The eighteenth series of Top Gear has simply whizzed by, and Sunday night’s episode was the last of the current batch. And what was the principal reason we were all watching the show? A certain Kimi-Matias Räikkönen was on the show…
More on that shortly. We open the episode with Richard Hammond reviewing BMW’s latest M5 offering which, despite having two cylinders lopped off its engine and an extra 100kg in weight, it still pumps out 52bhp more than its predecessor and is quicker over a quarter-mile drag race. Equally, it’s better handling and an absolute beauty – perhaps with the exception of its £73,000 price tag.
The main feature of this episode was a challenge where our intrepid hosts set about trying to prove if you could go motor racing for less than it cost to take up golf as a hobby. Our trio went through the usual routing of buying (and criticising) three cheap cars, before putting them through their paces in a series of mad-cap rally cross races.
James May paid a visit to one of the world’s most famous car nuts, radio DJ Chris Evans, who owns one of the world’s largest private car collections. Much to James’ delight, a suitably nervous Evans gave him the keys to his Ferrari 250 California – one of the world’s rarest cars – which had previously been owned by The Great Escape actor James Coburn.
It being the season finale, we were treated to a double dose of stars in reasonably-priced cars. Famous guitarist ‘Slash’ (who has a fetish for Aston Martins) took a turn in the KIA C’d, while the much-awaited hot-lap and interview with Kimi Räikkönen proved to be great fun.
No doubt trying to counter the perception that he is aloof and distant, Kimi was in fine form during his interview and hot-lap, and even revealed that he had actually broken his left wrist (which had a meaty scar on it) in that little snowmobile accident during the off-season. How his team management reacted at that time was not discussed…
It was a fitting way to close a series that has generally breathed life back into the fortunes of Top Gear.
It’s a pity we have to wait another four months for the next series to come out.
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