Top Gear (2002–…): Season 18, Episode 6 - Episode #18.6 - full transcript

Jeremy, Richard, and James hit Donington in three stripped out track cars: the KTM Crossbow, the Morgan Three Wheeler, and the Caterham R500. Blur bassist and professional cheese maker Alex James is the star in the reasonably priced car.

Tonight, we get very cold and wet...

I re-enact the Battle of Britain...

Oh, nuts.

And there's a Blur
in a reasonably-priced car.

Subtitles by MemoryOnSmells

Hello. Thank you so much,
everybody. Thank you.

We will begin with track days.
The idea behind them is simple.

During the week, when there is no
actual motor racing going on,

the owners of race circuits allow
people to rock up

and spend the day
whizzing around in their own cars.

This is now so popular,

you can even buy cars specifically
designed with track days in mind.

We decided to go down to the
Simply Sausages Donnington race track

to sort out which one is best.

This is the original track-day car
and, in my opinion, still the best.

It's... the Caterham 7.
But it is no ordinary Caterham 7.

This is the R500 Superlight.
It is less heavy.

It has no frills, adornments,
garnish, apart from a few stripes.

It is simple, pure.

It is an unadulterated driving
experience and I absolutely love it.

But - and this is a weird thing...

Jeremy Clarkson believes he has come
up with something better.


Yes, I have.
This is the KTM X-bow.

Part insect,
part terrain-following missile.

Wait a minute. What?

I thought you were bringing that new
thing they were making in Cheshire.

What, the BAC Mono?

Yes. It broke down. Where did
it break down? In the factory.

It broke down while
they were still building it?

It really did.

This is my second choice

and, despite that, it is still
better than yours.

Is it? Yes. Why is that then?

Because yours is from the 1950s
and this is from this morning.

Carbon-fibre panels, mid-engined,
pushrod actuated
double wishbone suspension.

How much is it?

49,000. You see, £41,000
so it is cheaper. And it is better.

This was fine in 1961. It is
not the same car any more.

It has a better engine,
suspension, materials,

it has been made slightly wider.

It has modern instruments.

A sequential shift.

'At this point,
we were joined by our colleague.'

What in the name
of all that's holy...?!

You see, if you want a car built
purely for fun, you want this.

It is made largely from aluminium
which is mixed with wood,

but that is the way Morgan
build their cards.

Why does it have RAF roundels on it?

It has been styled
to look like an aeroplane.

It hasn't got wings!
It has aeroplane-style gauges.

Why is the engine not in the car?
Because it is an air-cooled V twin.

It needs to be outside
because that is where the air is.

What's in there?
Oil tank. And the battery.

I think, move to the back, Hammond.
I have another question.

The question I am going to ask is
it doesn't have any back wheels.

It has one in the middle, there.

So it is a tricycle?
It is a three wheeler.

It is reminiscent of the original
Morgan three wheeler.

Ask me what it weighs.
What does it weigh? 495 kilos.

Less than 500 kilos.
It is only half a car.

If I sawed my leg off, I would weigh
much less than I do now.

I would keep falling over.

You could pick this up
and put it in your pocket.

It looks like a coal scuttle.

I have got to ask, how much?
With taxes and things? Yes. £30,000.

It would be 40 if it had four wheels.

Did you say it is made from wood?

That's how Morgan build cars.

I reckon if you went to Morgan and
said would you like some diphtheria?

They'd say, "Yes,"
cos that's traditional.

Wood is light and flexible
and endlessly renewable

and an excellent material
to build cars from.

People don't do it
cos you need craftsmen.

You cannot have some oik pressing
a button and stamping them out.

The Nissan GTR would be worse
if it was made of wood.

The early aeroplanes were made
from wood but the Boeing 747 isn't.
There's no wood in it.

Eventually, the producers told us
to stop arguing about wood
and get on with the first challenge.

A simple straight-line race
from nought to 100 then back
to nought again.

Sadly, this led to another dispute.

What do you mean, "a Le Mans start"?
On go, we run to our cars, jump in,
start them and drive off.

Running? It is not a school sports
day. Will you have an egg and spoon?

It is two against one. Be ready.
Three, two, one, go.

This is stupid.

We could have been finished by now.

Hammond has already begun.

The 1.9 litre V twin!

'Sadly, my elderly colleagues were
struggling to get going.'

Very complicated starting procedure.


James was belted in place,

'a bit too tightly as it turned out.'

Oh, bloody hell!

Why don't you start?

Stop saying ready to race!

Out of pity for their incompetence,
I decided to abort.

Can I make a suggestion? What?
We are here to test the cars.

We're not here to find out who
is the fattest.

Or which has the most
complicated starting procedure.

Or whose belts are badly adjusted.

Let's do it normally.
But with the Le Mans start, I won.

Yes, but that is just
because you are the fittest.

I won the Le Mans start.
Let's do an old man's version.

Do I have to
have my feet on the break? Yes!

I should be all right here. I have
the best power-to-weight ratio.
I have the fastest car.

Sequential gearbox,
good view ahead.

And three, two, one...

Great start into second.

Boy, did they get away!


Jeremy has stopped on the way.
I will have to go past.

I am not sure that is miles an hour.
That might be fuel pressure.

It was, so we went back to
the start line to try again.

Three, two...


James went on two.

This is ridiculous.

So we lined up
for attempt number four.

How hard can it be for three grown
men to see which is the fastest from
nought to 100 then back again?

Three, two, one.


Why has that happened?

Is that 100 already?!


Why did he break so soon?


As it turned out, James'
celebrations were premature.

He had been reading his speedometer
in kilometres an hour.

Oh, cock!

Still, it could be worse.

95. Now there is a corner
and going to have to do... Oh!

70, 80, oh, a corner.

This is impossible.

James decided that rather than
do the test again,

he would show his car
was the fastest using maths.

I have a sheet of all the facts.

Yours weighs almost twice
as much as mine. Yes. Hang on.

He is still not doing 100.

75, 80, 85. Aah!

Now the speedo has died.

It has a better power-to-weight
ratio than the Bugatti Veyron.

517 horsepower per ton.

I was forced to agree
with James' conclusions.

So I came up with a new test.

Cornering is everything and with
pushrod-actuated suspension,

I will go round corners
faster than you can.

And there is no arguing with that.

There is, actually, because I
have had these photographs printed
and they are all

photos of X-bows just after
they have done some cornering.

That one is parked in a tree. It is
hanging from a crane near a tree.

That is just outside a bend there.

A ditch near a bend.

Near a corner. Look at that.

Even though there was evidence

to suggest I would be killed
by a cornering test...

Richard would not fare much better
either - the producer said

we should see which car would be
fastest through the old hairpin.

Because we were having
such trouble reading our speedos,

they set up a police style
radar trap.

Why is everything breaking today?
I do not know.

Why doesn't that happened to
the police? It doesn't.

The NHS computer would not work.

There is a man who can
print out a receipt for us.

He will tell us the cornering speed.

With the speed equipment working,
I set off to disprove James'
photographic evidence.

It is not just the pushrod-actuated

it's the tyres that will put me
in good stead.

Very sticky tyres.

I doubt he has a clue what
pushrod suspension is. No idea.

And the time is? 69.419 miles an
hour. Is that good? I have no idea.

Then it was James' turn.

Listen to that. He has gone right
up nearly to the red light.

Where does it go?
Yes, down here. Here we go.

He went the right way.

He was going the right way

but did you see how far
he was from the apex?

How fast was he? 59.

What do we call him?
What's his nickname?

Captain Quick.

It isn't that.

Finally, Richard took a brave pill
and stepped into the tricycle.

I am so screwed here.

The wheels! Those are not wide tyres.

What do they do, the pushrods?

Many things.
They must do something specific.

They don't make the engine go.
What do they do in the suspension?

Everything better.

Suspension. Yes, yes.

I have some.
Some there and some there.

And a bit back there.

More than that.

They're better. Why?
They just are. Yes, but why?

Many reasons.

Come on, my little
three-wheeled friend.

Here he comes. Doff your hats.

Roll out the barrel.

♪ Any old iron, any old iron
Any, any, any old iron... ♪

I am going to give it the full
Stirling Moss. Ya-a-ah!

Did you see him
clinging on with his elbow?

You could see the sinews
in his arm.

The sound is from the 1930s.

Did the picture go black
and white as he went past?


Hammond, James' fastest time
was 59.8. Your fastest time,


Ha-ha! In the Morgan, well done.

James and I had been greatly looking
forward to Richard's car

falling over in the
cornering challenge.

Since it hadn't, we quickly
came up with another idea.

Doughnuts. We're going to see which
one of us can do the best doughnuts.

It was James' idea.

Are you trying to think of challenges
that you think my car can't do?

Yes. No.

The trouble is I didn't think
the X-bow would be much good either.

I am not sure, with these tyres,
which are so sticky, that this
is going to work.

It's like driving on superglue.

You do it.
So he did and he was rather good.

That is a doughnut.
James May doing a doughnut.

That is like watching a vicar
play poker.

Strip poker.

Then came the moment we'd all
been waiting for.

Ladies and gentlemen,

sit back now and get ready
to laugh your ears off.

As Hammond does a dough.

It only has one wheel
so he can't do a full doughnut.

How is that possible?


You didn't expect that, did you?

It was a stupid test.

Because I won.

At this point,
we decided to abandon the tests

and do what people
do on track days drive.

This design may be
as old as Jeremy,

but if you are interested in
the sensation of driving a car

and everything that involves,
then you will love this.

I know Jeremy's
blathering on about pushrods,

but this has quite sophisticated
suspension as well.

Fully adjustable,

and let's not forget that Caterham
now is an F1 team.

'In fact, I had only one complaint
about my car.'

Put a windscreen on it!


I was expecting it to be
quite sudden

when you get to the limit,
but it isn't!

It's remarkably forgiving.

But if I've got one criticism
of this car,

I'd say it's a bit... safe,
a bit soft.

It's almost like they've edited it
to make it easy for everybody.

I'm not entirely sure that this is,
strictly speaking,

a track-day car as such.
But God, it's fun!

I'm having more fun than I remember
having in a long time, actually.

0-60 in 4.5 seconds,
top speed 115mph.

Two big pistons firing away.


On a track day, of course,
there's always one absolute rule.

No racing.

Must get past James!

Must overtake.

Two-litre engine in that Caterham

is the same basic unit you find
in a Ford Galaxy people carrier,

whereas the two-litre turbo
in this is from a Golf GTI.

It's just better.

Right, now here's the problem.

James has no spatial awareness
at all,

so there's no way of knowing
what he's going to do next.

What happens next?

Oh, ha-ha!

I might have gone off a bit there.

♪ Jeremy's in the gravel
Ha-ha ha-ha ha-ha... ♪

Oh, ho-ho-ho!

It is incredible to think
that today, you aren't allowed to

smack a child or ask your dogs to
get rid of the rats in the shed,

and yet you CAN do this!

100mph, probably.

Just brilliant - you and your mates
just belting round

indulging your passion for cars.

'And better still, it costs less
than a speeding ticket.'

Anyway! How much fun was that?


It was brilliant! You pay, what, 100
quid, and you get a day doing 100mph.

Well, YOU don't.
Look, as a fun car, mine was best.

Hang on a minute, Hammond.

The idea was to find out which was
the best track-day car, yeah?

And that was mine.
He's right, it was.

What? No, it was. Mine...
I mean, I know it has

pushrod activated suspension, which
moves the weight in-board and...

What's the other thing it does?

By adjusting...
No, I'm not interested.

Er, despite all of that,
it feels a bit heavy

and a bit predictable
and a bit boring.

This is where the Morgan shines.
It is exciting and different

and it vibrates as you drive it.

Mm-hmm. Let me interrupt, if I may.

Who here would like to see The Stig

attempting to get that Morgan
round our track?

Play the tape.

And he's off. The single rear wheel
fighting for grip.

Never seen anything as ridiculous as
that in my whole life. Looks great.

Where's he going there?!
Oh, he nearly lost it!

But he's held it together.
Look at that!

Yes, he's made it round
the first corner.

There he is, looking terrified.
As he comes into Chicago.

Oh, he's drifting it! He is actually
drifting it, you're right.

Be interesting to see what happens
in Hammerhead. Here we are.

That little 1.9-litre twin-cylinder
engine's got so much torque,

they had to invent and fit something
called a radial deflection damper

so it didn't lunch
the Mazda MX5 gearbox. Really.

Yes. OK, well he must be
up to at least 45mph now.

No, he's changing down for
the Follow-through, to maybe 40.

Yeah, but he's having fun!

Missing the dent there,
so he doesn't break his spine,

if indeed he's got a spine.


Struggling to... He's missed
the apex there quite badly.

Only Gambon to go - can he make it
round there without incident?

Yes... no, wait! He's lost it!

And across the line backwards!

I have the times.

Now, the Caterham, as we know,
cos it's been around before,

did a 1:17.9.

The X-bow we ran this morning,
1:27 dead.

And the Morgan...


point 4,
which is the same as one year.

It's pathetic.

That is the fastest three-wheeler
we've ever had round our track.

The only other three-wheeler
we ever had was the Reliant Robin,

and he fell over in that in the
first corner. And that was faster.

So there we are. The Morgan is
faster than a Reliant Robin.

Anyway, we will be picking that up
again later on,

so if you want to see us endure
the most dreadful misery,

please stick with us.
But now, it's the news.

Right, listen.
I have got a photograph of

the replacement for the Ferrari 599,
here it is.

It's called the F12 Berlinetta.

It's smaller than a 599,

which is a good thing, it's also
lighter and more powerful.

It's got a 730-horsepower V12.

Wow. 730! V12? V12!

Are you not the same Mr So-Called
Jeremy Clarkson

who on this programme
but a month ago,

driving the Lamborghini Aventador,

said, "This is the last
of the V12s. From now on,

"all engines will have turbos
on them." You did say that.
I did say that.

And now how do you feel?
Foolish. I did say.

You were really unequivocal on that.
I was unequivocal, but I was wrong.

Yes. For the first time since 1974.

Now. Citroen has sent us
a picture of this.

Now this is a sporty version
of the DS4,

and I think it looks rather good.

256 horsepower
from its 1.6-litre turbo engine.

Same engine as you get in
a Mini Cooper. It's not bad.

I think that looks rather good.
I prefer this, though.

This is the, er, Renault Megane 265,
which has got...

265 - let me guess how many
horsepower that's got. Have a go.

Is it 312? No. Is it 8? No.

What is it? 265. Is it?! Yeah.

It's quite a powerful car,
and it's got a clever diff,

it has a cut chassis, it's got,
you know, stiffened springs,

all that sort of thing.

It's £26,000,
which is sort of Golf GTI money.

I think that looks brilliant.
Except for the red brake callipers.

What's wrong with
red brake callipers?

How empty and shallow
and pointless and meaningless

must your life be for you to say,
"Yes. I'd like red brake callipers"?

I've got red brake callipers on my
Fiat 500 TwinAir. They look cute!

They look great!
Why have you got them?

When I bought it, the man said,
"Would you like red brake callipers?"

And I said, "Yes, I would."
But Hammond, I was once in a pub,
and a man came up to me

and he said,
"Do you want a smack in the mouth?"

And I said no, because you can say
no! "Do you want some?" "No!"
You see?

Did you have to pay extra for them?
Yes. How much? £300.

But they look great...! How'd you
explain that to your family?!

"I'm sorry, kids, we can't go to
Countrywide for our lunch this week

"because Daddy's spent all the money
painting his brake callipers red."

Hold on a minute. What?
He said they were £300.

They won't be able to go to
Countrywide all year! Oi!

Ooh, hey, listen. Hammond and I
went to Moscow last weekend.

It wasn't a honeymoon thing. No,
more a spur-of-the-moment thing.

We weren't hand-holding
or anything like that.

There was some ice skating
going on in Red Square,

we thought we'd go
and have a look at this.

But there was...

The only gap in the fence
where you could see, Audi,

as a marketing thing, had parked
a Q3 there, so we couldn't see.

So never mind, somebody told us
about this bar, OK?

So 12th-story bar, and it overlooked
the Kremlin and Red Square
and Basil's.

We thought big picture windows,
we'll have a look.

So we went all the way over there,
climbed up the top.

Now, Hammond took a picture
of the view we had - here it is.

It was another...

You can actually see
bits of the Kremlin,

but mostly you could just see
the stupid Audi Q3.

We hadn't gone to see that!

Somebody at Audi
has obviously thought,

"All these people are going to
these places to look at things,

"so let's have them look
at our cars!"

You are not joking.

I've got a photo here of the
players' tunnel at Old Trafford.

There you go. In the way!

Giggs and Pearce there - or
whatever his name is, that ginger.

But you can't see him cos there's
an Audi in the way! Exactly.

I've got another picture
of the Grand Canyon.

These are real pictures!
It's not just cars either.

Fancy having a look at the Sydney
Opera House? Here it is.

Oh, no! You can't see it, there's...
What are they doing?!

We parked our boat in front of it!
What worries me

is how many views in the world
that they could still ruin.

Here's the Taj Mahal.

I've always fancied
seeing the Pyramids.

But you can't. There you are.

Or the scene from Basic Instinct.
There you go.

Once again, an Audi in the way
of what you actually want to see.

OK. A couple of weeks ago,
the three of us went motor-racing,

for something you'll see in next
week's show. I bring it up now

because I discovered while racing
against Hammond that he is actually
Alain Prost.

Really? You mean like
The Professor, calculating and...

No, not that, no.

What I mean is, when he has lost
the corner to a superior driver,

he tries to ram that driver
off the road.

I did not! You did! I remember
the corner. I rubbed you, at most.

You rubbed me like David Haye
rubbed that man in Germany.

That wasn't rubbing, mate! I ran
a bit... I leaned on you at most.

I ran a bit wide.
Now hang on a minute.

Because I wasn't in this race,

but I was watching it
from a grassy knoll, and...

I was! I think Hammond behaved
correctly. Thank you.

I did. There were on-board cameras
in his car,

so next week, we'll have a look
at the footage, and you'll see.

You're right,
the on-board footage will be key
to it, but I will be the steward.

I shall adjudicate.

I'm not having you judging. What?
You can't play a game of Monopoly
without cheating.

No, you can't. He did cheat
at Monopoly. I played these two
and he cheated!

We played for four hours
and you cheated! I did not cheat!

You ruined the game! You robbed
the bank! There was a...

There was a bank robbery.
You don't get those in Monopoly,

and I thought it would make it more
authentic if the bank was robbed.

You stole it! So you're a cheat,
a liar and a burglar!

If I'm going to use a judge
for this motoring incident,

I'm going to use Ofcom,
because they are wise.

Don't go there. Don't go there.
And you,

you are going to be shot
in front of your family.

Something, it turns out, you can say
on television. Oh, for God's sake!

Yeah, what you've done there, Jeremy,
is taken leg out of the bear trap,

turned round
and put your head in instead. Donk!

You're an idiot. Anyway, that is
the end of the news. Now,

matters more serious.

Back in the Second World War,
the Top Gear test track was home,

at one stage,
to a squadron of Spitfires.

And the skies above it
were a giant blue canvas on which

the brave airmen,
British and German,

could weave their feathered artistry
using contrails and phosphorous.

It must have been incredible.

Suddenly we heard
the drone of planes behind us.

Turned round and saw a line
of four fighters,

and tracer bullets
from machine guns and pom-poms
were cutting through the air.

There was beauty. There was death.
There was skill.

And then there was the soundtrack...

which today is back.

What you're listening to here
is a 46-litre BMW V12,

an engine that was originally used

to power the Heinkel He 111 bomber.

Only, as you can see here,
it's being used now to power a car.

The car they call the Brutus.

Well, when I say "car",

the chassis is actually taken
from a 1907 New York fire engine.

The chain drive from a machine
the Devil uses to rotisserie

those who displease him.

And the brakes, well, they exist

only really in the imagination
of the madman who built this thing.

A man so mad, he's going to let me

take his extraordinary creation
for a spin.

First, you pull on the fuel pumps.

These are these two buttons
above the ignition. Yep.

Then you have to pull out
this button. What's that one?

This is the decompression.
Oh, Christ, right!

And then you have to start with
the black button.

A little gas.


All the explosions are happening
on the outside of the engine.


'Almost immediately, Brutus began to
spit hot oil into my face.'

Aaah! What was that?!

'And that was
just the start of my problems.'

Oh! There's so much torque and so
little grip from the rear wheels,

that if you even go near the
throttle, you get massive wheelspin.

Look at that.
Oh, this is so complicated!

All the controls
are on the outside of the car

and the pedals
are the wrong way round.

It's like trying to do
a crossword puzzle

while you're being eaten by a tiger!

No brakes, nothing. No.

No point using the brakes,
they don't work.

Turn! Turn, you brute!

No, that's the wrong pedal!

Yes, that's the throttle,
that's good.

Basically, this is Sodom
and Gomorrah with a steering wheel.

That's what it is.

'Plainly, then, putting an aeroplane
engine in a car is idiotic.

'Or is it?'

'To the casual observer,
this looks like a '20s Bentley.

'A car that won Le Mans four times.

'A car Ettore Bugatti called
"the fastest lorry in the world". '

'But actually, it
was built last year,

'in Devon, by a man called Bob.'

He and his little team
hand-crafted the aluminium body

and the wooden frame.

The chassis is from a 1930
Rolls-Royce Phantom, and the brakes?

Well, they're big modern discs,
which are needed,

because of what's under the bonnet.

'In essence, that's
the same 27-litre V12

'that you would find
in the front of a Spitfire.'

Right. 64 litres of coolant

and 54 litres of engine oil
are now circulating and warming up.

What a thing.

Here we go.

We've got a gear there.

'It may have modern brakes
and power steering

'and an automatic gearbox,
but from behind the wheel...'

God Almighty!

'It feels about as modern
as James May's shoe-cleaning kit.'

What I'm doing now is driving.

In a modern car you just sit there
and things happen. Not in this!

Massive sensory overload
as you drive around in it.

And towering above everything
is the knowledge

that up there under that bonnet
is the engine from a Spitfire!

Putting a Spitfire engine in a car

is like putting a whole
Jolokia chilli in a boiled egg.

You're going to notice.

And you do.

You really do!

They say it has a top speed
of 160mph.

'But can it really be faster
than the insane Brutus?

'Time, I think, for a drag race.'

So. England vs Germany. Again.

Three, two, one... Scramble!

Here we go. Oh, yeah.


He's got 750 horsepower,
I've got 650.

My car weighs three tons,
his weighs 2.4.

He's got 46,000CC,

I've only got 27,000. But look!

Of course, it could be down to
the skill of the Tommy pilots.

'So what about manoeuvrability?
What about the corners?

'Well, let's cue the music
and find out.'

Ahoy! I am Robert Shaw,
and once again, Dunsfold is

echoing to the sound of
an Anglo-German dogfight.

At this precise moment

I would gladly swap my automatic
gearbox for eight Brownings.


Truth be told, this was a walkover.

The Brutus won't stop
and it won't corner.

Come on, Jerry!

Whereas the Bentley will.

Come on! Oh, yes.

This is a car
you really have to drive.

You have to take it
by the scruff of the neck.

You steer it using the throttle.

If you want to get the back end out,
there's only one way to do so,

and that's to give it a bootful
of power. There you go.

This is one of those cars
where the greatness is measured

only in the diameter

of the driver's testicles.

I love this thing. I love it!

The fact is,
the Brutus was built for fun,

to be a fairground attraction.

It's just the Germans displaying
their usual sense of humour.

The Bentley though is typically
British. It's much more serious.

It's also exquisitely finished.

The map light, for example,
is from a Lancaster bomber.

The aviator's rear-view mirror

incorporates an altimeter
and an air temperature gauge.

This isn't a toy or a fairground
attraction. It's a real car.

It even has squidgy carpets.

And it's road legal. You could,
says Devon Bob, use it every day.

If you did do that, I can imagine
there might be one or two issues.

It's very cold in here.

I'd imagine it's very hard to park
and it is quite conspicuous.

It wouldn't really work if you were,
say, a private detective.

People are going to notice you
following them.

Then there's the fuel consumption.

Realistically, it's going to do
two miles to the gallon.

Three at a pinch.

And filling the tank
would cost £420.

Plus there's the cost of buying
the thing in the first place.

It's £500,000.

The thing is though,
if you have that kind of money,

you could put it in the bank
and get half a percent interest

and wake up every morning terrified
that the bank had gone bust.

Or you could spend it
on one of these.

Frankly, that's the easiest decision
you'd ever have to make.

No, hang on.

I'm not sure it is
the easiest decision.

You know that Eagle E-Type Speedster
we had on the show last year?

Yeah? That's half a million quid
as well. So which would you have?

I'd still have this, I'm afraid.
It's very you.

It's very desirable.

I know what you mean but I think
I'd rather have the Eagle.

It's very close. That's magnificent.
Anyway, that's by the by.

Now it's time to find out how fast
both these magnificent machines
go round our track,

which of course means handing them
over to our tame racing driver.

Some say that he stores
all his shoes and his cassette tapes

on the motorway central reservation.

And that since he can easily
stay quiet for two hours,

he's wondering why
he didn't win an Oscar!

All we know is he's called
The Stig!

And they're off.

Popping and spluttering away
from the line,

fuelled by fire
and lashings of hot brimstone.

Moving at a stately pace
up to the first corner.

Brutus is sliding.

Stig actually has to look through
the steering wheel of that thing.

Not a problem since he can also
see through walls... and clothes.

OK. Coming through Chicago,
not looking fast

but still rather splendid
all the same.

So down now to the Hammerhead.
This could be interesting.

The thing we've had on the track
this week basically has pram wheels.

Both got a bit of a drift on.
Brutus is smoking.

Is Jerry hit?

No, it's just that massive engine
expressing its fury.

OK, follow-through.
A chance to really open them up.

Stig knows this sound well
from when he was a Spitfire pilot.

Look at that. There they go!

This does beg the question,
if the Bentley is capable of 160,

how long would you need
to get there?

Coming to the second to last corner.
Still going nicely.

Two cathedrals going
through that there!

And here we go across the line.

I have the times here.

The Brutus did it

in 2:02.5.

So that's down there,
second to last.

16 minutes in front of
the pedal-powered Porsche.

The Spitfire Bentley, 1:50.3.

So 10 seconds faster and amazingly
slower than Hammond's tricycle,

which is staggering. What?

Before we go on.
Is that actually a supercharger?

It's an oil cooler
made to look like a supercharger
so it looks like a Blower Bentley.

So this isn't a supercharged engine?
No, it isn't.

But a Spitfire's Merlin
was supercharged. But this isn't.

Then that's the Meteor - the same
engine but the land-based version.

Yes. The un-supercharged one.
Yes. And this obviously...

Once again, we don't have time
for your lecture

on all aeroplanes since 1941!

I'm sorry but we do have to put
a star in our reasonably priced car.

Now, my guest tonight has
a farm in the Cotswolds

where he makes cheese and yet
weirdly he's been chosen to headline

the closing concert at this year's
Olympic Games.

Ladies and gentlemen,
from Blur, Alex James!

Have a seat.

Now, first of all... I need coffee.
My heart is beating like a train.

That is absolutely terrifying.
Being on the track?

Oh, man. The Stig said just relax.

Sit in a steel cage with a crash
helmet on and drive really fast...

And relax! Easy-peasy lemon squeezy.

I wanted to begin by congratulating
you heartily

on your Lifetime Achievement Award.

Thank you very much!

At the BRITs.
It must have been something else.

Well, it was utterly magnificent
to get back together

and smash those songs out again.

Were you aware while up on stage,
banging out tunes,

that ITV had gone through
the credits

and we were watching an advert
for panty liners and the news?

Did anyone see that?
Were you watching the BRITs?

They just cut it.
How many songs did we miss?

No idea.
I was just up there rocking.

They cut you off. I wanted to
watch Blur but we couldn't.

Of course you are getting back
together because of the Olympics.

The Olympics Closing Ceremony
Celebration Concert
is its full name.

That's in Hyde Park?

Yes. It's not the Olympics.
It's sort of a people's version.

Nobody managed to get tickets
for the Olympics, have they?

Who else is playing?

We've got The Specials and New
Order. All our favourite bands.

That's going to be August 12th
and it's all sold out

and we have a new song to unveil.
You have a new song?

Yeah. I listened to it this morning.
It's like a hymn, a real tearjerker.

Fantastic. Look forward to that.

It all began, your show business
career, when you were a Scout.

It did, in a Gang Show.
I had to dress up as Big Brownie.

It was quite a big part.
It was actually very good training.

If you dressed up as a Brownie
in front of everyone,
you're not scared of Jeremy Paxman.

How was the scoutmaster?
He did film it.

He what?!
He filmed you as a Brownie?

A little bit, yeah.
I never saw the film.

Obviously after you'd been a Brownie

you did hit the show business life
hard with Blur.

Well, I think things
were different in those days.

It gives you everything you want
when you're young,

being in a kick-ass
rock 'n' roll band.

Lots of travel, lots of girls,
lots of booze.

What was that birthday party
in Mexico that I read about
in your first book?

Go to bed, kids.


Yeah, your children.

You go to bed while Daddy tells us
all about his birthday party.

Where was it? Mexico?
Yeah. Great food in Mexico.

This is like Hammerhead.
I'm looking for the exit!

How far into your career with Blur
was it

that the fans discovered
that your first love was cheese?

Oh, before... I mean...

They presented it to me
in hotel lobbies. Fans did? Yes.

It was well known. I was well known
for enjoying cheese.

In Smash Hits it said
"Alex likes cheese".

It was like the one word thing
to describe me. Cheese? Cheese.

Yeah. I mean, they threw it
at me in Japan,

where it comes in tins!

I'm not here to plug your book but
it's all Cheeses Great And Small,
yeah? Yes.

You paint this fantastic picture
of becoming a farmer,
which is what you now are.

I guess it's a love story, really.

I was very much a man of the city
and a nocturnal creature.

Then I met a girl, fell in love with
her and we got married very quickly

and thought it would be
a really good idea to buy
a farm on our honeymoon.

So we basically got married
and moved to a farm

at the exact point
that Blur disintegrated.

I very quickly realised I didn't
know very much about farming.

How's it gone? Well?
I absolutely love it.

So many musicians do end up
living on farms.

It's sort of natural habitat.

The toys are quite good.
You get a tractor.

I haven't got a tractor. I've got
a mini digger that's a Cabriolet.

It has an open cab. I had a dumper
this weekend, a three-foot dumper.

£96.25. What? For the weekend,
including VAT.

You really have got
into the whole thing.

Your car history, that's not
so brilliant, looking into it.

What are you talking about? Come on!

Tell the ladies and gentlemen
what your first car was.

It was a chocolate-brown Austin

Allegro estate!

There's another word for that
kind of brown as well.

And the first three letters
of the registration were URD

and it was known as
the Turd Machine!

And it is the best car
I have ever, ever had because...

This is going to be the longest
"because" in history.

No, because of what it gave me.

As a teenager, it's freedom, it's
romance, it's somewhere to smoke.

You're absolutely right. After Blur,
you got rid of the Allegro?

Yes. Doing world tours, you spend
so much of your time in airports.

It's hard to describe. Well, it's
easy to describe! Many hours a day.

If you're in Belgium today,
Frankfurt tomorrow,

Lucerne the day after,
it's a lot of airports.

The drummer and I
went halves on a Cessna.

You went from an Allegro to
an aeroplane? Yeah! Half a Cessna.

Sounds quite glamorous, maybe,
but it was like a flying Allegro.

It wasn't posh. It didn't even
have a GPS. It was amazing.

How do you navigate?

A longwave radio that
picks up Morse code signals.

So you can do Morse code?
Uh-huh. That's A!

Is it? Don't tell James.
You'll be here for a week.

We've established it was Allegro.

Allegro, half a Cessna. Half
a Cessna, which was like an Allegro.

After that, well, I've got a van
now, a black van. Five kids. Nice.

A van? It's a black Mercedes Viano.

It's got eight seats, which is
room for five kids and Granny.

TV screens? No, not TV screens.

I think it's really important
for children to get bored in cars.

That's how I really got into music,
listening to the top 40 in the car
on a Sunday afternoon.

But no TV screens for the kids?
Oh, deary me, no. No.

I rang you last night to see
if you were ready to come down
and do this show

and you were playing this track
on a computer game.

I couldn't get it in time. Oh, no!

I wanted to do it on the Xbox.

How did you prepare to do this,
then? I just had six cups of coffee!

Who would like to see Alex's lap?

Let's have a look.

Play the tape and here we go.

Once again, we're off.

This is how we get the groceries in,
in my house!

Actually, where are you going?

Braking, accelerating, turning in,
all manner of things.

Oh, dear. Too wide.

Bit too wide but not too bad.

Oh, nuts!

Now that is wide! Yeah, you could
catch a bus to the Apex there.

♪ I'm a superstar
waiting to explode ♪

♪ I'm a driver
Go, go, go, go explode! ♪

Second week on the trot
we've had somebody singing
their way round the Hammerhead.

Just about kept it in the lines.

Tortured tyres. Poor old Cee'd.

Come on. Let's rock, baby. Woo hoo!

Follow-through. Were you flat out
through there? Yes. Good.

Were you flat out through there?
Yes, yeah. That's hairy.

Excellent. Avoiding
the uncomfortable bump

and into the second to last corner.
Wobbly on the way in... Oh!

I'm afraid I have to explain this.
We allowed the lap this week

to be edited by ITV...

so we'll never know
what happened at the end.

So, anyway, um... I've got the time,
don't you worry about that.

Where do you think
you've come on the board?

It was wide, it was noisy,
it was... It was wide and noisy

and a lot of tyre squeal,
which indicates

the tyres are making a noise
rather than getting you going.

Yeah, I... You know,
I think, bottom half, but...

Near Bob Geldof,
that's comfortable. Al Murray.

Near Bob Geldof, that's a 1.48.
OK, well, Alex James you did it...

in 1...

45... Ooh.

Point 2, so you're way ahead

of where you thought
you were going to be!

You are, in fact...

level with Cameron Diaz.

So, just tell us...

is there going to be an album?
Tell us, tell us...

No, there's not. Just this one song
that you're going to be performing
at the Olympics?

Well, well done for that,
for the lifetime achievement award

and of course, most of all,
well done for that.

Ladies and gentlemen, Alex James.
Thank you.


earlier on, we found out
which of these...

the £30,000 Morgan three-wheeler,

the £40,000 Caterham R500,
or the £50,000 KTM X-Bow...

made the most convincing
track-day car.

Thing is, if you're going to
spend that much money on a car,

you want it to do something else.

Can they? For instance,
could you use them to go to work?

We decided to find out.

Getting to work would involve
going from London

to just south of Guildford.
It's about 40 miles.


Now, as we know, once a man
is past the age of 28,

he may not, under any circumstances,
drive through a built-up area

with the roof down
on his convertible car,

but I have no roof.
I have no choice.

And what I'm saying to onlookers is,
"Driving is my hobby,

"I'm very keen on it."

And that's a bit like a keen angler

going to work in some waders.

The difficult thing
about driving a Caterham

in slow-moving traffic like this
is not the clutch,

or the gearbox
or anything like that.

It's that you feel a...
A bit of a berk, if you're honest.

I mean, a lot of people
will be driving past

and their children will be saying,

"Daddy, why's that man's car's
windscreen fallen off?"

Morning, Jason. You all right?

Obviously, I know everybody
in Hammersmith.

I feel some people may be
making character judgements

based on the RAF roundels
and pretend bullet-holes,

scantily clad ladies
adorning my three-wheeled car.

The fact is, I'm not really
a fighter pilot,

nobody has ever shot bullets
at this car, they're just stick-on.

Ah. Speed humps, let's...
Woo-hoo! Ooh, yeah.

The front two wheels, sort of,
went either side of it,

but the middle wheel at the back...
Eurgh... puts me out a bit.


Just outside London, we met up at
a service station to compare notes.

Is this the worst trip to work
you've ever had? Not so far.

Mine's the most embarrassing.

If you were going to work today
to a factory that you owned

to lay off ALL of the staff...

my car would not be the car
to make that journey in.

Or, "I'm going to have to tell that
patient the news is not good."

Or if you were a funeral director.
No. No, no.

"I'm very sorry about your loss."

'Since we were in no hurry

'to get back on display
in the rush hour traffic,

'I decided to kill some time
with a little challenge.'

If you can start that car
with that key,

I will give you this crisp £10 note.

How long have I got?
Long as you like. Take a week.

It can't be that hard. There'll be
an immobiliser button somewhere.

So, is there a hole for this key?
Oh, yes.

Right. So, they'll have...
Let's think about this.

They'll have put it somewhere...
Does it go in there? What, like that?

I seriously want to try
and do it. Yeah. Yeah.

I think THAT'S going to have
something to do with it.

Well, it does. It says,
"Ignition on." Right. Hang on.

Stopwatch, lights...



Let's face it...
Have you got the clutch? Yes.

So, I think "mode"... No.
Could have something to do...

But that does set the ignition.

No, there's another button
in there which is ve... Yeah!

So, that button says start,
but that could be a trick.

It IS a trick. Now press "stop".

A-ha! Right.

So you press "stop" first...
Yes... and then "start"?


Oh, this is idiotic.

It's perfectly straightforward.
Ignition on,

key in, press "stop"
till there's a clonk.

Press "mode" once it says,
"Ready to race,"

then put your foot on the clutch,

then the brake FULLY down,

THEN press start, then it begins.

The "stop" being
the button to start it, is,

with the best will in the world,
a bit misleading.

And a mad starting procedure

is only one of many things wrong
with Jeremy's X-Bow.

The turning circle's just shocking.
Oh, God.

Come on!

By the time we were back on the A3,
the weather had changed.

No! No, it's raining!

It's hurting my face. It's agony.

Ow! Ow, ow, ow!

Ow and mega-ow!

Oh, God. I need a hat or some...
Oh, Jesus wept.

My right hand is completely frozen.
It's just a claw.

Also, there are holes in the floor
behind the pedals,

and all the air, and the wind,

and the rain is going up
my trouser legs.

Also, rain is running off
my jacket into my lap.

None of these things
are good news for my genitalia,

which has run away.

If you're watching, Caterham...

And windscreen!

'BBC London, 94.9...'

'And finally, the weather. It's not
looking good out there, I'm afraid,

'with a maximum temperature
of just one degree Celsius,

'and the rain is expected to get
heavier as the day goes on.'


I am going to have treble pneumonia.

There's going to be
no doubt about that.

'We were all so miserable,

'we decided that even
shopping would be preferable.'

I just hope I can still
do the seatbelts up.

What? Oh, my seat's wet.


Are you on motor-bicycles?

Are they KTM motor-bicycles?
Two of them are.

Can I just say, KTM is the stupidest
company in the world? Well said.

That is ridiculous.

Right then. Oh, wow.

Look, it's Douglas Bader-Meinhof.

Come on, then. Let's get on with it.

12 more miles of abject misery
and then I can pretend

I've never heard the words
"KTM", "cross" or "bow."

Oh... I've been coming to work
now down here for ten years.

I've never had to stop and buy
another outfit on the way,

I've never been so miserable.


OK, this is getting heavier now,
and it is becoming less pleasant.

It wouldn't make a very good
wedding car for winter weddings.

That's another thing
it wouldn't be good for.

One of the other advantages
of the traditional car windscreen

is that you can have
windscreen wipers on it. I just...

It'd be nice to be able to see.

And here we are. At work.

Frankly, I wish it was the gallows.

Oh, bloody hellfire.

The bit of your face that's exposed
has gone all funny.

It's got mud and bits of stones on
it. You know when you find a potato

that's been in the bottom of
the fridge for a while?
It's rotted your face off.

My job, from now on,
is to drive cars with roofs.

And with that, back to the studio.

Did you tell him about your claw?
Yeah, my hands. My face was a claw.

I had three claws.
Anyway, can I just say,

for around the same
sort of money as the KTM,

you could have a BMW M3,
which is a good track-day car.

It is also good
for taking you to work,

taking the kids to school,
going to the supermarket,

it has a roof, has a heater,
has a windscreen, has windows.

It is amazing that we
have reached a point

in the development
of our civilisation

where you can buy a car
that does only one thing.

Yes, I know what you mean.
My Morgan, it turns out, is brilliant

for taking one friend
to the pub on two days in June.

The Caterham is superb for blasting
around Simply Sausages...

No, no. Everywhere else
in the world, all racetracks,

they're called the Tag Heuer
or the Red Bull

but Donnington is sponsored
by Simply Sausages

and it is very good
at getting round it.

It is brilliant at Simply Sausages,

and yours is frankly peerless
at making you look like a cock.

Oh, it's brilliant. It is.
What we've got here are three cars,

they're like Swiss Army knives
where there's only one attachment,

and it's that prong for getting
a stone out of a horse's hoof.

That's all they are, and on that
bombshell, it is time to end.

Thank you for watching,
see you next week. Goodnight.

Subtitles by MemoryOnSmells