Clarkson familiarises himself with the cockpit Clarkson with Lowndes and Top Gear Australia co-host Shane Jacobsen

Top Gear Live host Jeremy Clarkson enjoyed an epic ride behind the wheel of Craig Lowndes Bathurst winning Team Vodafone Commodore in Brisbane today.

The motoring connoisseur was joined by Top Gear Live co-hosts James May and Shane Jacobsen, ahead of the opening show of the Prototype Tour at Brisbane Entertainment Centre tomorrow night.

Clarkson strapped into the Team Vodafone Commodore alongside Craig Lowndes
Clarkson straps himself in for the thrill of a lifetime alongside V8 Supercars’ Craig Lowndes

Clarkson, who has said he enjoys watching Australia’s ‘Great Race’, became the first person other than Lowndes or endurance partner Mark Skaife to drive the #888 Commodore.

“It’s the most perfect car without getting too technical,” Clarkson said.

“It’s heaven to drive a car like that. I thought it was epic.

“That was only the third racing car I’ve driven in my life and it was a great way to warm-up for Top Gear Live,” he added.

While Clarkson mastered braking and the V8 Supercar’s sequential gearbox, May and Jacobsen took to the track in their own Aussie dream cars – an HSV Maloo Ute for May and a V8 Super School car for Jacobsen before strapping in alongside Lowndes for their own V8 Supercar thrill ride.

The Team Vodafone driver, who will launch the V8 Drivers Challenge at the Melbourne leg of the Prototype Tour, was also given an insight into the vehicles that will make up the three-lap dash from Jacobson.

“I have to say I am a little nervous now,” Lowndes admitted.

“Shane has informed me that he only got 20 metres in the Peel car before rolling it and I am first out on the 1.52km Top Gear Live track next Friday. The pressure is going to be on to keep it upright.

Clarkson & Lowndes after his run in the V8 Supercars Commodore “Jeremy did a great job today, at one point when I was beside him he lent over and asked if I was nervous and I honestly wasn’t. He has driven a lot of cars and showed a lot of respect for my beast,” he said.

Lowndes and his teammate Jamie Whincup will kick off the V8 Drivers Challenge at 2.20pm on Friday March 11 when they take to Top Gear Live Australia’s first ever 1.52km custom built track.

The drivers will race against the clock contesting three consecutive laps in three different cars jumping from an Arrow 2-stroke racing kart straight into a production road car, with the finale, a lap in the infamous Top Gear Live Peel car (smallest car in the world).

With the Maloo Ute to play a starring role in this weekends Top Gear Live Shows James May used his track time to perfect his entrance.

“Its one of the few Australian cars I can identify positively,” May said.

“We don’t have the equivalent in Britain and it is very rare these days to have different cars. 

“With Australia you still have these cars that we don’t get.

“This is my first time in Queensland and it is lovely up here,” he added.

Some tickets are still available to the Brisbane leg of the show (March 4-6). Visit the Ticketek website to book today.

Brisbane and Melbourne tickets are still available for purchase. Melbourne festival-only tickets are also on sale – $20 pre-booked or $25 at the gates. Festival-only tickets will not give you access to see Clarkson, May and Jacobson but you will gain access to all other activities in the Festival.

[Original images via Top Gear Live]

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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.