Top Gear (2002) s10e09 Episode Script

The 24-Hour Race

Tonight we take part in our first ever motor race James tests the new Fiat 500 near some youths on bicycles, and the Ascari A10.
Just how fast is this thing? Hello.
Hello and welcome.
Thanks very much.
Thank you.
Now, last year, you may remember, we borrowed some tractors and we planted 25 acres of oilseed rape.
The idea was that we were going to harvest it, and then turn the seeds into juicy, eco-friendly petrol, full of natural, dew-picked, farm-fresh goodness.
Unfortunately, James bought the wrong seeds.
We ended up with 500 gallons of and there's no other way of saying this diesel.
would have been more useful, honestly.
We hate diesel, so we decided to burn it.
Even though the three of us have no racing experience, we entered the Britcar 24-hour race at Silverstone with a diesel car.
All we needed was a car, so we got one, and then, while James was moonlighting on his wine program, Jeremy and I went down to the Top Gear Technology Centre.
Here it is, the crucible of all our great inventions.
This is the car we bought.
It's a BMW 330d, four years old, done 45,000 miles.
We paid eleven grand for it.
And now we must turn it into a racing car, by bolting lots of racing car bits to it.
The director of the Top Gear Technology Centre, Steve, would do all the trivial jobs, like the brakes, the engine, the suspension and the electronics, while we did the big stuff.
I had to do the race seat.
Jeremy, meanwhile, had to install a long-range fuel tank.
Got a hammer? With that not done, I checked on Hammond.
Yes! The office! That feels businesslike.
- What? - Do you understand endurance racing? - Yeah.
- 24-hour race, three drivers.
Do you want to hop out? So let's just say you do the first stint, here's the driver change.
You get out, the car's been refueled, it's my turn to get in.
Yeah, it will be a bit of a squeeze for you, I grant you.
It won't be a bit of a squeeze, mate.
It will be There you go.
You're in.
Vroom vroom vroom, all the other cars, those are the noises of them.
Meanwhile, back in the Top Gear pit, Jeremy You'd have to get a saw.
Well Yeah.
Right, I'll put the seat on runners, so it'll be more boring.
Next, we needed a drinks delivery system.
Most are rubbish, so I made ours battery powered.
OK, so when you want a drink, which you will, you put that in your mouth.
- Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.
- I am squeezing it! Aha! Does that work? Well, it's not brilliant, if I'm honest.
- Oh.
- Yeah, it's flawed.
To make it look like a racing car, we needed sponsors' names.
But sadly, because of BBC rules we couldn't get real ones.
So we just sort of made some up.
Look at that! That looks like a racing car already.
- It looks like a racing car.
- It needed that, didn't it? With the car almost ready, our thoughts turned to the race itself.
You know I said, "How hard can it be?" When we started this? Yes.
If I'm honest, I think it's going to be really hard.
I'm quite glad you said that, cos it's crossed my mind.
I'm getting a bit nervous.
I don't want to win, but I want people to take us seriously.
I just think we're going to look ridiculous.
We arrived at Silverstone assuming the Britcar 24 would be an amateur event for beginners like us.
We were badly wrong.
In fact, our diesel Beemer would be up against 200 mph supercars.
The other drivers were chisel-jawed and battle-hardened.
They had blue chip sponsors, tonnes of equipment.
They'd turned up with laptops and luxury motorhomes with girls in them.
wasn't quite as professional as that.
And nor was our catering.
And nor was our car.
In fact, nothing was.
And then there was the question of us three.
You realize we are the only people in this field, the only people, with one of these on the back? I meant I did mean to ask, what is it? That means "novice".
Everybody else has done at least six races.
Worse still, Richard had never been round Silverstone.
The sum total of our experience is, you've done? I've done a charity race in a Honda Civic.
- And you've done five laps - Five laps in this.
And you've done no racing at all.
You've done some laps, but not in this.
I've done a race in a 2CV, I've never driven this and I've never, ever been round Silver We're not in good shape.
A walk down the pits didn't exactly cheer us up, either.
- We haven't got that.
- No, we haven't.
- We haven't got this.
- We haven't got that.
- We haven't got these.
- Is this a diesel? - No.
- What is it, an M3? - So this is an M3 BMW with a - It's a lot better than ours.
- Is it a diesel? - No, no.
It's a bit quicker than an M3.
- Please be nice to us.
- No.
How can we get out of it? I'm seriously thinking of sitting down before the race and drinking a bottle of vodka.
Soon, though, it was time for qualifying.
What if I have to get out of somebody's way to let them go by? I don't know.
I don't know.
This is, without any question or shadow of doubt, the scariest thing I've ever done.
- Yes.
- I've broken me zip.
That's bad? For qualifying, we had to do a minimum of three laps each, and the quickest time from our team would decide our place on the starting grid.
I went first.
Flat through Bridge.
Don't lift, don't lift, don't lift, don't lift.
I've got another M3 coming up behind me.
He's ruining my bloody lap.
What an absolute ! He ruined my lap.
The lap's gone.
Maybe Captain Slow would have better luck.
Oh, my God.
911s everywhere.
Don't be intimidated.
Just keep going.
May was back astonishingly quickly.
In fact, too quickly.
James, did you do three laps? - Two.
- Well, you haven't done a fast lap.
- I just did a fast lap.
- No, you can't do it in two.
- I'm sure I did.
- You didn't.
- All right.
- How could you not count? Hammond, meanwhile, had no idea where he was going.
This is Maggotts.
Or Becketts.
Or Vale.
Or Chapel.
We'd planned to leave Richard out there so he could learn the track, but now we had to get him in so James could go back out.
As cock-ups go, I've watched formula One since I was that high and I've never seen anybody - Forget to do a flying lap.
forget a flying lap.
Qualifying was turning into a shambles.
And when we tuned into the circuit TV, that went wrong, as well.
A chest of drawers and a table! We were a laughing stock, but we still had an ace up our sleeves our fourth driver.
Yeah, they weren't ready for thatl Can it do 24 hours straight? With The Stig at the wheel, we were in business.
- 2.
- We're not bottom! Boston Bowl, let's go down there and mock! Sadly, we couldn't.
Because this was a 24-hour race, we also had to do three practice laps at night.
- My fear's come back badly.
- My fear's come back hideously.
It's looking at you that's making me more scared.
I went first, and it turned out my fears were justified.
People are trying to get round me, there's lights everywhere.
Jeez! I don't remember anything.
This really is all you can see.
You have to aim for corners and just sort of hope they're still there.
It's terrifying.
I've got nobody to follow.
Oh, God! Then it was Jeremy's turn.
Holy cow, I can't see a thing! He tried to cure the lack of visibility with speed.
I just took Bridge Corner flat, first time out.
Oh , I'm off! People behind must be thinking, "Who is this clown?" Amazingly, The Stig went faster at night than he had in the day, and put us in an astonishing 42nd on the grid.
- Yeah! - The great! Yeah! Don't touch him.
With James' qualifying in the bag, everything looked good for the race.
But then James, this is Richard.
What's happened? Tell us.
Throttle went mad, gearbox seemed to explode, everything.
Hang on, I'm coming in.
We now had a good starting spot on the grid but nothing to start with.
That's made a mess of them.
the clutch and the flywheel.
But we never quit.
Top Gear Technology Centre, innit? While Steve set about the car, we set about our high energy supper.
- I'm not worried that it's not going to be fixed.
- Perhaps he won't fix it.
The only worry I have is that if Steve has to work through the night tonight to fix it, when we do the race tomorrow, he has to work through tomorrow night.
- That's a three day - Yeah.
I'm not bothered about that either, now I think of it.
So to summarize, the car was broken, we were all rubbish, James' zip was stuck and we'd accidentally written "Arse Biscuits" on the driver's door.
Kind of par for the course with Top Gear.
We just expected the race to be the usual affair, everything would catch fire and we'd all drown.
We were quite looking forward to it, and then we went to visit the team that qualified last.
- To laugh at.
- Yeah.
But they told us that they qualified last the year before, as well.
But by being consistent and not making any mistakes, their Golf diesel finished 13th overall.
They'd beaten M3s, 911s and even the odd Viper.
Yeah, and this gave us an idea.
We thought, if we take this seriously, maybe our BMW diesel could finish in the top ten.
We'll see how that pans out later on.
But now it's time for the news, and there isn't any.
Even if there were, we haven't got time for it, because we've got a packed program.
So we must move on, to the 1950s.
Over the past few years, many car manufacturers have been reinventing their old models from the past.
- Where you live.
- Thank you.
Volkswagen has given us the new Beetle.
BMW, of course, reinvented the Mini.
And now there's another one.
And here it is.
It's called the Fiat 500, and it's virtually a carbon copy of their legendary car from the '50s, which was called, erm the Fiat 500.
Now, the original car was small and ruthlessly simple.
You could even buy spares from your local newsagent's.
It was the last word in cheap utilitarian transport for the masses.
Now, let me say straight from the off, that this is not small, cheap, utilitarian transport for the masses.
Under this retro body, it's based on the current Fiat Panda.
I don't wish to get all bah humbug about it, but the Panda is bigger, it's more practical and it's about a grand cheaper.
So with your beige trousers on, that's the one you'd buy.
But the Panda is just a car, whereas this is a car and a fashion item.
And you'd have to say that on the style front, Fiat's done rather a good job.
I mean, everything in here wasn't on the original 500.
It's got automatic air conditioning and electric windows and buttons on the steering wheel.
But the feel of it, this pseudo-metal dash and these buttons and the big single instrument It even has a retro horn.
Prices start at L8,000, which means that although it is dearer than a Panda, it's a good three grand less than the cheapest Mini.
And although it's about six inches shorter than a Mini, it's actually more spacious inside.
But the thing about the Mini is that under its retro skin it drives brilliantly.
So the question now is, has Fiat pulled off the same trick? Well, its home turf will be the city, so we've brought it to one, Budapest in Hungary.
I've come here because a couple of years ago I raced some parkour jumpers through Liverpool in a Peugot 207, and lost.
And now some blokes have been in touch and said, "How do you fancy losing again?" The difference this time is that they're not big, tough parkour jumpers.
They're actually just scallywags on BMX bikes.
These wasters just ride around aimlessly, like those kids in the ET film.
So to borrow the phrase of the ancient philosopher Clarksonius, 4th century BC, how hard can it be? The race covers eight miles and starts in the old part of the city, Buda.
We go down the hill, across the bridge into Pest, on to the edge of the city and the giant industrial area, where we will finish in the biggest bicycle factory of the Soviet era.
Three, two, one, go! Now we're off.
I've lost sight of them already.
They're not going to last long doing that sort of thing.
the handling was classic Italian town car.
Quite a bit of body roll, but it's fine.
Just adds to the amusement value.
Leaving the old town, heading towards the bridge, and the BMX bandits were struggling to keep up.
Bloody hell.
But the bandits are made of stern stuff.
And on the snarled up bridge, I lost my lead.
But only for a moment.
Right, this is a crucial overtaking opportunity.
I know what I can do here.
Ha ha! Then we hit red lights, which I couldn't get round.
No! But they could.
Oh, come on.
Since I was losing, I got back to road testing.
You can have this car with 1.
2 or 1.
4 liter petrol engines, or you can have the engine I have here, which is the diesel, which is rubbish.
The whole point of a small Fiat is that you have a very small engine in it, powered by petrol.
You rev it and rev it and rev it until the valves come out and dance on top of the bonnet, and then you change gear.
I'd lost all sight of the bandits.
Yet again, they'd gone to ground.
Something I really like here is the rev counter in the speedometer.
One is inside the other, so the speed chases the revs up and down the dial.
It's terrific.
we enter the great Soviet industrial park, for the final stage in the race.
Bicycles Yaah! Oh, crikey! Come on, diesel! Where the hell are those people? There they are.
I can see 'em in the mirror.
But watch this.
If I'm very skillful here, I can box them in a bit.
There you are, parked on a lorry.
What? No! Dah! I can see the flag.
Oh, no, I can see them.
No! Oh, ! In Hungarian.
- You lost.
- Congratulations.
Well done.
Now go and get a proper bike.
- You get a proper car.
- Yeah, yeah.
Now, bad news.
Jeremy was summoned to the producer's office this week and told no more supercars on our test track for this series.
- Aaw! - I know.
He was most insistent.
He said we'd had too many and it was time Jeremy went and reviewed a proper family car.
So, here we go.
This is a Daihatsu Materia.
It's a small and easy to park five-door hatchback.
Now, what I thought I'd do is compare it to a rival, a competitor product of some sort.
The producer liked that idea very much, so what I've done is brought along this.
It's the Ascari A10, a carbon fiber powerhouse with a five-liter V8 from an old BMWM5 in the back.
I think it's better-looking than the Daihatsu.
And with 625 horsepower on tap, it's also much louder.
Quicker, too.
In fact, it's quicker than almost anything.
It is insanely fast.
Put your foot down and instantly you're somewhere else, very, very far away from where you were.
Naught to sixty takes 2.
8 seconds.
Flat out, you'll be doing 215 mph, and sign language for the rest of your life because you'll be deaf.
it was conceived by a Dutch billionaire and built on an industrial estate in Banbury, that it's all a bit half-cocked.
And sure, the interior is as luxurious and as well finished as an army Land Rover.
But the way this thing drives beggars belief.
It's funny, because it's not a heavy car, this.
It doesn't weigh much more than a family hatchback, but it feels like it's running on coal.
It feels like it's from the Industrial Revolution.
It feels like I should really be sitting here with a dirty face and a Davy lamp.
I just love this sequential gearbox.
It's as manly as Lawrence Dallaglio's jockstrap.
And then there's the steering, which is even better.
Because it's so good and so perfectly weighted you have the confidence to take this car by the wedding veg, and go absolutely berserk.
Whoa! It's a staggering car, this, like a Koenigsegg, only a million times more manageable.
But how does it compare to the Daihatsu Materia? Well, in a number of crucial areas, not well.
The Daihatsu has a CD autochanger, an airbag, five seats and a big boot.
The Ascari has none of these things.
You can't even understand the dashboard.
What's more, the Daihatsu is L339,000 cheaper than the A10, and much more economical.
And then there's the cornering.
It's a cold November day, but trust me, I'm sweating in here now.
No anti-lock brakes.
No traction control.
The only thing keeping this pointing in the right direction is me.
Now look at this.
Note how the Daihatsu gets round the same corner without crashing once.
And what's more, in a straight line at 85 miles an hour it'll easily overtake the Ascari when it's doing 70.
Choosing between these two, then, is not easy.
Certainly the Daihatsu is very good, but I think, on balance, I'd choose the big yellow shouty car instead.
- Ahem! - What? You were supposed to test a family car.
- I did.
- Yes, and look at this chart.
OK, the Daihatsu is considerably cheaper.
Its insurance group 8, not 20.
More doors, more seats.
Look at this, the Ascari, it doesn't even have inertia reel seat belts.
I hear what you say, but the Ascari is much faster.
And now we're going to find out exactly how fast, by handing it over to our tame racing driver.
Some say that he once lost a canoe on a beach in the northeast, and that he once did some time in a prison in Canterbury, because his teddy is called the Baby Jesus.
All we know is, he's called The Stig.
And he's off.
Nice clean start there.
But listen to that noisel It's like Victorian Manchester is trying to escape from the exhaust.
through there.
Looking remarkably tidy.
Mild drift, maybe, at the end.
cos the Ascari has no stereo.
Anyway, you wouldn't hear it over the sound of men in stovepipe hats furiously smelting.
This catches out some mid-engine cars.
But not this one.
Look at that.
Now, van Telford's supersonic steam train is offl Right, now, a chance to really open up that BMW engine.
Well, I say BMW.
Actually, it feels more like it was made by James Watt.
That is fastl This could be a seriously good time.
Just look how controlled it is through there.
Now, coming through Gambon.
Again, controlled.
And across the line.
Now Now because this has a hydraulic lifting nose, which we can see here, it is able to get over speed bumps.
And that means it is a road car, and that means it can go on our board.
But can it beat the Koenigsegg, which is a 1.
6? Well, this did it in 1.
It's the new lap record holder, the fastest car ever to go round our track.
Now, earlier on, we entered a 24-hour race at Silverstone, and thanks to The Stig, we qualified 42nd out of 59 starters.
But there were a few problems.
We had no racing experience, I'd never even driven round Silverstone and we were using a secondhand diesel BMW that we'd turned into a racing car ourselves.
And at the end of the qualifying session, it was all badly broken.
Still, we were confident that it would be fixed and ready for the off.
So, race day.
The crowds were flocking in and we were summoned to the drivers' briefing.
supervised and then you will be released.
The Stig, however, found this a bit dreary.
on the way to the penalty box or leaving the penalty box.
Neither can you stop in the refueling area on your way to the penalty box.
If you need to go to your pit or you need to go and refuel Afterwards, there was a half hour shake-down session.
And we hoped that after a whole night in the workshop our car would be fixed, so Hammond could get out there and learn the track.
But it was not to be.
We've just discovered, having replaced the turbo, the inlet manifold, the clutch and the flywheel, all last night, that now there's diesel in the sump.
Which is what, a pump or the injectors? We don't know yet.
It turned out to be the fuel pump, which was a bit embarrassing for us three.
What they're saying is, our farm-fresh, morning dew diesel has got too much methanol in it, which is eating the fuel seals and fuel's getting out.
So, how long's it going to take to fix the fuel pump? In theory, to do the job in the workshop, it's a six hour job.
- So - Six hours takes us till We miss the race.
We've got some guys picking up some special tools.
We'll probably do it in two and a half.
- Well, where are they? - Milton Keynes.
- We haven't gone to pick them up? - There's a man on the way there now.
You're talking about it's impossible to have this car running until quarter past three.
- We have to be on the grid at five to four.
- Five to four.
- If we're not, we start from the pit lane.
- Yeah.
With two hours to go, the other teams were pretty much ready.
Us, however? Whatever you do, don't go downstairs and look at the car.
It's got no front end, no lights, no radiator, no bumper, no splitter, no front of the engine, no bonnet.
That fuel pump thing is right in the bowels of the thing.
They've got the whole front off.
It's like trying to repair something in France from this end of the Channel Tunnel.
James will be exaggerating James isn't exaggerating.
And it's leaking.
I watch Formula One a lot and I've never, in the whole time I've watched it, seen a Formula One car two hours before a race looking like that.
With an hour to go, finally, some good news.
Excellent! The fuel pump is on.
Watch this.
Ready? Pop it in, and away he goes.
- Now he'll have the engine fixed in no time.
- Easy now.
I don't want that back, thanks, Steve.
You keep it.
We were cheering up.
But honestly, our secondhand repmobile was beginning to look like classic Top Gear.
Ambitious, but rubbish.
And so it turned out to be.
Steve's team had done the fastest rebuild in history, but it wasn't fast enough.
As the other cars lined up on the grid, ours was still in the garage.
We missed it.
We never made it.
Now we'd have to start from the back, and if we couldn't get it started in 30 minutes, we wouldn't be starting at all.
With just 20 minutes to go, our super-green eco-car finally coughed into life.
Nobody's going to overtake us with this coming out the back.
But then It's only running on five cylinders.
Injector six isn't working.
It could be a simple fix.
It might be horrible.
- So, how long have we got? - Three minutes.
They're on their parade lap.
When they came back round again, the flag would drop and the race would start.
We had just over two minutes.
They're going to be back.
Stig's in.
Stig's getting in.
Stig's getting in.
The Stig had to be at the end of the pit lane before the last car crossed the line.
I have never felt tension like it.
Come on, come on, come on! They're past Stowe.
That's them.
- He's done it! - That's it, we're in the race! I cannot believe that.
- Bearing in mind, no test on that car at all - No.
it's out there now for 24 hours.
- Yep.
It looked a bit smoky, but it had The Stig at the wheel, and this is what he does best.
Type Rs, Porsches, M3s, despite his diesel engine, he had the lotl Have you seen his time? He's just done a 2.
- No, I'm sorry, 2.
16! - Whoa! He's just taken another second off it.
Look how many people he's faster than already.
Every single one he's faster than.
Stig is now 13 seconds a lap quicker than the next diesel.
Having started in 59th place, we are now in 39th place.
- So he's made up 20 places in - One hour and twenty minutes.
But my worry now is that we're going too hard on it.
The Stig climbed another two places, but then James's negative waves hit home.
And hit hard.
That's not a good sign.
Did it fill with smoke? - Did it lose power? - You're wasting your breath.
It would help if we could talk to the driver and find out what actually happened.
But it's just stopped working, like a TV on standby.
We needed a tiny piece for the fuel injection system and, predictably, we didn't have it.
But mysteriously, ten minutes later, we didl This is it.
Somebody in the car park's going home on five cylinders.
The breakdown had cost us half an hour.
Because The Stig had got out of the car, the rules said he couldn't get back in again until someone else had had a go.
That meant he'd only done half his three-hour stint.
We've lost an hour and a half of Stig racing time.
Yeah, I agree, that's a shame.
But let's get on with it.
The Christian motorist was now in the hot seat.
Absolutely everything going past, but never mind.
- Really desperate for a wee now.
- Oh, man, I'm struggling.
I didn't know it would take you this long to get round.
Thank you.
Doing my best.
- Come on, that's what the Golf guys - You're a nice guy.
A few minutes later, though, something amazing happened.
I've overtaken someone! I don't want you to get all daft and giddy, OK? You just did a 2.
I'm loving this.
Things were going well.
James wasn't quite as slow as expected, and unlike the petrol cars, which needed a five-minute fuel stop every hour, our tank would last three times that.
As night began to fall, the sheer effort required for endurance racing began to tell.
James was tired out, too.
His lap times were tumbling.
Normally, I'd be on the phone to him now, being fatuous and stupid, telling him he's Captain Slow and he's got to hurry up.
The last thing you want is anyone clowning around on your headphones, on your radio.
There's so much to think about.
You know, where's the corner? Where's the other car? What gear should I be in? When do I brake? I can't think about being a TV presenter.
the inevitable happened.
Bollocks! Sorry, I'm off.
Even though the car was good for another 90 minutes, we had to rest James.
How slippery are new tires? Bleeding awful.
Good luck, mate.
Please, God, don't let me mess this up.
My nerves calmed as I realized that Steve, builder's crack or not, knew what he was doing.
Steve, you've built one hell of a car here.
It's so utterly joyous and lovely to drive.
And it's already got a personality now, just having made the start and Whoa! God, we're good on the brakes! It didn't have much straight line speed, but through the corners it was astonishing.
I even went on the offensive.
I'm coming up behind those Italians in the 1 series.
Look at this.
Neck and No, he's come across my nose! We saved you from the Germans and that's what I get! Don't wreck the car.
As the night wore on, other cars were breaking down, but the little BMWpounded on.
Thanks, mate.
And when I finished my stint, we were up to 37th place.
What a truly fantastic way of spending an evening.
As my first ever racing lap of Silverstone would be in the dark, I couldn't say the same.
No, that's Maggotts and Becketts.
This is now opening down to Abbey.
No, to the bloody straight! Christ, you've got to concentrate.
Still, even Jeremy was encouraging.
Hammond, your speed is not only good but it's consistent now, mate.
I settled down for the night shift.
And then Bollocks! Guys, I've binned it.
Will it move under its own power? I'd say it was game over.
Steve and his magicians can't get this fixed.
I'm sorry, lads.
I'm I'm sorry.
Have you found out yet, did I take somebody else off? Could you find out? You did.
It was a white Mosler.
Oh, bloody hell.
I couldn't hit anything more expensive, could I? We've got to clear this .
Right, everyone who's not involved, get back.
The wishbone was broken, the disc brake was ruined.
Two wheels were smashed, the left headlight was shattered, the door was caved in and the engine wouldn't turn over.
If the boys can mend it, and if the scrutineer says the car is safe to go out again, you may use it again, so you're not out of the race yet.
As the car was being fixed we watched the onboard footage, to see how I'd managed to hit a half million pound Mosler that was fighting for the lead.
You thought there was only one car there, cos there was just a blur of light.
It goes through, you move over, there's someone else there.
It wasn't your fault.
I thought I hit the 944 doing exactly the same thing on the straight.
This is a shot I've just organized of Richard Hammond after the crash.
- Pan round.
- A portrait.
It took nearly three hours to get the car running again, by which time we were stone dead last.
The field was now spread out, but in the next three hours, The Stig climbed eight places.
Then, when it was my turn, the fog came.
I was completely blind.
Nora! Because the visibility had slowed James to a crawl, I thought I could get away with some fog-based japery.
James, it's Jeremy.
Whoo hurghl The bad news is, your joke's just had me straight off.
Eventually the fog became so thick, the race was halted.
And when it resumed, we were in the gray light of a summer dawn, when the drivers are all a bit dopey, as James demonstrated.
It would probably be rude to point out to him that he's pulled up in next door's pit.
- This is the wrong pit.
- Never mind, it's close enough.
Next door's pit was home to the Saxondale team, who were using a diesel BMW like ours.
After the calamities, they were now our main rivals.
As Jeremy geed up the capacity crowd Do a Mexican wave.
The Stig made mincemeat of them.
But then, 20 minutes later, disaster.
The front splitter, which helps with aerodynamics, had come off.
Oh, ! And there was a monumental fuel leak.
It was down on power.
He was five seconds a lap slow.
Then the splitter fell off that we put on.
- Yeah.
- Don't tell James.
They do that.
That's a feature.
The Stig stayed at the wheel, so after the leak was fixed, he could go out again.
And even though the missing splitter was ruining the handling, nothing was going to stop him.
Right now, at this very moment, computers tell us that Stig is having a wee in the car.
And I'm next.
This speeded The Stig up even more.
OK, it's now exactly 12 o'clock, as you can see.
Four and a half hours left to run.
The Stig's work is done.
He's got us into third in class, we're the third fastest diesel, and now it's all up to Hammond, and then me.
It should feel OK.
The brakes have come off.
It's just sheared a bolt.
Nice! With the splitter coming off, the fuel leak and now this, it was clear our little Trojan was starting to fall apart.
It was also down on power, and with no front splitter, the handling wasn't great, either.
The car doesn't feel as fast as it felt last night.
Even I can tell something's wrong.
Ooh, that Aston Martin just span out in front of me.
And having been up for 30 hours, I nearly followed him.
I'm losing my concentration.
Where Oh, bollocks.
To wake myself up, I organized a little present for Jeremy.
I'm having a pee right now.
Aah! At the end of Richard's stint we were still third in class, but I knew it would be hard to stay there.
The problem is that the Saxondale one, that silver 330, the one like ours, is 30 laps behind.
We're going to lose five laps at this next pit stop.
They've got their quick driver in there, against me.
I'm telling you, in three hours' driving, they're going to be right up my back bottom.
So, this was it, the final stint.
I was tired out, I was sitting in a puddle of wee, the car was sick, and we had our main rivals bearing down on us.
Please, car, please make it to the end of this race, I beg of you.
To stay in third, Jeremy had to drive fast.
But there was a problem with that.
He's got to do two hours twenty minutes, yeah? I did that to these tires in two fifteen and they're absolutely trashed.
He's got to last two hours and twenty minutes on the same tires.
Jeremy, because there's no front splitter there's no down force at the front, and it's tearing the tires to bits.
So that we didn't need to waste time with another pit stop, Jeremy had to preserve his tires.
Unfortunately, though, this was Jeremy.
Yeah! Please don't be cross with me if that last lap was a bit quick.
If he's just done a 24, those will not last two hours, let alone two twenty.
Just to let you know, at your present pace you're going to be shredding those tires.
Sadly, he was too busy racing Team Saxondale to listen.
And I've got him! Took him on the inside at Stowe.
I mean Copse.
Jeremy, it's Richard.
I know you're busy.
Tell us about the tires.
Do they feel OK? I've got Saxondale up my trumpet.
I've got Oh, missed a gear! Whoa! God! Jeremy had destroyed the tires.
Just heard from Steve.
We have our tire expert in the pit lane.
He's looked at the other tires and says yours will last about another three minutes.
We had to get him in.
Saxondale would rack up five laps while our tires were changed.
But on fresh rubber, Jeremy could now get the hammer down.
Lap update.
Saxondale responding, 2.
Get rubbing your rosaries, boys.
Whoa, God! I just tried to take the track on the inside of the corner and it went badly wrong.
If you fall off in the last half hour of the race, there's no recovery service.
That's the end of your race.
Happily, we got some luck.
The Saxondale team had hit problems, so now all I had to do was nurse the car home.
Come on, car.
Please make it.
This has been one of the best Top Gear companions of the lot, a repmobile, transformed in ten days into a racer.
Starting to get a bit sloppy now.
We're getting a few mistakes.
Five minutes to go and for the first time, and for the first time, I felt this pee-stained David among Goliaths was actually going to finish, and finish well.
It wants to make the finishing line.
I'm just willing it on.
It's there! Y-e-e-e-e-s! You brilliant little car! God, this is just brilliant.
It's absolutely epic.