Top Gear Australia hosts

The new faces of Top Gear Australia (L-R): Steve Pizzati, Shane Jacobson and Ewen Page

Top Gear Australia’s third season is set to premiere on Australian TV tonight, and the show has undergone a considerable facelift following the Nine Network’s purchase of the rights to the show from SBS.

For the third season, Steve Pizzati has been retained, while in come new hosts, comedian Shane Jacobson and Ewen Page, the editor-in-chief for Top Gear Australia magazine.

Tonight’s launch episode is an ‘Ashes Special’, where the trio travels to the UK and pairs with the hosts from the sister show, Jeremy Clarkson, James May, Richard Hammond, and what will be the final TV appearance for Ben Collins The Stig.

Top Gear Australia meets Top Gear UK

Top Gear Australia meets Top Gear UK (L-R): Page, Pizzati, May, Hammond, Clarkson and Jacobson

The episode features a host of challenges, including seeing the boys travelling across the UK in some of the worst British cars ever made, a drag race between a classic Aussie ute and a British delivery van, and driving on the Isle of Man, where no speed limits exist.

Peel P50 The highlight of the episode will be a trip to a British safari park, where the hosts get way too close for comfort with a host of Africa’s most daunting creatures, including lions, gazelles, rhinos and a pride of baboons. What are the boys driving? None other than a Peel P50 micro car, the very car that Jeremy Clarkson used to torment his BBC colleagues with in Season 10 of the UK show (pictured right)!

The Richard’s F1 team was privileged enough to be given access to the studio taping of this particular episode a few weeks back, and you might actually spot your site’s editor loitering in the backgrounds during the host’ antics on-set.

A special Australian guest ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ also awaits, but we’ll keep quiet on who it is and what they’re driving…!

From what we’ve seen so far, an impressive budget and production team has been outlaid to the new series of the show, and it certainly looks the goods.

The show endured two seasons of mixed acclaim on the SBS network, and has undergone several host changes as it struggled to secure a loyal fan base on top of avoiding the inevitable (and generally unfavourable) comparisons with the UK version of the show.

However, its new home won’t stop these comparisons between this iteration and the Top Gear UK show, and it remains to be seen if Top Gear Australia will be able to enjoy the same level of success that the imported show has achieved here.

“I’m a fan of Top Gear UK, it is a fantastic show, it’s our mothership. But we’re not trying to be a cover band,” Jacobson told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Our job is not to really compete with them because UK Top Gear’s still going. We’re actually adjunct to it. I don’t feel pressure to be the same or better than them, I’ve just got to be something else and thank goodness I am, because I’m Australian.”

Top Gear Australia premieres tonight at 7:30pm on Channel 9.

[Original images via Channel 9 and Top Gear Australia]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.