, mate.

Thank you.

We'll pick that up...

We'll pick that up later on,
but now it's time to put
a star in our reasonably priced car.

My guest tonight is a comedian

who spends his weekends with
other men dressed in leather.

He's part of a minority group
called motorcyclists.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ross Noble.

Good to see you, mate. How are you?
I'm very well.

Ross Noble, have a seat.
Thank you very much. Thanks.

I just...

Yeah, I just wanted to check because
I didn't realise that you actually

have a lady wrangler.
You have somebody that just finds
all the good-looking women

and pokes them with a stick.

"Get to the front,
get to the front!"

There's blokes in the middle
that literally come to this show

so that when the ladies move through
they just stand there. "Mmm."

I must move on, if we may. OK.

I've got a list here of your bikes
that you currently own. Right? Yeah.

Triumph Scrambler,
675R, Ducati Streetfighter. Yep.

BMW 450, KTM 250, Gas Gas 250
and a 1974 Norton Commando.

Why would you have so many, cos
they're all the same? That's quite
funny, cos since your researcher

talked to me about that,
I've bought another one,

just to annoy you!
Make bikes live for us.

I don't understand. They've
no styling. Why are they different?

To me, a car is a big box of metal
with somebody sitting inside it.

A bike, it's like you're
part of the bike.

You move on a bike
and you look where you want to go
and the bike goes.

You see what I mean?
You can move around on it.

But do you not get...?
Granted, granted, you can't have
a sandwich while you're doing it

but I'm working on that.
I'm going to go on Dragons' Den with

some sort of sandwich spring
that I can ride along and go...

I can tell you don't like cars
cos I've got a list
of your past car history.

MG Metro, Cavalier.

All these cars met with terrible
ends, didn't they, largely?
Yes. I have no...

What I like about a bike is,
if you get it wrong, you die.

You see what I mean?

What's good about that,
it sort of keeps me on my toes.

Whereas with a car...

I've got this Land Rover, I had
a couple of tractors as well

cos we still live in the country.

My wife had... You know
those big round bales of hay?

She said, "Can you move that into
the bottom field?"
"Yeah, easy enough."

I tried pushing it. A bit tricky,
so I thought, "What I'll do

"is gently nudge it with a car, the
Land Rover. They're built for it."

So I went...

Crunch! And nothing happened.
I thought, "I'm going
to have to go faster."

So I floored it into this bale
of hay. I went, "Here we go,"

and it went "bang"!
Instead of pushing it,
the car mounted the bale of hay

so it just looked like the Land
Rover was humping the bale of hay.

Then the second one I wrote off.

I lived on...
It was old gravel roads

and I forgot I wasn't Colin McRae.

The back of the car started to sort
of overtake me a bit and I thought,

"That can't be good."

As it came round, the car went
up on two wheels

and then it went onto its side and
I started sliding down this hill.

My wife's lip balm hit me in
the face. There was crap everywhere
and dust.

The sat-nav just went,
"Off route, recalculating."

I had to crawl out the back.
Was that in Australia? Yes, it was.

You were unlucky in Australia
cos you got caught up
in those awful fires,

round Melbourne way, wasn't it,
in 2009? That's right.

We heard about them on the news
here, these bush fires,
but these were beyond belief.

Beyond anything you could possibly
imagine. Literally, it torched...

There was nothing left.
Our house was...

We had an oven, like one of these
wood-burning stove things.

You can heat them up to 2,000
degrees, and that had smashed

and melted on the top.
That gives you an idea.

How fast do those fires move?

Normally a fire goes...
I think it's a metre a minute

and these things just, you know...

There were people trying to outrun
it and couldn't do it in cars.

So how did you get out?
I wasn't there, luckily.

Were the family there?
Yeah, my wife was driving
along with the flames behind her.

Yeah. How fast did she have to go?
I don't think she was looking
at the speedo, to be honest!

She absolutely was...?

Yeah, there were flames behind her
and it was all coming down.

They were horrible and I don't
think we really realise in this
country how horrible.

Yeah, it was something like
50 times the Hiroshima bomb,

that was the area of destruction.
So you've come back
to live in England now?

I have. Down in Kent.
Have you bought some land there?

I have. Is it the country living?
Organic farming?

Oh, yeah. It's all organic,
the whole lot. Cheese-making.
Not really.

What have you done
with your paddock?

I have bought 150 traffic cones
off the internet and turned it

into a motorcycle racing track.

Which the neighbour's not too
happy about, to be honest.

Does he overlook your paddock?

He does when he stands on a ladder
and shakes his...

I shouldn't be saying this on
the telly. It's a bit of a...

But, no. I mean, I love getting
out there and I've got tractors,

I've got earth-moving equipment. Oh!
And also, I bought a tank.

What sort of tank is yours?
Mine is an Abbot 433.

That's a self-propelled gun,
though, isn't it? Listen to you!

Military purists would say
that's self-propelled artillery.

It looks like a tank.

But when it comes up
behind you down the shops...

This is the thing. It was one of
the best days of my life, actually.

When I got the tank delivered -
cos it's massive...

and the guy brings it
on a low-loader thing.

He turns up and says,
"There's no way that's going to go
up the country lanes.

"We're going to have to get the tank
off and drive it to your house."

The tank is there, my car is here,
and this is possibly the greatest
motoring experience of my life.

I'm driving along, in me Hilux.
I come through.

There are two hedges either side and
I drive halfway through and the tank

is trying to keep up.
He's going as fast as he can.

I stop and a little old fellow
comes round the corner.

Now I've gone further down
the narrow bit than he has

and he stopped.
And I went, "Go back."

And he went, "No."

You know when you just think, "I
couldn't have set this up better."

I went, "Go back",
and he went, "No." I went...

And the gun appeared
and the guy went,

"Oh, bloody hell!"

Murray Mints flying all over.
Are you actually allowed
to drive it on the road?

Not only are you allowed
to drive it on the road,

it's congestion-charge exempt.
How good is that?!

Oh, I love that. This is great.
I have to say, the lap...

Yes. We've heard about your
car history. It's shocking.
So did you crash?

Today? Yeah. Yep.

Does anybody want to see the clip
of the first attempt?

Let's have a look.

Here we are, coming after the second
to last corner. Here's Gambon.

Cutting the corner can help!

Who would like to see
the actual lap?

OK, let's play the tape.

That's good. And...

It looks like them
Duke boys dumped themselves
in a whole heap of trouble.

Right, there we go, first corner.

Tortured tyres.

Squealing like a pig, boy!
Squeal like a pig.

Alice Cooper was talking about pigs.

Drive it like you've stolen it.

That's a wide line.

Oh! Ooh!

Some valves coming out of the bonnet
now as we turn into the Hammerhead,

keeping it nicely between the lines.
That looks very fast.

You've gone into a trance.

Flat out... Flat out through here.
There we go. Woo-hoo!

Best to keep your eyes open
on that bit. Well, you know.

Let's have a look. This is...

That was absolute bang on.

And cutting it again
or have we learned our lesson? No?

I say, gosh! That is...

very good.

That was a good couple
of last corners there.

These are the times.

Where do you think?

Who's another biker on there?

Eh... Bill Bailey. Is he a biker?

No. Do you really want
to see Bill on a bike?

Eh... Um... Oh...

No, I don't, actually. I tell
you what, Tom Cruise is a biker.

Oh, yeah. All right, I'll be
one ahead of Tom Cruise then.

Just put me out of my misery.

One... Right.


Tom Cruise is 1.44.2. Oh, stop it!

You're 1.43...

Ladies and gentlemen,
the second fastest man...

we've ever had! Ross Noble!

Thank you very much.

Bloody hell!


I have to say,

it's those last two corners.

They were absolutely perfect.

Aw, look, I was beaten
by another Northern comic.

The Northern comics are the fastest
people in the world,
as it turns out.

Yeah. Do you know how quickly
we get home from our gigs?

Ladies and gentlemen, nearly
a record-breaker, all-round good
guy, Ross Noble. Thank you.

Now, tonight we are reviewing
the boring Renault Clio Cup...

It's not boring.

Yes, it is.
..the childish Citroen DS3 Racing

and the excellent Fiat 500 Abarth.

So far we've found out
what they're like in town,

what they're like at
being hatchbacks, but now it's time

to find out what they're like
when you put your foot down.

The producers told us
to leave our overnight halt,

here in the foothills of the Italian
Alps, and drive to Monaco down here.

Right, at last.

A chance to drive this little thing.

Steering just feels fabulous.

Oh! A little crackle
and bang on the overrun.

Oh, yes, this thing grips.

The grip is helped, no doubt,
by being short and fat,

so it's square on the road.


I don't think I'd change
anything about this.

In a straight line, this is
by far the fastest of the three.

0-60, 6.5 seconds.

The funny thing is,
even though it's called "the Racing"

and it was designed
by Citroen's motorsport division,

it doesn't actually feel like
a racing car or a rally car.

It feels soft,
it feels very Citroeny, quiet.

And then there's the steering.

There's no feel to it at all.

You sort of have to guess how much
lock to put in for each corner.

Is it this much? No, more.

Here's a fact.

Hammond has a 1.4 litre
turbocharged engine,

Jeremy has a 1.6 litre
turbocharged engine.

I have two litres,
no turbocharger, and that's
important because there's no lag.

There you go.
Through the bend, there's the power.

The trouble was, though, it wasn't
actually getting me anywhere.

Hammond's little boot thing
takes off like a rocket.

He's getting away!

The problem with that Renault is,
brilliant though the suspension is
and so on,

it weighs more than the QE2 and you
can see that coming out of
the corners. It doesn't get going.

Though that could have
something to do with its driver.

An interesting old bell tower
over there.

Eventually we reached the Riviera.

There's the Mediterranean,
glistening blue, which is amazing

considering how many turds
there are in it.

As we approached Monte Carlo,
I heard a familiar sound.


I think the Grand Prix is on.

Oh, my God,

I think, down there...
Which Grand Prix?

Have either of you two ever watched
the Monaco Grand Prix? I think
I watched it in the early '80s.

That's the one in the town, right?

Never has anyone had to work
with such imbeciles.

In the hills above Monaco, we were
told to pull over for a challenge.

I love that sound.

"Tomorrow, you will do three laps
of the Monaco Grand Prix track.

"Whoever posts
the fastest time wins."

The Monaco Grand Prix track?

I'm going to drive around... That?!

My hair is just... Seriously,
that is just the boyhood dream!

Hang on, if we've got to do
hot laps of the actual... That puts
you at a bit of an advantage.

Not really. I've never actually
driven round it
when it's a racetrack.

I don't know the fastest line
through Rascasse!
I don't know what Rascasse is!

I don't know where it goes.
You know how difficult
I find it remembering a track.

Am I going to get a go round?
Can I look at a picture of it?
I don't know!

Exactly! I'll be driving
around a foreign town.

When the Grand Prix practice was
over, we went in search of some F1
drivers so we could get some tips.

And immediately,
I found David Coulthard.

And the key here is speed up the
hill, not speed into St Devote.

Concentrate on
really getting that car turned,

early on the power, because what
you gain here, if you get on
the power two metres early,

you'll add five kilometres an hour
to your top speed.

So there is a noticeable crest
there? Yes. You'll see as you're
coming over the crest.

You've got a lot of grippy tarmac
there. On the apex? On the apex.

Meanwhile, down in the harbour,

my colleagues had been rather
distracted by all the parties.

Thank you, gentlemen. Oh!

Look confident.
Look like you do this all the time.

Grab that woman with the things
on sticks. What?

Where would you try
in a road car to go by?

A good run through
the tunnel and then on the brakes.
The left-right?

So, over the crest, then as soon as
you see his brake lights come on,
count and you're in.

And then go on the left, stay left?

We're doing a bit of driving
around the track, you know,

analysing some of the corners.

So, if you live in Monaco, do you
drive around where the track is?
All the time. Good.

What hints have you got for me? I've
got to drive around it tomorrow...

Use the kerbs at four and five.
It gives more grip.

Four and five? Yeah.

And at Rascasse, I can take a lot of
entry speed into that... Yeah.

..and then use the front-wheel drive
to wash it off?

Well, it's very much a party
sort of place. It has
very elegant properties.

It's like Monaco in many ways,
Have you ever been to Hammersmith?

At the end of the evening,
we met up to compare notes.

Have you found anything
about the track out?

Yes, I have. It's just over there,
there's all these boats,
and it's really busy.

Have you talked to a single
racing driver? Yes, we have. Who?

A very nice man called
Tim O'Glock. An Irishman...

Timo Glock! Timo Glock, yes.

The next morning,
the producers decided that because
the track has no run-off areas,

and is very dangerous, none
of us could drive around it unless
we had a bit of tuition first.

Richard's tutor was Red Bull
team boss Christian Horner.

I got former Renault boss
Flavio Briatore.

And Jeremy was given
an elderly gentleman.

Bernie Ecclestone.

Bernie Ecclestone, as I live and
breathe! How are you this morning?
Good. Michel!

Bernie? Listen, we need these
other two cars disqualified, huh?
No problem, no problem!

It was time to begin.

There's a flag waving.
Oh, we're off.

Try and hook a right here.
We have to stay left, I reckon.

No, you have to go there.

Bernie, you old cheat!
We gained a bit! We gained a lot!

Let's go over to the right a bit,
shall we?

And then... What was that lift,
what was that lift?! I didn't need
to lift there, did I? No!

I have to slow a bit.
Further. Go down with the gears.
Jesus Christ!

That's a tight right. Brake, brake,
brake. What are you doing?

Brake. Oh, my God!

There are actually people watching
as well. What do they expect,
I wonder.

They expect an accident.

You lifted it! I'm terrified!
I don't know what's going to happen!
Oh, God!

It's secondo for this one.

Just brake, Jesus Christ.

Be careful now, huh? Yep.
Left, right...

It's too complicated, this.

Get the kerb on the left.
You missed it. Get the curb
on the right. You missed it.

Try and get this kerb.

Christ, we missed that one as well!

Now, Rascasse. Brake now.

Oh, really late? Accelerate now.

Tuition over,
we ditched the teachers...

That was good. Come on,
that was good! Jesus Christ.

..and set off on our warm-up lap.

I am out of my depth to a degree
I've never before experienced.

The crowds were beside themselves
as we started our first lap.

Here we go.


Now, this creeps up on you.


I'm struggling, I'm struggling!
Come on, Rich!

Wait till you can see the Armco
before braking. That's now.

- Flavio corner.
- Jesus Christ-ah!

I caught them up.

Well late going in there.
Get in, get in.

It is simply terrifying.
You just have no...

I mean, look - fine, dead.

Oh, dear God. That's Hammond
dealt with in the tunnel.

Now, James will not
know where he's going.

OK, now we come down
to the chicane, I think.

Or is it Raser-ma-casse-er-ma-casse?

Jezzer's going to have me
here, I can feel it coming.

Get the grip from the zebra.

Got him.

Get this kerb.

Ooh, this is risky.
I don't know the way!

Hammond, you bugger.

Oh, God almighty!
I may have cocked that up a bit.

We now had just one lap left.
It had to be a fast one.

My last ever lap
of the Monaco Grand Prix track.

Don't mess
this corner up again, Jeremy.


Just leave it in third.

Change into second.

That was better.

the barrier! It comes out-ah.

Get it in now.

Flat, flat, flat!


Aargh! He's getting away!
My mighty Fiat roaring
in the tunnel at Monaco!

Topless women. Mustn't look.

I can see why racing drivers love
this track. You are just on it.

Don't... Oh, God, strewth.

I think this is it.

Come on, everything you can.

Oh, my God!

What an extraordinary day!

I have to say,
that's pretty special.

What a fantastic moment.

Thank you, Bernie. Thank you, thank
you, thank you, thank you so much!

That was amazing. It was.

I really do mean that.

I really do mean that.

I've never had a day I've
enjoyed more, working, than that.

It was amazing. I'm not exactly
steeped in F1 folklore, but still,

that was the most amazing track
driving experience I've ever had.

And I've always thought
the Monaco track worked

because of where it was, the harbour
and the palace. But you could pick
it up and put it in a field

in Lancashire, and it would still be
a fantastic thing to drive around.

Yeah, absolutely. It would
certainly be better than
the Nurburgring, wouldn't it?

It is now time to work out
which of these cars is best.

We begin with the
getting out of Lucca challenge.

Jeremy, I believe you arrived first.
Yeah. So you get ten points.

Good. Hammond, you were second,
so you get five points.

And I, of course, was last
so I only get two points.

However, the producers have said
that any man who loses his car

in the city is actually
disqualified. So, Hammond,
I'm afraid you've got nought.

Oh, I can see where
this is going already.

Nought for that.
Now, the scavenger hunt...

er, Hammond, you finished first,
so you get ten points.

I was second so I get five.

James, you were last so you get two.

However, because your
ice cube had melted,

I'm afraid you lose a point for
that so you actually only get one.

Oh, dear. Interestingly enough,
Hammond, the producers said

that because your dog wasn't real,
that is minus two points.
Minus two? Yes.

And also because your cedar tree
turned out to be a larch,
that's another minus two.

Yeah, and finally, you didn't get
a CD. So that's minus...
Oh, let me guess! Is it six?

Yes, it is! Is it? Is it really?

So, six and two... Is nought.
Yes, it is. Nought for that.

People in the car -
James, you got 12.

I got 13 in the Citroen.
And you got nought.

I got 14 for that. What?

I got 14! No, the producers have said
that because your people weren't
actually in your convertible,

there were sort of on it, you were
disqualified, so... They were in it!
Oh, for God's sake.

Nought. Now, the big one,
the lap times. Hammond...

I did it in the Fiat in
two minutes 20 seconds.

Ooh, two minutes 21.


This is tricky.

Well, I've got to look pleased
now, haven't I, without being smug?

You're not pulling that off.

Two minutes 15. Oh, God.

So, I get ten points. Do you?

Er, wait a minute, you get...

Well, it can't be nought
this time, can it? I finished!

You get five, and you get...
I'm afraid last again,
so that's another two.

OK, so, let's tot up the totals.

Jeremy, you have 38.

Excellent. The Citroen has won.

I've got 17, and Hammond, I'm
afraid you have five. Five.

No, you see, he doesn't. Really?
No, because the producer said

it was a test of hot hatchbacks,
and you must have a points deduction

for turning up
in a car that wasn't a hatchback.

Really? How many points does
he lose for that?

It's five. Is it really?!

So, I get nought... again. Yes.

And on that bombshell, it's time
to end. Thank you very much
for watching. Good night!

Subtitling by Red Bee Media Ltd