Top Gear S18E06 Review

I know we’re a few days behind the ball when it comes to the latest episode of Top Gear, but we’ve in the midst of a very hectic build-up ahead of our trip to Melbourne to cover the Australian Grand Prix. Late tonight, I finally got the chance to sit down and watch the show’s latest offering, which was a textbook episode from this fine show…

It’s jingoistic, it’s not politically correct, but it’s all about a mix of off-the-wall supercars.

The main feature of this series’ penultimate episode was a test to discover what is the best purpose-built ‘track day’ car. One assumes that ‘reasonably-priced’ was an underlying criteria as well, because there was no Ferrari FXX in the mix.

So the intrepid trio headed to the Donington Grand Prix circuit, or as it is now romantically known – after an investor finally came in to save the cash-strapped track – as the ‘Simply Sausages Donington Park’ circuit. Need we say more…

Three track racers in action James takes the Caterham for a spin (literally) Hammond's Bentley Three-Wheeler

Jeremy Clarkson was armed with KTM’s X-Bow, James May are equipped with Caterham’s R500, while Hammond – lover of the bygone British car – came with a Morgan Three-Wheeler. Cue much mirth among his other co-hosts, with it quickly being nicknamed ‘the tricycle’.

Some tests were performed at the circuit, before they headed out onto the open road to simulate a commute to work, with a view to seeing how practical (or otherwise) these roofless, windowless machines were. If the British weather was anything to go by, not very, as it turned out…

The highlight of the episode was Clarkson’s ‘Battle of Britain’ remake on the show’s test track using a pair of ancient ‘supercars’, which had both recently been built by eccentric carmakers.

Clarkson shows off the mighty 'Brutus' Jeremy tries his hand at driving the Brutus Jeremy and the beautiful Bentley

One was a beautiful 1920s-style Bentley armed with a 27,000cc Spitfire engine, a 2mpg fuel consumption reading and a top speed of 160mph! The other was the famous fire-belching 47-litre BMW engined ‘Brutus’ that fans may have seen on Clarkson’s latest DVD, Powered Up.

With Clarkson being a true Anglophile, it was clear who was going to win this battle of the fire-breathing monsters, but full credit must go to Clarkson and the crew for a beautifully-shot and presented segment. And major props to Jeremy and The Stig for getting behind the wheel of both cars and giving them a red-hot go.

While critics might look at both cars’ ridiculous fuel consumption and deride the Bentley for costing some £420 to fill up the fuel tank, frankly, who cares? This is the stuff of childhood dreams, and Top Gear did a brilliant job conveying those very nostalgic feelings back to me.

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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.