We're already hooked.
They're back! Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are finally back on our screens, although this time they're online. We have known that the legendary trio would be starting a new show called "The Grand Tour" for some time now, and we just got to see the first episode a day before it officially debuts. Amazon has pulled out all of the stops to make this the best debut episode possible. What better way to kick off a new car show than with the three greatest cars on the market today, the hypercar holy trinity?
"Top Gear" always wanted to get the Porsche 918, McLaren P1, and Ferrari LaFerrari together on one track, but "The Grand Tour" got it done in the very first episode. But that comparison comes later. Anyway, the episode's intro is one of the coolest things we have ever seen, with the guys driving three high-performance Mustangs through the desert. We are then introduced to the tent where all of the studio portions of the show will be filmed. We immediately get to see the three blokes doing what they do best, comparing three incredible cars. James May arrives late to the party with the LaFerrari. The car is often the butt of a lot of jokes because it doesn't have a registration and can not be driven on real roads.
If you love seeing shots of amazing cars sliding around corners "The Grand Tour" will not disappoint you. Like "Top Gear," there are lots of explosions and tire smoke, just the way we like it. There will be different mixes of heavy-car vs. heavy-destruction episodes as we have become accustom to. If you prefer the heavily car-based episodes this first one will make you incredibly happy. We have been looking forward to seeing which member of the holy trinity is fastest. Before the guys decide which of those three is best, we get our first look at the show's new track, which Clarkson calls "the most dangerous track...IN THE WORLD." The track is in England and features tons of "hazards."
Clarkson describes the track as being so deadly that it is even shaped like the Ebola virus. It is surrounded by an animal-filled wood, and there is even an unexploded WW2 bomb and an old lady's house because why not. Unlike the "Top Gear" airfield, this track does not have any runoff. This is where the track reviews will take place, and the very first review is a great one. Jeremy Clarkson drives the BMW M2, which he says is the best M Car that the company has ever built. We then get to see the M2 driven around the track by a racing car driver. This time around, he does in fact have a name. The motoring show's new tame racing driver is NASCAR driver Mike Skinner, and yes, he can turn right.
After the track review we learn that there will no longer be a celebrity track segment, so if you always hated that part of "Top Gear" you can rest easy. Instead we see a glimpse of a segment called "Celebrity Brain Crash." The first guest is Jeremy Renner, who you may know as Hawkeye from "The Avengers." Unfortunately, both he and the two replacement guests comically die before they make it to the tent. We aren't sure if this will be a recurring joke, but it sure was hilarious. After that rather odd segment we finally get back to seeing which of the holy trinity is best. Unfortunately, things don't get off to a flying start when the guys try to drag race.
We knew that these three cars were close in performance, and when they were drag raced together the results were almost entirely different every time depending on who got the best launch. It all came down to the timed laps. All of the cars had the same driver and the same tires. The final results were the LaFerrari at 1:54.4, the P1 at 1:55.5, and the winner, the Porsche 918 at 1:54.2. Although the bet between Hammond and Clarkson about changing his name to Jennifer was not mentioned, Clarkson did say that the other two could knock his house down if the P1 lost. It was an incredible test, but in the end the Porsche was best.
So here is the big question, was "The "Grand Tour better than "Top Gear?" The simple answer, the long answer, hell, every answer, is YES! The visuals were stunning, the cars were excellent, and the hosts were allowed to be real. The relaunched "Top Gear" felt like a shell of itself, and now we can see why. The love of cars that Clarkson, Hammond, and May all shared drove the show. We (gearheads) can all see a piece of ourselves in each of them, because they are just like us. They aren't fancy racing drivers or Ferrari collectors, just ordinary guys. We are glad to see the gang back together. The wait was well worth it. Get your Amazon Prime account and watch it immediately. Take our money, Amazon!