Top Gear (2002) s17e02 Episode Script

Hot Hatchbacks In Italy

Tonight, I find a bicycle in a river James annoys a dog and Richard jumps over a dyke.
Hello! Hello, good evening! Hello, everybody.
Thank you, thank you so much.
Thank you.
Now we start tonight on our track.
This is a place of screaming engines and tyre smoke.
It is a cathedral to the god of thunder and the mistress of power.
The natural home, then, for James May.
That is a selection of sporty Astons.
All of them neatly demonstrating exactly what's wrong with modern sports cars - handling.
The people who make sports cars are absolutely obsessed with it, to the exclusion of everything else, like comfort, refinement.
They just give you a racket, a load of smoke and a bad back.
That is the noise made by idiots - full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.
The reason these Astons are so unnecessarily hard core is this because of this place - the Nurburgring.
As soon as a car company comes here to develop a new model, they forget about everything else except lap times, and that is the ruination of a car.
Of course, those of you who know your Astons will be saying, "But there is a model for you - the DB9, the most grown-up and least sporty Aston of them all.
" The trouble with this, though, is, it isn't shaking my teeth out and it's not sending me into a boiling rage about handling, but it isn't really giving me the fizz, either.
I think this has now gone a bit too far the other way.
There's a slight whiff of old fart about it.
So, what I need is the comfort of the DB9 infused with some of the power of the red-hot DBS.
And it looks like my prayers may have been answered with this, the new Virage.
At first glance, it looks the same as any of the current Astons.
But take a second look and you'll see that nearly all the body panels are new, as are the front grille and the streamlined headlights.
But does it fill the gap between the DB9 and the DBS? Now, the DBS has 510 horsepower, the DB9 over there has 470, and the Virage, that has 490.
Logically, then, the Virage should be the second fastest.
I wonder how we can find that out.
Well, come on, we've got a runway and three Astons.
What do you expect us to do? Go! Taking the DB9 Only just.
It's very close.
Oh, yes, yes, yes! Yes! The car in the middle of the power range came in the middle of the race.
How about that? The Virage uses the same 6-litre V12 you'll find in the DB9 and the DBS, but, again, it's a sort of in-the-middle version.
It's tuned differently from the DBS engine.
Now it gives 85% of maximum torque it does 1,500 RPM and it will go on to 186 miles an hour! And when all this gets a bit much, you have ceramic brakes as standard.
So Phwoar.
Nice.
As for the handling - surprise, surprise - it's sharper than the DB9 but not as aggressive as a DBS.
So let's move on to the price.
The DBS is £170,000.
The DB9 is £125,000.
The new Virage is £150,000.
You see - in the middle.
So far, then, it's shaping up well, and it gets better.
This is probably the best-looking of all the Astons and it has the nicest interior.
The stitching is all done by one seamstress to keep the weave constant.
And, joy of joys, the useless Volvo sat nav of other Astons has been ditched for one that works.
However, before I can give this car a clean bill of health, I have to address the elephant in the room.
The worry is, they've made another track monster.
They've fallen for the same old trick - it's got to go round the Nurburgring, etc, etc.
So I've decided to do something radical leave the track and go for a potter round our airfield.
My idea here is to go on something a bit like a real road and see what the ride is actually like, and it will allow me to show you all the bits of the Top Gear test track that you never normally see.
That's actually our studio.
This is Nigel's garage.
He's a lovely chap.
Unfortunately, viewers, I then had to cancel the rest of the tour because, after just a few hundred yards, I was too cross to carry on.
My God, I don't believe it.
They've done it.
I've got everything turned off, I've got sport off, the firm suspension off, but it's still too jiggly.
It's been ruined by the ride.
Listen.
Rattle, rattle, bang, bang.
That is not necessary.
The Virage, then, is a missed opportunity.
It could, and should, have been a comfortable gentleman's express.
Instead, it's just another pointless bone-shaking racing car.
What? Right! Is this going to be a five-minute argument, or do you want the full half-hour? No, cos I actually agree with you.
No Oh, for God's sake! Look, the point is, Aston already make the DBS and the Vantage S for enthusiasts of the Nurburgring, but there might be somebody who wants a faster Aston but maybe has, I don't know, backache, for example! Yes, I agree with that.
Oh, shut up, man! Do you not realise this could have been that car, and it isn't, and that's a tragedy? I know.
You are such an idiot! Honestly! Anyway, we must now find out how fast it goes round our track.
Why?! Because that enables me to say some ludicrous things about our tame racing driver.
Some say that he can't eat mashed potato for religious reasons and that he recently received all of them for the final of the women's wrestling.
All we know is, he's called The Stig! And he's off.
A nice controlled start there.
And listen to that V12.
OK, coming up to the first corner.
It's a heavy car, this, but it manages to corner surprisingly flat.
Stig listening to the Bangles there, but in German.
Very off.
One lot of tyre smoke coming out of Chicago.
Coming up to Hammerhead.
Will the big engine upfront drag the nose wide? No, it is clinging on, and it is in fact Yep! It's the back that's letting go first.
Very neat on the way out, though.
OK, into Follow Through.
Really opening up the taps now.
You can hear him shift up.
Lifting it, actually, into the approach to the tyres.
That is impressive.
Just two corners left now.
Hard on those ceramic brakes.
Fat Pirelli squealing.
Just Gambon left.
Sliding it through there and across the line! He did it He did it in 1.
24.
4, so it's only half a second slower than the DBS.
Yeah.
And it would've been a much better car if it had been five seconds slower.
I agree.
Ah, you're insufferable! And now we must do the news, and we start off with news that since James drove that Virage, Aston Martin have launched a new car, and here it is.
It's called the V12 Zagato.
There it is.
James will be particularly interested in this, I think.
Will I? You will.
Because the boss of the company was quoted this week as saying, "The Nurburgring is where we sign off every new model "and there could be NO better place for the new V12 Zagato to be finally tested," said the BOSS of Aston Martin.
For crying out loud! If I'd been in Bomber Command in 1943, I would have bombed the Nurburgring every night until it was gone! Am I the only person who thinks like this? This bad back of yours - does it make you a bit crabby? It's nothing to do with my bad back.
He's got a bad back as well, but he won't agree OK! OK! Ride is important.
All right, all right! Bomb it! It was a bad policy.
Look where we are now.
We no longer have Dresden Cathedral or all that lovely pottery, but we do have the Nurburgring, and under my bombing policy, we wouldn't have cars that rode badly and you'd have a nice cathedral to look at, and better saucers! Now, have you noticed how some of the best-looking cars you can buy these days are, like, ordinary family saloons or hatchbacks or estates? I know what you mean.
Yeah.
Citroen have sent us a picture of their new DS5.
That is a good-looking ordinary, mid-size car.
It's not alone.
What's that Kia called, from a while back? The Rooney.
Not the Rooney.
Rio.
Rio.
That was an awful-looking car, but they've launched this, which is called the something-or-other.
The Optic.
Optical Optima.
Doesn't matter.
Nobody who watches Top Gear is going to buy a Kia, but if they did All Kia drivers are watching Countryfile going, "It's Adam's farm in a minute.
We're looking forward to that.
Oh, look at the little baa-lamb.
" Make a trail for what's on the other side! Countryfile's a brilliant show.
Particularly when it's cold, and Julie Bradbury's out in a T-shirt.
Leave it! Leave it! The Peugeot 508 is a good-looking car.
It is.
We've got a picture.
What makes that particularly good is that Peugeots in recent years have had the big guppy mouths on them.
Yes, that.
That is a very good impersonation of a Peugeot.
I can only impersonate a Morgan.
Can you do any other car? No, I can only do Peugeots, but I can do any Peugeot you name.
308.
Can you do that one? Yeah, hang on, that's I'll stump him.
You know the tiny one, the 1007 with electric sliding doors? Ah ahh ahh It's exactly like that.
And the Vauxhall Insignia.
I was following one the other day.
That's basically a Vectra.
Yeah, fabulous.
And the great thing is, it's got positive camber on its back wheels.
You've got positive camber and you look ridiculous.
He's right.
You have, you have.
We've followed you round every airport in the world and you lumber along with your stupid legs bending out at the knee, like that.
And it's like positive camber, and you look TERRIBLE.
It looks good, positive camber.
You look like a knackered Spitfire.
Yeah.
Spitfires are cool.
No, a leaky Triumph Spitfire.
That's assuming that's oil that's leaking out of you.
It's cos I'm set up for angling.
You're set up for?! If you could find a 100-metre track that did that, I could beat Usain Bolt, cos I could run round corners.
You've been set up for cornering? You can shut up.
You look like a car that's had its wheels nicked.
Well Now, last week, we looked at a modern-day interpretation of the E-Type, which was fantastic.
Well, now there's another one.
Here it is.
I just think that looks spectacularly good.
It starts out in life as a Jaguar XK, our modern-day car, and then a Swiss company ups the V8 engine by 100 horsepower and then they fit a - I have to say - brilliant-looking carbon fibre and aluminium body, so it's 200 kilograms lighter.
That's gorgeous.
I know.
I'm not sure I really like it.
That's cos you're odd.
But but I think there is a problem with this car because they've called it the Growler.
Yeah.
Now now, we we we Googled "growler" and we were quite surprised and a bit shocked by what it turns out to mean.
And do you know, Richard, I've forgotten what it is.
What does it mean? Can you tell the ladies and gentlemen? Well, you know those big welcome mats you might see on a girl in the '70s? That's what it is! Yeah.
Why would you name your car after THAT? Honestly, James, I don't think they knew.
I think they're sitting in Zurich, or wherever This is the first time they've realised that "growler" means THAT in England.
And they'll be sitting going, "Gott in Himmel! "Ve have accidentally named ze car after ein Fraugarten!" The car, the Growler is it based on an XK? Has it got four seats? No, you can't get in the back.
What? What?! Everybody's turned over to Countryfile.
I'm not I'm not sure they're going to sell very many of those.
No, neither do I.
There's another reason why.
It costs £670,000.
Ouch! There probably will be a trimmed-down version later, but I bet you just for the Brazilian market.
I'm sorry.
It's called a Growler.
There's a bloke at some point going to say, "I'm just going outside to wax the Growler.
" Oh, you dirty bugger! Anyway, that is the end of the news.
Yes.
Now, on Top Gear, we love hot hatchbacks.
The idea of a sporty car and a practical car all rolled into one easy-to-park box is hugely appealing.
Yes, it is, but while we all agree that hot hatchbacks are brilliant, we cannot agree on which one is best.
So the producers decided we should sort this out on a European road trip, beginning in the Italian town of Lucca, which is in Italy.
I was the first to arrive and, as you can see, my choice was superb.
This is the Citroen DS3 Racing, and it does everything a hot hatchback should.
It is bonkers to look at and, with is bonkers to drive as well.
But it still has back seats that fold down.
It's still small.
It's still relatively inexpensive.
It's Ah, it seems Mr May has arrived in a driving instructor's car! This is a Renault Clio, but it's the Cup version.
And it is, pound for pound, the most exciting car on sale.
Not my words.
Not my words.
The words of Autocar magazine.
Autocar? Yes.
The magazine that sacked you? Yes.
And I could point out that it's £16,000 and yours is, what, 23? Where's your air-con, cruise control, sat nav? You haven't got anything.
It's got air-con.
It's an optional extra.
It's an option that's been selected.
What have you got, 197 horsepower? Yeah.
204.
That's very nearly as much power as yours.
In the same way that the Egyptian army is very nearly as powerful as the American army.
Hammond arrived 'in a car from the 1950s.
' Ha-ha! Gentlemen, behold the Fiat 500 Abarth convertible.
Best hot hatch ever.
Well, apart from a couple of things.
One is, it's not very hot, and two, it's not a hatchback.
It is hot.
This has got the SS kit on.
It says 158 brake horsepower in there.
Wow! Just a couple of things.
Small.
Yes, it is.
This is enormous.
This is the Clio.
Cup.
Yes.
You've brought one of those ridiculously gaudy training shoes with springs at the back that go, "Look at me, robot shoe.
" Look at it.
This would look good on the deck of a Nimitz-class aircraft-carrier.
We're not on the deck of a Nimitz-class We're in a beautiful Italian plaza.
You know what this is? What? Juvenile.
Juvenile? James, one thing This is just a small French car.
It also has an optional extra on it.
It has air conditioning, yes.
Yes, it has something else.
Ah, yes But I didn't What this actually means in Italian is "bell end".
James, just a headline to sum up the cars.
Magnificent, ridiculous It's a bit boring, bland.
It might look boring It isn't boring because What are these cars about? They are about the sensation of driving, and this will give it to me because it's a small Renault and they're the best in the world at that.
It's about fun and experience.
It looks magnificent.
Looks?! You can put the roof back But it isn't a hatchback.
It's like turning up to do the Grand National on a cow or a hen.
It's not! 'Seeing that this was going nowhere, the producer stepped in with a challenge.
' This is a no-brainer.
A man with a thing "To see which of your cars works best in the urban environment, "you will now leave the city of Lucca.
" Is that it? Yep.
What, just drive out of a town? How hard can that be? As it turned out, very hard, because in this medieval walled city, the streets were complete maze.
Now, I think a left here.
Oh, I can't go down there.
I can't go left.
Right, but it doesn't matter too much.
I'll just go along here and then turn right.
Ah, no, there isn't a right.
It's just somebody's drive.
I HAVE to go left.
One way.
Really?! You don't say! Every single turn you make puts you in exactly the same road as the one you've just left.
Also, in any other city, the Renault and the Citroen would be considered quite small.
Cock.
But here, they were huge.
And breathe in Bloody hell.
That's a squeeze.
No, it's not going to fit.
Sorry.
Since when did the Renault Clio become an enormous car with a huge turning circle? Happily, the Fiat was small enough, but I had another problem.
This just isn't working.
The visibility in the C version with the sliding roof, with the roof back, is, you know, it's good compared to, say, having a bag on your head or being blind.
Eventually, I decided the best thing was to abandon ship.
Right, I'm leaving the car here.
I'm going to go ahead on foot.
I know I can make it on foot, find the way out, come back, pick up the car, drive out and win.
This this must be James's idea of hell.
He gets lost in a hotel.
That was a curve in that road which was essentially a right, but now I've gone to a left, so I must still be going the right way.
Driving through somebody's restaurant.
Sorry.
Sorry.
Sorry.
Hang on a minute Is this Is this the square where I started? Yes, it is.
Hang on.
That That's the wall.
That's the city wall.
I've found it! There it is! A bit of a hill.
Wasn't expecting that.
Never mind.
Er No, it's that way.
Gearbox works.
Reverse, first, both good.
Meanwhile I think that ramp may have been a bit of a mistake, because the view from here and the view over that way of trees suggests I am actually on top of the wall.
Still, could be worse.
Hi.
I recognise you! Yeah! Have you seen a Fiat, a small black and white Fiat on your travels? Nothing to see here.
Just a man driving on top of a historic monument.
Eventually, I found my car and the way back to the city wall.
That's the first time since I left that I've gone fast enough to activate the central locking.
But outside the city gates, Professor Smug was already there.
Yes, there's no missing it, is there? A man standing next to a child's training shoe.
Did you see Lord Lucan? No.
Oh, he's there.
Shergar.
They're all in there.
'Even though James wasn't with us, another challenge then turned up.
' Right.
"You will now drive to the town of Canelli, "which is 170 miles away, near Alba.
"En route, you must collect the following items.
"A branch of a cedar tree, ice-cubes, a photo of as many people as you can getting into your car, "a CD from a service station - but you may not get out of your car to get it "a bicycle, a vine and a dog.
" A dog?! A vine? A bicycle? Whereabouts on the Riviera are you going to find? And a branch of a cedar tree Oi! May! Yeah? What are you doing up there? I can't find the way down.
After the idiot explained his predicament, we filled him in on our new challenge.
Dog?! That's what I said, "A dog"! What's the point of that? It's to see how practical the car is.
Well, off you go, then.
So we did.
Autostrada, here we go.
And as we headed north, we fell even more in love with our cars.
If you have a big BMW or Mercedes, it's like an expensive suit, so it has to be a sober colour - silver, black, grey.
But if you have a hot hatch, it's like a T-shirt.
It can be anything you want - have writing on it, it can be orange, anything.
That's why the DS3 Racing is so brilliant, cos they've just taken the idea of fun and gone mad with it.
Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Fizzy little car.
Just setting the cruise control, Hammond.
Are you able to do that? Sorry, it's a bit windy in here.
I'm just going to close my roof.
Have you closed yours already? Oh, you can't open it! In all fairness, the Fiat and the Citroen are very similarly equipped.
There are more things on the Citroen, but this has everything you need.
Operate the stereo from the steering wheel, electric windows, electric roof that opens.
Ha-ha! Meanwhile, very far behind, Captain Sense Of Direction had finally found a way out of Lucca.
Bursting out into the sunlight now.
I don't doubt that the others will be bleating on about how they have sat nav or leather upholstery, or whatever.
But that's not the point.
Renault has concentrated on the things that make this a hot hatch rather than just a hatchback.
They know your money goes on the engine, this lovely steering wheel, this fabulous gear change.
You get a dull interior.
It is very boring, very basic.
But I want this car to drive.
Soon, we were in the hills and ready to start our challenge.
A bicycle, dog.
What else have we got? Ice cube.
Get that near the end or it'll melt.
I'm going to pull in the here and attempt to buy a CD without getting out of the car.
Branch of a cedar tree A vine.
To make life harder, the producers hadn't given us any money to buy things.
Fortunately, production has supplied me with some potential bartering items.
I have a CD here of Robson & Jerome's love songs, and I've also got this one, the A Cockney Christmas with Chas & Dave.
Do you speak English? A little bit.
Um I may not get out of the car.
Chas & Dave - molto popolare Inglese um I don't understand.
Can you go really far? Really far.
Good, good, good.
There's three in the front rightaway.
OK, let's go.
Suspension's gone down a bit.
That's ten.
In we go.
Oh, thank you, madam, for helping.
Right, I reckon we'll get another four in the front.
Oh, cyclist! You'll be thin.
Skinny as a stick.
Yes! Scusi, signora.
It's his bottom.
You've got his bottom in your face there.
It's the 13th.
That is 13 people in a Citroen DS3 Racing.
Beat that, Hammond.
Beat that, May.
Oh, that is magnificent.
That's for Italy.
If I just do one for Italy, for Fiat.
Ya-ha! We're all excited.
Er Chas & Dave? Robson e Jerome? Molto bene.
Since we had to be at the finishing point by six and there were bonus points for getting there first, it became a very busy afternoon.
Yes, that's a vineyard.
No, the CD, OK? In the shop? Um, I'm a scientist and I'm investigating the possible medicinal healing qualities of vines.
Now, I am able to offer you in part exchange this commemorative plate.
This! The swap.
OK For a vine Si.
I can give you molto valuable Wills and Kate souvenir wedding bell.
Ah, OK.
That is a good stereo.
Can I just clarify, I'm not looking for bicycles to steal.
Anyway, there's a policeman there.
But it's a policeman on a bicycle.
There you go.
Off-roading.
Oh! Is that a cedar tree? Citroen - pfff! Renault - ha! Fiat Fiat.
Ha! Better.
Very, very good, Fiat.
Yes, exactly.
To show very good - bicycle in it.
It's a police bike in a Fiat, it's just better! Hang on.
I'm so hot.
How am I going to get a bicycle in here as well? Grazie.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
You don't have police dogs, do you? Eh? No, never mind.
Oh, God! It smells terrible.
There were now just 20 minutes left in which to scavenge our remaining items.
I've got to get a cube of ice.
Not difficult.
A dog How do you scavenge a dog? Come on.
Come on.
Right, the final thing, ice.
Thank you so much for doing this.
You are so kind.
Tres gentil.
Could you just stay here? I have to get an ice cube.
Uno minuto.
OK.
Really got to hurry now.
It's melting.
Come on.
Quicker, little Citroen.
Have you ever been in a car with a tree growing out of the back, Theo? Probably not.
James, too, had found a dog, but sadly his speed was limited by his ice-cube transportation system.
Which meant there was plenty of time for conversation.
I like dogs and cats.
I've just got a wet seat.
That doesn't count.
There's one left.
Sorry about the noise.
It's the tree dragging on the road.
My ice cube is melting.
It's very pretty here, isn't it? Now, come on.
Don't melt.
Coming through.
Huh? Oh, it's there.
THUD! Ooh, sorry, sorry, sorry.
Oh, no! Er, that's OK, yes.
That's an actual person.
Yes, yes.
First of all, well done, Hammond.
Well done, well done.
That's ice, as is that.
As is that.
Yes, it is.
Where's your dog? It's not a dog.
Yes, it is.
What this is, it's an acrylic fur stuffed with industrial waste.
That's no way to talk about a dog.
Yes, it is.
Do you think this is a dog, dog? Look at that.
That's proof enough for me! You can have that, little friend.
James arrived just as the last of his ice cubes melted.
Good evening.
Good evening.
This is Francesca.
Hello, Francesca.
Francesca, this is Jeremy and Richard.
Let me guess.
Christ, has he made you pregnant? No.
No.
You work fast, mate.
Thank you.
We'll pick that up We'll pick that up later on, but now it's time to put a star in our reasonably priced car.
My guest tonight is a comedian who spends his weekends with other men dressed in leather.
He's part of a minority group called motorcyclists.
Ladies and gentlemen, Ross Noble.
Good to see you, mate.
How are you? I'm very well.
Ross Noble, have a seat.
Thank you very much.
Thanks.
I just Yeah, I just wanted to check because I didn't realise that you actually have a lady wrangler.
You have somebody that just finds all the good-looking women and pokes them with a stick.
"Get to the front, get to the front!" There's blokes in the middle that literally come to this show so that when the ladies move through they just stand there.
"Mmm.
" I must move on, if we may.
OK.
I've got a list here of your bikes that you currently own.
Right? Yeah.
Triumph Scrambler, BMW 450, KTM 250, Gas Gas 250 and a 1974 Norton Commando.
Why would you have so many, cos they're all the same? That's quite funny, cos since your researcher talked to me about that, I've bought another one, just to annoy you! Make bikes live for us.
I don't understand.
They've no styling.
Why are they different? To me, a car is a big box of metal with somebody sitting inside it.
A bike, it's like you're part of the bike.
You move on a bike and you look where you want to go and the bike goes.
You see what I mean? You can move around on it.
But do you not get? Granted, granted, you can't have a sandwich while you're doing it but I'm working on that.
I'm going to go on Dragons' Den with some sort of sandwich spring that I can ride along and go I can tell you don't like cars cos I've got a list of your past car history.
MG Metro, Cavalier.
All these cars met with terrible ends, didn't they, largely? Yes.
I have no What I like about a bike is, if you get it wrong, you die.
You see what I mean? What's good about that, it sort of keeps me on my toes.
Whereas with a car I've got this Land Rover, I had a couple of tractors as well cos we still live in the country.
My wife had You know those big round bales of hay? She said, "Can you move that into the bottom field?" "Yeah, easy enough.
" I tried pushing it.
A bit tricky, so I thought, "What I'll do "is gently nudge it with a car, the Land Rover.
They're built for it.
" So I went Crunch! And nothing happened.
I thought, "I'm going to have to go faster.
" So I floored it into this bale of hay.
I went, "Here we go," and it went "bang"! Instead of pushing it, the car mounted the bale of hay so it just looked like the Land Rover was humping the bale of hay.
Then the second one I wrote off.
I lived on It was old gravel roads and I forgot I wasn't Colin McRae.
The back of the car started to sort of overtake me a bit and I thought, "That can't be good.
" As it came round, the car went up on two wheels and then it went onto its side and I started sliding down this hill.
My wife's lip balm hit me in the face.
There was crap everywhere and dust.
The sat-nav just went, "Off route, recalculating.
" I had to crawl out the back.
Was that in Australia? Yes, it was.
You were unlucky in Australia cos you got caught up in those awful fires, round Melbourne way, wasn't it, in 2009? That's right.
We heard about them on the news here, these bush fires, but these were beyond belief.
Beyond anything you could possibly imagine.
Literally, it torched There was nothing left.
Our house was We had an oven, like one of these wood-burning stove things.
You can heat them up to 2,000 degrees, and that had smashed and melted on the top.
That gives you an idea.
How fast do those fires move? Normally a fire goes I think it's a metre a minute and these things just, you know There were people trying to outrun it and couldn't do it in cars.
So how did you get out? I wasn't there, luckily.
Were the family there? Yeah, my wife was driving along with the flames behind her.
Yeah.
How fast did she have to go? I don't think she was looking at the speedo, to be honest! She absolutely was? Yeah, there were flames behind her and it was all coming down.
They were horrible and I don't think we really realise in this country how horrible.
Yeah, it was something like that was the area of destruction.
So you've come back to live in England now? I have.
Down in Kent.
Have you bought some land there? I have.
Is it the country living? Organic farming? Oh, yeah.
It's all organic, the whole lot.
Cheese-making.
Not really.
What have you done with your paddock? I have bought 150 traffic cones off the internet and turned it into a motorcycle racing track.
Which the neighbour's not too happy about, to be honest.
Does he overlook your paddock? He does when he stands on a ladder and shakes his I shouldn't be saying this on the telly.
It's a bit of a But, no.
I mean, I love getting out there and I've got tractors, I've got earth-moving equipment.
Oh! And also, I bought a tank.
What sort of tank is yours? Mine is an Abbot 433.
That's a self-propelled gun, though, isn't it? Listen to you! Military purists would say that's self-propelled artillery.
It looks like a tank.
But when it comes up behind you down the shops This is the thing.
It was one of the best days of my life, actually.
When I got the tank delivered - cos it's massive and the guy brings it on a low-loader thing.
He turns up and says, "There's no way that's going to go up the country lanes.
"We're going to have to get the tank off and drive it to your house.
" The tank is there, my car is here, and this is possibly the greatest motoring experience of my life.
I'm driving along, in me Hilux.
I come through.
There are two hedges either side and I drive halfway through and the tank is trying to keep up.
He's going as fast as he can.
I stop and a little old fellow comes round the corner.
Now I've gone further down the narrow bit than he has and he stopped.
And I went, "Go back.
" And he went, "No.
" You know when you just think, "I couldn't have set this up better.
" I went, "Go back", and he went, "No.
" I went And the gun appeared and the guy went, "Oh, bloody hell!" Murray Mints flying all over.
Are you actually allowed to drive it on the road? Not only are you allowed to drive it on the road, it's congestion-charge exempt.
How good is that?! Oh, I love that.
This is great.
I have to say, the lap Yes.
We've heard about your car history.
It's shocking.
So did you crash? Today? Yeah.
Yep.
Does anybody want to see the clip of the first attempt? Yes! Let's have a look.
Here we are, coming after the second to last corner.
Here's Gambon.
Cutting the corner can help! Who would like to see the actual lap? Yes! OK, let's play the tape.
That's good.
And It looks like them Duke boys dumped themselves in a whole heap of trouble.
Right, there we go, first corner.
Tortured tyres.
Squealing like a pig, boy! Squeal like a pig.
Alice Cooper was talking about pigs.
Drive it like you've stolen it.
That's a wide line.
Oh! Ooh! Some valves coming out of the bonnet now as we turn into the Hammerhead, keeping it nicely between the lines.
That looks very fast.
You've gone into a trance.
Flat out Flat out through here.
There we go.
Woo-hoo! Best to keep your eyes open on that bit.
Well, you know.
Let's have a look.
This is That was absolute bang on.
And cutting it again or have we learned our lesson? No? I say, gosh! That is very good.
That was a good couple of last corners there.
These are the times.
Where do you think? Who's another biker on there? Eh Bill Bailey.
Is he a biker? No.
Do you really want to see Bill on a bike? Eh Um Oh No, I don't, actually.
I tell you what, Tom Cruise is a biker.
Oh, yeah.
All right, I'll be one ahead of Tom Cruise then.
Just put me out of my misery.
One Right.
Tom Cruise is 1.
44.
2.
Oh, stop it! You're 1.
43 Whoo! Ladies and gentlemen, the second fastest man we've ever had! Ross Noble! Thank you very much.
Bloody hell! Yeah.
I have to say, it's those last two corners.
They were absolutely perfect.
Aw, look, I was beaten by another Northern comic.
The Northern comics are the fastest people in the world, as it turns out.
Yeah.
Do you know how quickly we get home from our gigs? Ladies and gentlemen, nearly a record-breaker, all-round good guy, Ross Noble.
Thank you.
Now, tonight we are reviewing the boring Renault Clio Cup It's not boring.
Yes, it is.
.
.
the childish Citroen DS3 Racing and the excellent Fiat 500 Abarth.
So far we've found out what they're like in town, what they're like at being hatchbacks, but now it's time to find out what they're like when you put your foot down.
The producers told us to leave our overnight halt, here in the foothills of the Italian Alps, and drive to Monaco down here.
Right, at last.
A chance to drive this little thing.
Steering just feels fabulous.
Oh! A little crackle and bang on the overrun.
Oh, yes, this thing grips.
The grip is helped, no doubt, by being short and fat, so it's square on the road.
Oh! I don't think I'd change anything about this.
In a straight line, this is by far the fastest of the three.
The funny thing is, even though it's called "the Racing" and it was designed by Citroen's motorsport division, it doesn't actually feel like a racing car or a rally car.
It feels soft, it feels very Citroeny, quiet.
And then there's the steering.
There's no feel to it at all.
You sort of have to guess how much lock to put in for each corner.
Is it this much? No, more.
Here's a fact.
Hammond has a 1.
4 litre turbocharged engine, Jeremy has a 1.
6 litre turbocharged engine.
I have two litres, no turbocharger, and that's important because there's no lag.
There you go.
Through the bend, there's the power.
The trouble was, though, it wasn't actually getting me anywhere.
Hammond's little boot thing takes off like a rocket.
He's getting away! The problem with that Renault is, brilliant though the suspension is and so on, it weighs more than the QE2 and you can see that coming out of the corners.
It doesn't get going.
Though that could have something to do with its driver.
An interesting old bell tower over there.
Eventually we reached the Riviera.
There's the Mediterranean, glistening blue, which is amazing considering how many turds there are in it.
As we approached Monte Carlo, I heard a familiar sound.
Chaps I think the Grand Prix is on.
Oh, my God, I think, down there Which Grand Prix? Have either of you two ever watched the Monaco Grand Prix? I think I watched it in the early '80s.
That's the one in the town, right? Never has anyone had to work with such imbeciles.
In the hills above Monaco, we were told to pull over for a challenge.
I love that sound.
"Tomorrow, you will do three laps of the Monaco Grand Prix track.
"Whoever posts the fastest time wins.
" The Monaco Grand Prix track? I'm going to drive around That?! My hair is just Seriously, that is just the boyhood dream! Hang on, if we've got to do hot laps of the actual That puts you at a bit of an advantage.
Not really.
I've never actually driven round it when it's a racetrack.
I don't know the fastest line through Rascasse! I don't know what Rascasse is! I don't know where it goes.
You know how difficult I find it remembering a track.
Am I going to get a go round? Can I look at a picture of it? I don't know! Exactly! I'll be driving around a foreign town.
When the Grand Prix practice was over, we went in search of some F1 drivers so we could get some tips.
And immediately, I found David Coulthard.
And the key here is speed up the hill, not speed into St Devote.
Concentrate on really getting that car turned, early on the power, because what you gain here, if you get on the power two metres early, you'll add five kilometres an hour to your top speed.
So there is a noticeable crest there? Yes.
You'll see as you're coming over the crest.
You've got a lot of grippy tarmac there.
On the apex? On the apex.
Meanwhile, down in the harbour, my colleagues had been rather distracted by all the parties.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Oh! Look confident.
Look like you do this all the time.
Grab that woman with the things on sticks.
What? Where would you try in a road car to go by? A good run through the tunnel and then on the brakes.
The left-right? So, over the crest, then as soon as you see his brake lights come on, count and you're in.
And then go on the left, stay left? Yeah.
We're doing a bit of driving around the track, you know, analysing some of the corners.
So, if you live in Monaco, do you drive around where the track is? All the time.
Good.
What hints have you got for me? I've got to drive around it tomorrow Use the kerbs at four and five.
It gives more grip.
Four and five? Yeah.
And at Rascasse, I can take a lot of entry speed into that Yeah.
.
.
and then use the front-wheel drive to wash it off? Well, it's very much a party sort of place.
It has very elegant properties.
It's like Monaco in many ways, actually.
Have you ever been to Hammersmith? At the end of the evening, we met up to compare notes.
Have you found anything about the track out? Yes, I have.
It's just over there, there's all these boats, and it's really busy.
Have you talked to a single racing driver? Yes, we have.
Who? A very nice man called Tim O'Glock.
An Irishman Timo Glock! Timo Glock, yes.
The next morning, the producers decided that because the track has no run-off areas, and is very dangerous, none of us could drive around it unless we had a bit of tuition first.
Richard's tutor was Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
I got former Renault boss Flavio Briatore.
And Jeremy was given an elderly gentleman.
Bernie Ecclestone.
Bernie Ecclestone, as I live and breathe! How are you this morning? Good.
Michel! Bernie? Listen, we need these other two cars disqualified, huh? No problem, no problem! It was time to begin.
There's a flag waving.
Oh, we're off.
Try and hook a right here.
We have to stay left, I reckon.
No, you have to go there.
Bernie, you old cheat! We gained a bit! We gained a lot! Let's go over to the right a bit, shall we? And then What was that lift, what was that lift?! I didn't need to lift there, did I? No! I have to slow a bit.
Further.
Go down with the gears.
Jesus Christ! That's a tight right.
Brake, brake, brake.
What are you doing? Brake.
Oh, my God! There are actually people watching as well.
What do they expect, I wonder.
They expect an accident.
You lifted it! I'm terrified! I don't know what's going to happen! Oh, God! It's secondo for this one.
Just brake, Jesus Christ.
Be careful now, huh? Yep.
Left, right It's too complicated, this.
Get the kerb on the left.
You missed it.
Get the curb on the right.
You missed it.
Try and get this kerb.
Christ, we missed that one as well! Now, Rascasse.
Brake now.
Oh, really late? Accelerate now.
Tuition over, we ditched the teachers That was good.
Come on, that was good! Jesus Christ.
.
.
and set off on our warm-up lap.
I am out of my depth to a degree I've never before experienced.
The crowds were beside themselves as we started our first lap.
Here we go.
OK.
Now, this creeps up on you.
Whoa! I'm struggling, I'm struggling! Come on, Rich! Wait till you can see the Armco before braking.
That's now.
- Flavio corner.
- Jesus Christ-ah! I caught them up.
Well late going in there.
Get in, get in.
It is simply terrifying.
You just have no I mean, look - fine, dead.
Oh, dear God.
That's Hammond dealt with in the tunnel.
Now, James will not know where he's going.
OK, now we come down to the chicane, I think.
Or is it Raser-ma-casse-er-ma-casse? Jezzer's going to have me here, I can feel it coming.
Under-braking.
Get the grip from the zebra.
Got him.
Get this kerb.
Ooh, this is risky.
I don't know the way! Hammond, you bugger.
Oh, God almighty! I may have cocked that up a bit.
We now had just one lap left.
It had to be a fast one.
My last ever lap of the Monaco Grand Prix track.
Don't mess this corner up again, Jeremy.
Whoa! Just leave it in third.
Change into second.
That was better.
Careful, the barrier! It comes out-ah.
Get it in now.
Flat, flat, flat! Oh! Aargh! He's getting away! My mighty Fiat roaring in the tunnel at Monaco! Topless women.
Mustn't look.
I can see why racing drivers love this track.
You are just on it.
Don't Oh, God, strewth.
I think this is it.
Come on, everything you can.
Oh, my God! What an extraordinary day! I have to say, that's pretty special.
What a fantastic moment.
Thank you, Bernie.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you so much! That was amazing.
It was.
I really do mean that.
I really do mean that.
I've never had a day I've enjoyed more, working, than that.
It was amazing.
I'm not exactly steeped in F1 folklore, but still, that was the most amazing track driving experience I've ever had.
And I've always thought the Monaco track worked because of where it was, the harbour and the palace.
But you could pick it up and put it in a field in Lancashire, and it would still be a fantastic thing to drive around.
Yeah, absolutely.
It would certainly be better than the Nurburgring, wouldn't it? It is now time to work out which of these cars is best.
We begin with the getting out of Lucca challenge.
Jeremy, I believe you arrived first.
Yeah.
So you get ten points.
Good.
Hammond, you were second, so you get five points.
And I, of course, was last so I only get two points.
However, the producers have said that any man who loses his car in the city is actually disqualified.
So, Hammond, I'm afraid you've got nought.
Oh, I can see where this is going already.
Nought for that.
Now, the scavenger hunt er, Hammond, you finished first, so you get ten points.
I was second so I get five.
James, you were last so you get two.
However, because your ice cube had melted, I'm afraid you lose a point for that so you actually only get one.
Oh, dear.
Interestingly enough, Hammond, the producers said that because your dog wasn't real, that is minus two points.
Minus two? Yes.
And also because your cedar tree turned out to be a larch, that's another minus two.
Yeah, and finally, you didn't get a CD.
So that's minus Oh, let me guess! Is it six? Yes, it is! Is it? Is it really? So, six and two Is nought.
Yes, it is.
Nought for that.
People in the car - James, you got 12.
I got 13 in the Citroen.
And you got nought.
I got 14 for that.
What? I got 14! No, the producers have said that because your people weren't actually in your convertible, there were sort of on it, you were disqualified, so They were in it! Oh, for God's sake.
Nought.
Now, the big one, the lap times.
Hammond I did it in the Fiat in two minutes 20 seconds.
Ooh, two minutes 21.
Close.
This is tricky.
Well, I've got to look pleased now, haven't I, without being smug? You're not pulling that off.
Two minutes 15.
Oh, God.
So, I get ten points.
Do you? Er, wait a minute, you get Well, it can't be nought this time, can it? I finished! You get five, and you get I'm afraid last again, so that's another two.
OK, so, let's tot up the totals.
Jeremy, you have 38.
Excellent.
The Citroen has won.
I've got 17, and Hammond, I'm afraid you have five.
Five.
No, you see, he doesn't.
Really? No, because the producer said it was a test of hot hatchbacks, and you must have a points deduction for turning up in a car that wasn't a hatchback.
Really? How many points does he lose for that? It's five.
Is it really?! So, I get nought again.
Yes.
And on that bombshell, it's time to end.
Thank you very much for watching.
Good night!