The Grand Tour is on the hunt for a new racing driver.
Clarkson, Hammond and May’s globe-trotting Amazon car show The Grand Tour is returning for a second season next month with some major changes to the format – and they’re all for the better. Instead of pitching the studio tent in a different location around the world in every episode, studio segments will now be filmed in one UK location. Mercifully, some of the cringe-worthy comedic sections that didn’t work in the first season have also been removed, so it looks like the trio has responded to fan feedback.
Celebrity Brain Crash is being replaced with a new segment inviting celebrities to set times in an Alfa Romeo that’s been cut in half, and ‘The American’ racing driver that replaced the Stig has also been axed. The American was played by former NASCAR driver Mike Skinner, who played the part of a stereotypical American driver that mocked every car he tested.
It was mildly amusing at first, but like Celebrity Brain Crash, The American quickly outstayed his welcome. A new video featuring Clarkson, Hammond and May confirms that The American has been axed from the show. We already knew this, of course, because Skinner recently announced he won’t be returning to The Grand Tour earlier this month. But this is the first time his departure has been officially acknowledged by the show. The circumstances behind his axing aren’t known, but the video heavily implies that he was fired and wasn’t very happy with the decision. Skinner said that his character “wasn’t developed as I was told,” so we wouldn’t be surprised if there was some animosity between them.
This of course means The Grand Tour needs a replacement racing driver to put cars through their paces around the Eboladrome circuit. Both The American and the Stig were racing drivers, so it would make sense for the show’s next driver to have some racing experience as well. A new video shows former Formula One driver Mark Webber ‘auditioning’ to replace The American.
Webber's cars of choice to showcase his talent behind the wheel are a Porsche 911 GT2 RS and Mercedes AMG GT R. Webber retired from racing last year after participating in the Porsche World Endurance Championship for a few years. He also has prior experience driving for Mercedes in the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in the 1990s. Webber still represents Porsche in his retirement years though, so of course he couldn’t resist ridiculing his competitor. Let's just say he doesn't push the Mercedes to its limit. Would you be happy seeing Mark Webber act as The Grand Tour’s new racing driver?