Top Gear (2002) s10e08 Episode Script

Vauxhall VXR8

Tonight, Compo takes me for a spin in a car from his youth, Richard tries to drive a fast car without crashing, and Lewis Hamilton faces his toughest test yet, the Suzuki Liana.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, thank you.
Hello, and welcome to the BMW M5 which is very expensive.
However, I know of a car which does all the same sort of stuff for half the price.
So that's got to be worth a look, even though it is a bit Australian.
Welcome, everyone, to the VXR8.
Like the M5, it's a spacious four-door, five-seater saloon car, with much leather, many buttons and a large boot.
Like the M5, it'll bumble about all day quietly and comfortably.
And, like the M5, it's capable, when the mood takes you, of being absolutely and completely bonkers.
This could only have come from a country that hadn't signed up to the Kyoto Treaty.
For such a big, comfortable car, it's staggeringly easy to drive very really fast.
It's got a six-liter V8.
That's 414 horsepower.
Naught to sixty? Less than five seconds.
Its top speed, if you take the limiter off, about 175.
And that's pretty quick.
And it's yours for just L35,000.
Now, for that sort of money, what you'd normally be looking at is a three-liter BMW 5 series, or a 3.
2- Liter Audi A6, or a 2.
8- Liter Mercedes E class.
They're all very nice cars, they really are, but they're not really in the same league as the big V8.
They're all lost in my six-liter shockwave.
In a simple drag race, it completely trounces them.
And we see much the same thing in the corners.
Out of the way, Germans! Thank you.
This, then, delivers M5 power games for L30,000 less.
So what exactly are you missing out on? Well, first of all, the BMW comes with a BMW badge, and that is worth its weight in myrrh.
Whereas this is being sold in Britain as a Vauxhall.
What's more, inside, it's a bit like a Currys own-brand stereo.
And of course, with such a big engine, it's not what you'd call economical.
And then there's the exterior.
With all its trinketry and Price Drop TVjewelry, it's not exactly a wallflower.
But the main reason why this is L30,000 cheaper than an M5 is simple.
It's about 30,000 times less complicated.
In an M5, there are seven different settings for the gearbox.
There are two for the differential.
You can even choose how much power you want from the engine.
It's like a Poggenpohl kitchen.
It's very hi-tech, very German, very nice.
This, though This is more like a barbie.
Honestly, I'm surprised you don't pour beer on it when you want to turn it off.
You push the middle pedal when you want it to slow down, you turn this big, circular thing in front of you to make it go round corners, and then you push the pedal on the right when you want it to make more noise.
This car, then, it's as dainty as a hobnail boot, as feminine as a burst sausage.
And I've got to say, I love it.
Erm You see, every week we get a stack of letters, and literally none of them ever asks what was the first car ever to be laid out in a way that we accept as being normal now.
- Good.
Moving on - No, no, no.
It's a very good question that's never been asked.
We have the steering wheel in front of you, the clutch on the left, the brake in the middle, the throttle pedal on the right.
You've got the gearstick there and the handbrake there, but what was the first car to be like that? No, no, James and I decided - good idea - to go down to the Beaulieu Motor Museum, and see if we could find the answer to a question that no one is asking.
Because no one cares.
This is the very first car ever made.
The Benz Patent Motorwagen from 1896.
This is Genesis.
And it's absolutely nothing like the cars we know today.
For a start, it has this tiller steering arrangement, which is exactly the sort of thing you'd find on a canal boat.
And it also only has a single front wheel, so presumably, if you were a bit too vigorous with this, the whole thing could topple over.
Performance? Not great.
It has a one-cylinder, one-liter engine, which gives a top speed of nine.
And with a 1.
5- Liter fuel tank, its range is only five miles.
Tricky when the petrol station hadn't been invented.
But it did show the world that personal motorized transportation was possible.
Three years later, the British came up with this.
The Royal Enfield.
That's not the brake! No! Its controls were hideously complicated.
But there were some good points.
This had twice the power of the Benz.
Two horsepower.
But most important of all, it had four wheels, so what they accidentally designed here is the quad bike.
One of the biggest problems with these early cars is getting them going in the first place.
The starter motor hasn't been invented yet, there's no ignition key.
You have to use the starting handle.
And the great thing about this particular car, the De Dion-Bouton, is that when you turn the handle, it will break your wrist.
- You what? - Seven members of staff at the museum have had their wrists broken by this very car.
We don't actually need to drive it.
We can just talk about it.
This is one of the first cars that sold in great numbers.
We have to know what it was like.
- You're going to have to get it going.
- Urgh! Having got it started, we needed to get it moving, and for that we had a copy of the original handbook, which had been translated from French, 'cause the car was made in France, into English.
Literally.
"For making the carriage walking at the first speed, "take back the drag of the wheel backward crowbar of the right, "and take completely and progressively the crowbar of embrayage to you, while you" "Hurl the mover till his starting.
" Argh! Aha! I can understand why this is better than going around looking at a horse's bottom, but how did anyone ever figure out how it worked? If we've established that that's the gear lever, and that's the advance thing, the ignition, and that's something important, this was designed for someone with three arms and one leg.
- It was.
- But if you need to do a hill start, you have to steer it with your chest.
Or your face.
It would be difficult.
How do I get it into top gear? "For taking the second speed, push rapidly at the crowbar forward without brutality.
"When it is raised up again it gains all its strength.
" - Yes! - Yeah! Top gear! - Now, how do I stop? - What? Well, I'm going to have to stop eventually.
This road won't go on for ever.
- "Hurl the movements" No.
- Seriously - I don't know, James.
- It's quite important.
Find it.
- You're in charge of the instructions.
- They're in gibberish! There's no point in relying on this.
I brought them as a joke for the viewer.
Oh, God, there's a "For making the carriage completely stopped, "when it goes at 15 kilometers an hour, take abruptly the crowbar of embrayage" - Right.
- No, no, wait, we haven't finished.
- You haven't got long.
Come on.
- "When you are in first speed, "push" We aren't, are we? James, we're going to be killed! I decided to use ingenuity.
- I'm using friction.
- That's neutral.
I've got neutral.
- It's my wind resistance.
Stop it! - I don't know how to do it.
- Make it stop! - I don't Right.
Ohh! So, France hadn't got it right, and nor had America.
This is the Stevens Derailleur, which has eight clutches, and what kind of dullard would think that that was brilliant? That's brilliant.
What's brilliant? This gearbox.
This is a three-speed constant mesh.
So those are constant mesh gears and it has selector forks.
But it doesn't have dog clutches.
So that's like the brake band on an automatic gearbox, in fact.
In a modern gearbox, one would always be loose on its shaft, either the input shaft or the lay shaft.
That's 1903, and that is basically what You might imagine that the first car to get everything in the right order was the first car ever to be mass-produced, the Model T Ford.
By the time it went out of production in 1927, half the cars in the world were Model Ts.
So you'd imagine that all the cars that came along afterwards would be laid out in the same way.
Luckily they weren't.
Honestly, I'm glad this didn't catch on, because driving a Model T is more complicated that doing eye surgery.
It's almost as though Henry Ford was being, I don't know, deliberately obtuse, because to make it move, you have to up the revs with the accelerator, which is here, on the steering wheel.
Then you move the handbrake to the middle, which somehow puts the car in neutral, and then depress the left pedal.
Yeah! The only problem is, to maintain this speed I have to keep my foot pressed hard down on what feels like a very, very heavy clutch pedal.
And the pain in my thigh is excruciating.
The only way round this is to change into top gear.
Now, to do that we have to go faster, push this lever, the handbrake that isn't a handbrake, all the way down, and then I can take my foot off that pedal.
Now the speed shoots up, whether you like it or not, to about forty.
And forty, on wooden wheels in a world with hardly any roads, is terrifying.
Jeremy and I were beginning to believe we'd never find the first car with what we'd now call conventional controls.
But then we stumbled on this the Cadillac Type 53, from 1916.
Look! A handbrake and a gear lever in the middle of the car, and three pedals in the right order.
And better still, no starting handle, no broken wrists.
This was the first car to come with one of these.
This may look as old-fashioned as all the other nonsense from the early days of motoring, but what we have here is the nub, the first properly modern car.
The thing is, that nobody knew when this came along that they had actually hit on what would become the template for all cars in the future.
Exactly.
This bright idea could easily have been snuffed out by the next bright idea.
No.
But what made this bright idea stick what that a British chap called Herbert Austin, who I'm sure you know, came along, copied all the ideas and put them on his car for the people, which was, of course - The Seven.
- The Seven.
Exactly.
This car cost just L125, four times less than the Cadillac.
What's more, it was built under license by BMW in Germany, and copied too by Datsun in Japan.
This car, then, the little Austin Seven, took Cadillac's bright idea, showed it to the world and made it stick.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Goffey and Tony Mason there.
No, no, thanks.
Really, thanks, lads, for wasting nine minutes of my life.
- I'll tell you something else really interesting.
- Not with a knife sticking through your neck.
- No, seriously.
During the war - Oh, God, no, not James May on the war! Please! Isn't it time you put a star in our reasonably priced car? It is time we put a star in the reasonably priced car.
My guest tonight once sang about a semi by the sea, and funnily enough, James May once had a similar experience but when a dreadnought sailed by.
Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, James Blunt! - Yes! How are you? - I'm very well.
So you've taken two years to get here.
Have a seat.
Excellent.
I'm honored that you should come down, and thank you for that.
- Thanks.
It's been a nice day out.
- Good.
Good, because you're the first guest we've ever had who can drive a tank.
Yeah.
I think you'll see in a minute that I can't drive a car, though.
Yes, but you see, your problem is that your car history's rubbish.
I mean, we have sometimes had guests on who have just had appalling car histories, but yours You've only owned, is it one car? I have, I'm afraid to say on this program of all programs, owned a Lada Riva.
I haven't finished, actually.
It was a Lada Riva SL 1300.
SL's for Slightly Luxurious.
It was racing red, or Ferrari red, whichever you choose.
- They weren't bad cars, those Lada Rivas.
- Yeah.
Actually, it did have bucket seats, and I installed an enormous great stereo in it, which, sadly, was nicked one day.
I think it's actually even more embarrassing than owning a Lada to nick the stereo from it.
Why have you never replaced it with another car? Presumably you can afford one now.
- Because I owned a motorbike after that.
- Oh, did you? - Yeah, a Moto Guzzi - I didn't know you were homosexual.
Yes, absolutely.
Most of my songs are about you.
Oh, God, no.
I've got all kinds of lyrics going through my head now.
Which bit of the army were you in? The Lifeguards, part of the Household Cavalry, so reconnaissance, and that's why we had very small tanks.
- Were they like diet tanks? - Yeah, a Scimitar.
A main battle tank's about 77 tons, and mine was about four tons.
Did you see in the paper on Wednesday the EU is saying there's got to be emissions legislation for military vehicles? - Did you see that? - I have heard about this, yeah.
We're going green in the army.
How can you worry about the pipe at the back when the pipe at the front, there's depleted uranium coming out of that one.
"Yeah, I know, but look" - We're just trying to make war a bit safer.
- Yes.
It's a good job you aren't in the army now, I have to say that.
Yeah, it's a pretty miserable time, I think, to be in the army.
They're working incredibly hard, doing a really tough job and not under great circumstances.
You know the covenant that's supposed to exist between us and them? They all say it's gone.
I was talking to one the other day, a chap called Mark who's had his leg blown off in Iraq, and he came back and all we gave him was MRSA.
- Yeah.
- And I don't think that's really fair.
- I know you're a patron for Help For Heroes.
- You are, too.
I do the same thing, because there aren't many funds for the army, particularly for equipment, but more so, even more important, for those who get injured, when they come back.
Now, you were in the army skiing team, cavalry skiing team? Yes, they sent me skiing for about three months every single year.
It's not all fun, fun, fun! No, it's hard work.
Didn't they name a chairlift after you? - I had a chairlift named after me, yeah.
- Because you spent so much time I had to crack a bottle of champagne on it and say, "I name this chairlift James Blunt.
God bless her and all who ride me.
" But you did actually have to go to Kosovo, didn't you? It wasn't all Yeah, in '99, during the war there, the bombing campaign and the peacekeeping afterwards.
- Was it very horrible? - Yeah, war's a pretty miserable place.
So was the Kosovan Albanians and the Serbs murdering each other.
'Cause you were Weren't you the first in? Across the border, yeah, and the first one to Pristina with my troop of soldiers.
Really? The very first one in? That's quite something.
- And you had your guitar on your tank.
- Strapped to the outside.
It was a precious guitar, I wanted it inside, but I was told by my superiors I had to keep the soldiers on the inside.
I wasn't allowed to strap them on the outside.
And you just made sweet music in there.
Do you inhale helium before you sing, or is that just how it comes out? - I was fed it as a child.
- Fed helium? I think if I sang and inhaled helium, it would be beyond the human ear's register, wouldn't it? - Only dogs would hear it.
- Argh, no, make him stop! You do actually take the mick out of your own songs at gigs, don't you? Well, have you heard them? Now, let's just get this.
I'm confused by this.
Genuinely, OK? Your first album sold, what, twelve million? Something like that, although my mother bought about a million, so I did have a helping hand.
- And I've got a million.
- We have a warehouse about the size of this, full of my albums.
And then the new one, All The Lost Souls, that's flying out, isn't it? So why are you voted number four in the list of the hundred most irritating things in Britain? That really pisses me off, actually.
I thought I'd at least do better than that.
You did beat traffic wardens and you beat men in flip-flops.
Well, I tell you, next year! - I'm going for the number one or two spot.
- Climb it up.
You have packed a lot into your life.
Obviously, there's the army stuff.
You had a pilot license at 16.
Do you still fly? I'm normally just in the back.
If you ever find yourself in a plane with me, you should jump.
Why did you go and learn to fly? My dad was a helicopter pilot in the Army Air Corps.
- What did he fly, Lynxes? - Yeah, Lynx, and Gazelle Scout before that.
Which they're still flying now, out in Iraq.
Exactly.
In fact, my brother-in-law, who's here tonight, has got a Scout.
He's got one or he flies one? He's got a Scout.
He flies one and he's got one.
I found him on eBay.
What, you found your brother-in-law on eBay? Or the Scout on eBay? No, what happened was, I found my sister who, again, is here tonight, crying in her flat because she couldn't get to a funeral in southern Ireland.
The planes were on strike and the ferries were out of season.
Obviously, no trains to Cork in southern Ireland, so I put my sister on eBay as "A damsel in distress needs a knight in shining armor.
What can you do?" - And this fool started bidding, amongst others.
- You put your sister on eBay? Yeah.
And anyway, he bid and bid amongst others and he won.
He had a helicopter, a Scout, so he could fly her to the funeral, and some six months ago, they got married.
- No way! - Yeah.
You put your sister on eBay and now she's married? And I have a second sister who'll be online shortly.
Starting price L5.
This is what they do in Thailand, isn't it? That's fantastic.
And then slightly portly men in Barnsley buy them.
Yes.
Er, you must have met him.
Right, now, come on.
Your lap, how was it? It was great fun.
I don't think I damaged the car too much.
- Were you frightened? - No, I really enjoyed it.
You like speed, bearing in mind the bikes and skiing.
No, I really enjoy going fast, and it was a great fun day.
I really had fun.
Stig is great.
OK, now, who'd like to see the lap? - Yes.
- OK, let's play the tape.
Good bit of axel tramp, or whatever it is in a front-wheel drive car.
Come on, you little ! Enthusiasticl Up to the one hundreds.
Here's the yellow marker.
What yellow marker? You're seeing things.
That's good.
That's very good, very neat.
And very neat again.
He's very worriedl Are you all right in there? It's absolutely terrifying.
Did you look like that in the tank? No wonder you were first in.
Now, here we go now.
At the 50, no surrender! Right.
Good, that's very nice.
There's a huge great jet over there.
No, concentrate on the track, man, not the scenery.
Now, here we go.
That was very quick through there.
Second to last corner.
Are we going to get round that properly? Yes, cutting it nicely.
Into Gambon.
Here we go.
Wowl Nicely held.
Very good.
And there we are, across the line.
Yeah.
Here are the peeps who've been round so far in the Lacetti.
Any idea where you think you might have come, bearing in mind it was jolly wet out there? The only wet ones we've had, which are the ones to matter, are Jamie Oliver, and Philip Glennister did a wet one.
- Well, yeah, close to Jamie, if I'm lucky.
- OK, well, there you are.
So you did it in one minute 48.
3 seconds.
Ladies and gentlemen, a quick time for I'll put a wet on it.
A wet.
There he is, 48.
3 there.
So, are you pleased with that? You should be, 'cause that's a wet lap.
Yeah, just above Billie Piper.
Who wouldn't want to be there? - It's been an absolute pleasure having you.
- Thank you.
I do like Back To Bedlam, and I like the new album, so thanks very much.
- Ladies and gentlemen, James Blunt.
- Thank you.
Thanks, James Blunt.
That was a good time.
Now, it's fair to say that I'm not exactly a Formula One motor racing fan.
I was sitting in the office the other day, wondering why they're paid so much just for sitting down behind a steering wheel.
I may even have said out loud, "How hard can it be?" So someone decided it might be a good idea for me to go and find out.
This is the Renault R25.
As the car that won Fernando Alonso a World Championship, it's one of the all-time F1 greats.
The R25 is also the last of the breed from the monstrous V10 era, when the cars were chucking out close to a thousand horsepower.
There's going to be no Top Gear nonsense today.
I'm not going to race it against a cheetah or a bat on a superbike.
My mission is simply to get that round a track.
Specifically, two laps around Stowe Circuit at Silverstone.
More specifically, two laps without stuffing a priceless world-championship-winning F1 car.
Now, to put all this into context, the fastest road car I've ever driven is the Bugatti Veyron, which has a power-to-weight ratio of 530 horsepower per ton.
But the power-to-weight ratio of this is 1,500 horsepower per ton.
But it's not just the numbers.
Nothing can prepare your mind, your senses, your body, your reaction times for the assault of a Formula One car.
So, before the assault, it was back to school.
My teacher would be race team boss Jonathan Lewis, and my first lesson would be in one of his little Formula Renault cars.
- It's very simple, really.
- It looks like a Formula One car to me.
Only a bit smaller and not quite as fiddly.
OK, well, it is.
It is a baby Formula car.
As a Veyron veteran, I was keen to show him what I could do.
Still, the Formula Renault only has a piddly two-liter engine from a Clio, so mastering it should be easy.
Right, I'm going to try and gas it a bit down the straight.
Argh! Gah! I've never let a complete novice go out in one of our cars before.
The Formula Renault has only one fifth the power of a F1 car, and I now realized the size of the mountain I had to climb.
First time I've ever experienced what proper brakes are.
It just hits a wall! And just as I was getting used to this car, I was shoved into its bigger brother, a World Series car with twice the power of the Formula Renault.
Mother of God! He's gone quiet.
And no wonder.
The straight-line speed I could cope with, but in the corners I just couldn't think fast enough to react.
So quick! Come on, Hammond, just trust it.
It's just so There's so much to learn.
I can't drive fast enough to get the heat in the brakes, and then there's no brakes.
I've just grappled with 500 brake horsepower in a 500-kilo car, and I'm halfway there.
I was summoned to look at the readouts from my on-board telemetry.
You're riding the brake, and you're riding the accelerator, believe it or not.
'Cause I'm doing left-foot braking.
And you've been quite severe on one of the down-shifts, and you've put 8.
5 on the motor.
If I'd done what I did on that lap in a Formula One car, what would have happened? You'd have probably spun it and wrecked the engine.
What's an engine rebuild on a Formula One car? Probably about 150, 200,000.
More.
I needed lots more time in the World Series car.
But that wasn't going to happen because my muscles were struggling to cope with the cornering forces.
My head is going to come off, and I'm not joking.
His neck'll go soon, so he needs to drive the Formula One.
Before I moved on, Yoda gave me a pep talk.
Everything you experienced in the World Series car is probably going to be more than three times as much, maybe more, in the Formula One.
My thinking time, that was my problem.
You know, I had a bit of an off.
It's because I thought I'd left it too late to brake.
Then I realized I hadn't, but because I was thinking that, the car was already round the corner and I was in the wrong gear and I span.
I can't think fast enough, more than anything else.
You're going to have to really concentrate, Richard, especially with that thing.
If you think that's hard, that's going to be another level.
My fear wasn't just about the speed.
It was about what I was going to be entrusted with.
The more time you spend with one of these things, the more otherworldly it becomes.
Let's talk about the money, 'cause we can all understand that.
The engine, L170,000.
The gearbox casing, with no gears in it, L60,000.
The wing, L20,000.
But those are all the big bits.
It's still off this planet when you get to the little bits you've got on your car at home.
So the wheel nut, there it is.
500 quid.
And then for the socket to remove it, L1,000.
And look, the mirror.
It's just that little thing.
And the steering wheel, L30,000.
And it isn't just the money, either.
This thing is not just expensive, it's quite incredibly fragile and highly strung.
So the engine, the tolerances in here are so fine that when it's cold it's effectively seized solid.
You can't start it cold.
It has to be heated up.
They do that by constantly pumping warm water round it when it's in the pits, at 80 degrees.
You can't put cold oil in, either.
It has to be warm and fed intravenously.
It's like it's on a life-support machine.
That's snug.
If you're ten, I'm doing this on your behalf.
You're in here with me.
So now I've got control of the throttle.
That's me.
Dear God, that's me revving a Formula One engine.
The eyes of the whole F1 team were upon me.
This was it.
Revs.
It had taken me a minute to do 40 feet.
Why are we going? Are we going all the way back in? Is it all off? Here's the problem with this stalling.
I know it's very funny, but the car has a system.
If you stall in F1 it's a disaster, so as you're setting off, if it thinks you haven't got enough power it cuts the clutch in again, and you just look an idiot.
- Eight.
- Eight anti-stalls? That's a record, then, innit? After the team had laughed at me and warmed the tires to make them more grippy, they sent me on my way.
Oh, God.
It feels totally different to the other car.
Totally different.
Turning left.
My God, I'm in a Formula One car.
I'm going to try the throttle and see Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Holy Mother! There's no temperature in the brakes.
In the half a lap I'd managed, the car had made a big impression.
It's absolutely the most glorious machine in the world.
Wait till you get into second.
I'm going as fast as I feel I can, and it's not fast enough to keep heating the tires, which means I've got no grip, let alone no downforce.
If I go a bit faster than that, that means there'll still be no heat in the tires and no downforce, and I'm going even faster and I will crash.
The only way from where I am now is a lot faster.
Then I'll have heat in the tires and grip, and I won't crash.
And to make things worse, the man with my telemetry was hardly a bag of laughs.
There's a big gap between when you're lifting off and braking.
You should be coming straight off the accelerator and going straight onto the brakes.
There's no need to have that big gap.
When you say a big gap, how big a gap is it? - Half a second, between you lifting off - It's not massive, is it? before you go on the brakes.
It should be straight away.
He was right, though.
If I was going to do two laps in this thing, I had to dig deep.
I've got to think about everything I've learned.
Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! That's unbelievable.
There's so much.
It's It's just going mental! There's no temperature in the brakes, they feel like they're not working.
Oh, this is like a dream.
I'd done a lap.
Just one more.
Turning in.
Oh, it's beautiful! I suspect the chief mechanic had seen better, but as far as I was concerned, driving Godl And the most scary thing in the whole world! The last corner is coming up! I'm braking.
We're turning left, I'm in second.
I'm going to nail it to the line.
God, I've done it! I've done it! I've done it! Whoo! To mark the occasion, the technicians let the engine play its party piece.
Yes! I did it! Yeah.
James, I happen to know No, no, really, I happen to know that after a while when you'd been in the Formula One car, they had to pull it in to reheat the tires, 'cause he was driving so slowly they were cooling down.
That did happen, but I experienced full throttle in a Formula One car.
Give him his due, he did use full throttle for 0.
2 seconds.
Er Anyway, it's now time to meet another guest, and this one can drive a Formula One car, even though he's only eight years old.
Ladies and gentlemen, Lewis Hamilton! Yes! Hey, how are you? - Good to see you.
- Great to see you.
Have a seat.
He's here.
He has come among us.
This is what I think you can call a friendly audience.
It is.
Thank you for the warm welcome.
- You don't have to worry - But it is cold in here.
- It is cold in here.
- I'm surprised.
- Couldn't you afford a heater? - No.
Because we have all the money.
Anyway, I want to start by offering - I guess all of us will do the same - big congratulations for an astonishing first year.
- Thank you very much.
- I have to start with that.
Genuinely amazing.
- Are you as amazed as we all are? - I am, absolutely.
Who would have thought? I'm just your average guy.
I just got an amazing opportunity to come to Formula One, and I managed to just lose the championship right at the end.
But it was an amazing year.
So when you arrived in Formula One, it was Australia, wasn't it, the first race, - are you expected to behave like a new boy? - Yeah, I think so.
I think for sure, everyone expects this is a new kid, he doesn't know what he's doing, and, you know, he's going to be a breeze to pass.
- That wasn't the case.
- It wasn't.
The first race, you overtook Eyebrow Man.
Alonso.
And the second one, you put one on Massa, didn't you? It was.
Massa and Kimi.
- Was Kimi drunk? - I don't know.
I should have asked him.
He was really on the left, this was Malaysia.
He was on the left and probably didn't imagine I would out-brake him up the inside.
Singing Sham 69 songs.
# We're going down the pub # Hurry up, Harry.
Come on, oi, oi! Who was that? That's that new boy that's gone past.
Erm We've just been watching Richard Hammond making a complete clot of himself in a Formula One car.
- Are these things hard to drive? - They are.
They're very, very hard.
When you're at high speed, doing 150, 180 miles an hour, and you're through a corner and you hit a bump, you try to correct it and the thing will shoot you off, so Are you fearless? 'Cause you've already said, "If you're going to die on a track, so be it," kind of attitude.
I don't think Well, I'm not looking to waste my life, but I've never had the problem of being scared.
You never, ever think, "What if a wheel comes off now?" - No, I've had that problem a couple of times.
- Well, quite! It is actually quite exciting when you're flying headfirst into a barrier.
The initial part.
The initial part is quite No, it is.
Especially when you hit the gravel trap and you get some air.
It's pretty cool.
But then you see it coming and you're like, "It's going to hurt.
" You do actually think it's going to hurt? I had a good one this year at the beginning of the season.
The team had worked very hard to get two brand-new cars out, and I shunted it at 180mph backwards into a wall.
I remember going over the gravel backwards, thinking, "This is gonna" and bracing myself, and I put my head back and it was actually quite a nice shunt.
Why don't you just watch Die Hard 4? That's exciting.
So, who do you want to be your teammate next year? Somebody useless, presumably.
- You want a job? - No, I can't fit in.
It'd be embarrassing.
That first race, you'd be like, "Oh, the fat bloke's gonna be useless," and history would repeat, I'd come flying past you.
- Yeah.
- Screaming.
But do you want someone Everybody presumably wants somebody crap? No.
Honestly, having someone this year that could push me all the way was wicked.
- And I learned so much from - Fernando? - He's a bloody good driver, I tell you.
- Yeah? I could have him.
I did once, on the Oxford ring road.
Honestly, he was doing, like, 80.
I came past, about 85.
No, 65 I was doing 70.
That hasn't worked, has it? No.
With your driving now Your dad's been very much a part of the build-up of your career, does he still tell you how to drive, like all dads do, if you're driving with him? Yeah, if we're on the road, he truly believes he's a better driver than me, and that if he had been given the opportunity, he would be in Formula One right now.
So what have you got, a Mercedes? Have you got one of those CLs? No.
You know what, I drive a GL500.
- Sorry, a GL420.
- Why didn't you get the 5? What? It's a diesel.
- It's It's a pimp wagon, you know.
- It's the fuel of Satan, man! You can fit 24-inch rims on it, and just lean back and drive, man.
That's all you need on the road.
What are you saying about yourself? Now, there's one thing that we've noticed.
Martin Brundle We've noticed that every time you don't do so well in a race, Brundle has talked to you.
- Talked to me.
- Have you noticed that? - I have.
- I think he's bitter.
- Yeah.
- I think he's undoing things on your car.
I believe that's what's going on.
Hit him.
No.
I mean Who'd win a fist fight, of all the British drivers? Erm Well, I used to do boxing.
I used to do karate as well, so - You're a black belt, aren't you? - Yeah.
I'm more into defending myself, so You wouldn't want to hit Coulthard, with that You'd break your wrist.
Probably break your hand, wouldn't you? - And I know Jenson doesn't like to - And there's stubble, as well.
And Oh, you know when you look at a Formula One car, obviously every gram that you can save, you save.
There is just no excess fat on it.
How come Jenson Button's allowed to have a beard? No, but seriously, 'cause that's got to weigh All the effort the designer makes and then he turns up with that face fungus.
I'd tell him to have a Well, you haven't started shaving yet, so you won't know.
- I've got a little bit growing.
- Really? Have you got pubes yet? It happens.
No, they grow.
It's ugly.
Erm, anyway, obviously, we now have to arrive at this point.
These are the Formula One people who have been here before.
Obviously, The Stig heads the board, with 1.
44.
4.
Mansell, Jenson Button, "Dill".
And then Mark Webber.
Mark Webber was the only one who came when it was wet, and I believe it's wet out there.
It's very slippery out there, and you said someone put oil on the track.
Was it Mark? Well, seriously, earlier today we had the Vauxhall VXR8 going round, which is Australian.
And the only person you're really racing is Mark Webber, who is Australian.
Now, I'm not suggesting he came down and undid the diff on the Vauxhall, but it was spewing oil all over the track, so you've got oil and water out there.
So, really, wet, that's the time you're aiming for, 1.
47.
1 I'm actually a bit nervous about this, 'cause I had some fun out there.
But I'm not here to compete.
Let's see what goes on.
- Yeah, right! - Honestly, I'm here to have fun.
- Who'd like to see the lap? - Yeah! Play the tape.
Wheel spin into second gear.
Come on.
Let's get going.
Now, let's have a look.
Were you using The Stig's line or No, that's where The Stig says it should go.
All the other F1 drivers go out wide.
That wasn't too bad.
I'd give it eight out of ten.
- Right, now, into Chicago.
- Oh, a bit sideways.
You're getting sideways on the way in, that was very nice, and super-tight round there.
- Now, what are you - Come on, man! Looks quite slow and tidy through there.
I was expecting more flamboyance.
Now, here we go.
Look at the grip, this thing will put Formula One cars to shame.
It won't.
It won't, it won't, it won't.
There we are across 0oh, you've gone for the slippery inside bit there.
And Are you taking this seriously? I've never seen anyone so lackadaisical about Whoa, that was lackadaisical but sideways.
Coming up to Gambon now, and that's pretty, pretty flamboyant.
And there we are! Across the line.
So - Quicker or slower? - What do you think? - Quicker! - Mark's a quick guy.
OK, you did it Not competitive! one minute And bearing in mind this is on a track covered in water and oil.
44.
7.
- No! Unbelievable.
There.
And that's wet and oily.
How did you do that? Seriously, I have to know.
I have to know, because everybody out there, including, I have to say, even The Stig, has to know, how did you do that? I don't know.
- Because he's done a 44.
4 - That's my time.
and, let's be honest, he knows this place like the back of his He hasn't got hands, but you know what I mean.
He knows this place extremely well.
You come down on a wet, oily track and do a 44.
7.
And you weren't even We saw you, whoo-whoo-whoo, singing.
- The car's good, you know.
- The car's crap, man! You know that.
Do you think you could go faster? Are you going to invite me back to do it on a dry day? I would absolutely love it if you'd come.
Everybody would.
- I'd love to.
- It's been such a pleasure.
I'm rooting for you next year.
I dare say everybody here is rooting for you.
Ladies and gentlemen, Lewis Hamilton! Amazing.
Astonishing.
And that, sadly, is all we've got time for.
We have to end the show.
Good night.
- No, no, no, there's more on car controls.
- Oh, God.
No, honestly, OK? Earlier on, we looked at the past and now it's time to look at the future.
Really? BMW called us up and they said they've built a car that doesn't need any controls at all.
- So how does it work? - Well, they say they'd bring it to our track and then they'd show it round, and then it would use really clever satnav to work out where it was, so it could remember all the coordinates.
- Really? - Yeah, exactly.
Really.
I mean, I had to go and have a look.
This is the most important car ever in the whole of automotive history.
Probably.
It's a four-door BMW330 saloon, and what I'm going to do now is take it for a spin.
BMW say that because this car has now learned our track, it can actually do a full-bore, smoking, pedal-to-the metal lap.
The only thing is, they say, "If you're going to do that, would you sit behind the wheel "just in case something goes wrong?" Hmm.
In case something goes wrong I can't believe I'm going to do this.
I can't believe it.
Right.
My foot is on the brake.
I'm now going to push this little button on the steering wheel, and it will set off at, erm, race speed.
Here we go.
Now Now, you see, that's uncanny.
It's revving up to 7,000rpm, changing gear.
It's turned right.
It's coming to the first corner.
Brake, please.
Brake, brake, brake! Brake! Brake! It It is! And I can't believe this! Coming up to the tires at 100kph, that's 62, as we brake to turn into Chicago.
As we steam towards the Hammerhead now, It has! There it is.
I'm not doing that.
My foot is still nowhere near the pedals.
It's turning in.
Imagine if the British had built this.
Ah, well, we didn't get it quite right.
We just missed that little bit out there.
Is it going to lift for the follow-through? We're now up to 130kph.
on an M3 if you really want to frighten yourself.
To death! Coming up to the tires, here we go.
120, 130.
This is 95 miles an hour through the tires.
Bang on! Please don't get it wrong.
Please don't get it wrong.
And it's just changed up to fourth.
Brake, brake, brake, brake, brake! Second to last corner! Come on, brake! Stig, you are sacked.
You are so sacked! It's unbelievable! Now Now, how do I stop it? Erm I forgot to ask the man how I stop it.
It's, erm I'm going to be out here for the rest of my life! How much petrol's it got in it? Three quarters of a tank.
I'm bored now!