Top Gear (series 14)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Top Gear (series 14)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 7
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 15 November 2009 (2009-11-15) – 3 January 2010 (2010-01-03)
Series chronology
123456789101112131415161718192021
List of Top Gear episodes

The fourteenth series of Top Gear started airing on BBC Two and BBC HD on 15 November 2009, with the usual presenting team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig. The series contained 7 episodes. Episode 1 featured the team being sent to find the Transfăgărăşan road in Romania with Jeremy in an Aston Martin DBS Volante, Richard in a Ferrari California and James in a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder. Episode 2 featured Jeremy, Richard and James attempting to build an electric car better than a G-Wiz. Episode 3 featured a road trip between James May in a caravan airship and Richard Hammond in a Lamborghini Balboni. Episode 4 featured a road test of Renault Twingo RS 133, before being driven off the docks in Belfast. Episode 5 featured Jeremy, James and Richard taking over an art gallery in Middlesbrough and filling it with motoring-related works, in attempt to prove "cars can be art too". In the style of their trips to Vietnam, Botswana, the North Pole and the United States, Episode 6 was a 75-minute special from Bolivia. Episode 7 featured Jeremy's worldwide review of the BMW X6, including visits to Hong Kong (to find a metaphor that describes the car), Spain (to test if the suspension is better on Spanish roads), Barbados (to work out if the car is better than a tropical holiday) and Australia (to test if the glove box still works). The series was followed by four "Best Of Top Gear" specials, charting the best moments from Series 13 and 14.

Episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Reviews Features Guest Original air date UK viewers
(million)[1]
113 1 Series 14, Episode 1 BMW 760LiMercedes-Benz S63 AMGLamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 SpyderFerrari CaliforniaAston Martin DBS Volante Romanian GT road trip to find the Transfăgărăşan highway (Dacia Sandero) Eric Bana 15 November 2009 (2009-11-15) 6.70[nb 1]
Review: James road tests the BMW 760Li and Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG after reading a letter from "Bankers who now have money!" Although he calls both cars completely pointless (due to them both having ridiculous amounts of power), James reveals that he would buy the BMW rather than the Mercedes-Benz. The Stig takes the BMW round a damp track in 1:31.2, which beats the Mercedes' time of 1.32.1 in the same conditions.

News: The presenters discuss the new alcohol consumption regulations for the Bathurst 1000 endurance race regarding the spectators, the new Porsche Boxster Spyder, where Clarkson compares its soft-top roof to a tent, the McLaren MP4-12C, and a disposable cardboard lavatory which Clarkson squashes when he sits on it.

Challenge: Jeremy (in an Aston Martin DBS Volante), Richard (in a Ferrari California), and James (in a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder) are sent to find the world's greatest driving road, which apparently is in Romania - the Transfăgărăşan. Along the way they have races along Romania's Motorways, have a sat-nav race to the People's Palace, race under the People's Palace, smash up a Dacia Sandero, travel through the rural Romanian countryside, crash James' Lamborghini and sleep beside an enormous dam (the Vidraru Dam). Clarkson insists that the Aston is the best grand tourer, to which James and Richard disagree.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Australian actor Eric Bana beats Jamie Oliver's record, becoming the fastest wet lap holder with a time of 1:47.5.
114 2 Series 14, Episode 2 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 vs. Audi R8 V10 Codename Geoff / Hammerhead Eagle-i Thrust vs. G-Wiz • Build an electric car better than a G-Wiz Michael Sheen 22 November 2009 (2009-11-22) 6.48[nb 2]
Review: Clarkson reviews the new V10-engined Audi R8. He praises the car's performance as well as its practicality. However, he criticises the price tag of £100,000 and also characterises the car being boring to drive, despite its high level of performance. Next, he reviews the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. He praises the car for having significantly more power than the R8 (120 bhp (89 kW) more) and for being more fun to drive. However, he criticises the car's workmanship, its styling, and its unrefined handling, calling the car as "being vulgar". It proves to be unable to keep up with the R8 on the test track. However, despite the R8's better styling, performance, and quality, he still considers the Corvette the car to buy.

The Stig takes the R8 round a damp track in 1:21.6, however the Corvette proves to be faster in the hands of the "tame racing driver" with a time of 1:20.4 in the same conditions. Clarkson explains that either he or Hammond would manage to take the Audi round in about the same time as The Stig but would never be able to match him in the Corvette.

Challenge: Jeremy, Richard and James attempt to build their own electric car. Richard is given responsibility of the car's chassis, suspension and brakes, whereas James deals with propulsion. Jeremy designs the interior and exterior, using, among others, large felines, fighter jets,the AK-47 rifle, Peter Bowles, and the Fiat Multipla for inspiration. After being built in the Top Gear Technology Centre, the car, which is called Geoff, is taken for a drive around Oxford. It subsequently ran out of power in central Oxford, causing a traffic jam, and then again in the countryside. Eventually Geoff was "killed" when it rolled backwards down a hill into a tree. Geoff was constructed by fitting a bolted aluminium frame (inspired by shelving) to the chassis of a TVR Chimaera, using an electric motor from a milk-float and originally using two batteries. The interior featured a tape player, 3-abreast seating made from plastic garden chairs, and a transparent roof-box to accommodate Hammond's head as his centre seat was mounted above the raised drive-shaft.

The car is redesigned and named the "Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust." The redesign includes extra batteries, along with a diesel generator to recharge the batteries while the car is in motion. The presenters then took their new car to the MIRA Proving Ground in order to test whether it would pass the EU-required tests that would make the car road legal. The tests consisted of a two crash tests to test safety, a drag race to test speed, a cobbled road to test ride comfort, a steep hill test and a quality test around the MIRA test track, in which the presenters used various tricks to have their car "pass", including using the three presenters as crash-test dummies and crash-testing the car at a very low speed and playing back in fast-motion; cheating at the pendulum test by raising the pendulum from the car and then playing the footage in reverse,cheating in a drag race by jumping the start, cheating the ride test claiming "if the doors are still on after doing this, then you've passed", and comparing doing a hill start to a G-Wiz doing a hill start(The G-Wiz was supposedly driven by an "independent test driver", which really was James in a fake moustache). The car is also taken for an endurance test by "the Stig's vegetarian cousin" (who is entirely colored green, has solar panels on its helmet, and wears sandals) - who is killed after 35 minutes by fumes from the generator after the exhaust pipe fell off.

Confident that their car was now road legal, they gave it to Autocar magazine for an independent test. The presenters were somewhat disheartened by the results however, as the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust was rated 1 out of 5 by the magazine's writers (although it did at least beat the G-Wiz and an electric golf cart, which the same magazine awarded both cars 0.5 out of 5). However, the car did receive praise from some of its characteristics, such as the vertical A-pillars, which improve visibility.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Michael Sheen did a lap in 1:46.3 despite having just flown in from Los Angeles. He was officially named the Fastest Welshman to drive around the track.
115 3 Series 14, Episode 3 Why Lancia has made greatest number of great cars: (Lancia Stratos HFLancia Delta HF Integrale Evo II) Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni • Fly an Airship caravan Chris Evans 29 November 2009 (2009-11-29) 6.51[nb 3]
Review: Jeremy and Richard review different cars from the car company which they declared had the greatest number of great cars - Lancia. Despite the ruined reputation Lancia had because of the rusty Beta saloons, Jeremy and Richard loved the cars Lancia made. The Stig then did a power lap with a Hawk HF3000 (a continuation car of the Lancia Stratos), which broke down on its first attempt. When it was finally fixed, the car's lack of traction and the very wet conditions combined to make the Stig spin out twice during the lap (in Chicago and the Second to the Last Corner), giving the Hawk Stratos the slowest power lap in the show's history at 1:48.2.

News: Jeremy jokes about the Zenvo ST1 (without actually naming it).

Challenge: Because caravans are being made faster than Top Gear could destroy them, James proposed an ingenious solution to rid them from Britain's roads once and for all - turn caravans into airships. He makes a caravan airship and attempts to fly it to a caravan park. However, because he doesn't have a tow car, he asked Richard to drive a tow car for him to the caravan park. Richard then chose the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni as his car. Richard enjoyed his "caravan trip" in the Lambo (despite James sending him to different caravan clubs), whereas James had a lot of trouble with winds blowing his airship in all directions. He went out of control and flew into the airspace of Norwich International Airport,got chased by police choppers, and later crashed while trying to land the caravan airship at a site. After the film, Richard said that the Lambo was not as good as the Ferrari F430, but at the same time, it was better.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Chris Evans did a lap in 1:48.1 in the wet.
116 4 Series 14, Episode 4 BMW X5 MAudi Q7 V12 TDIRange Rover (2010MY) Airport vehicle motorsport • Renault Twingo 133 barrel roll in a tunnel Guy RitchieRoss Kemp 6 December 2009 (2009-12-06) 6.29[nb 4]
Review: Jeremy reviews the Audi Q7 V12 TDI, the BMW X5 M and a new Range Rover Overfinch 580 S. He is not a fan of any of them, claiming they are all silly and impractical owing to their weight and unnecessarily-powerful engines. Anyhow the Audi Q7 V12 diesel lapped the test track in 1.33.3 and the BMW X5 M did it in 1.28.2, both in the wet.

News: The presenters rebutted a report in the Daily Mirror, which claimed that homosexual people were banned from the Top Gear studio. While this was happening, a group of Village People impersonators were featured prominently behind the presenters.

Review: After receiving another letter from a disgruntled viewer named Mr. Needham, Jeremy conducts a "thorough" road test of the Renaultsport Twingo 133 in Belfast (where Mr. Needham lives) that variously sees the Renault parked atop a dockyard crane, driven upside down in a sewer tunnel, in an ice skating rink while a game was played. Ross Kemp was in the rear luggage compartment for most of the review and ends with Clarkson driving the car off the end of a ferry pier in an attempt to catch the departing ferry back to England (and he failed to catch the ferry and drowned the car).

Challenge: In an attempt to solve the problems caused by slow airport staff and after quite possibly seeing the Cadbury's advert, Richard invents the sport of airport vehicle racing with the help of several touring car drivers, similar to his motorhome and bus racing sports with the winner to become the basis of all airport vehicles. Hammond's airport fire truck wins the race after most of the competition - a catering truck, the mobile stairs, an articulated shuttle bus, a baggage train and an aircraft tug - variously take themselves and each other out of the race. This sequence was filmed for series 13, but was delayed for unknown reasons. Richard claims that the airfield used to film the challenge was in fact Heathrow Airport and that the aircraft and the terminal buildings 'had been moved off to one side'. During the race Hammond's fire truck sheds weight by operating the water-cannon to remove 8-tonnes of water although this causes Hammond to lose visibility and causes the track to become extremely wet. The catering truck attempts to shed weight by raising the storage box to aircraft level and opening the rear hatch so that the catering trolleys fall out of the back, although the driver forgot to lower the storage box and the truck overturned on a bend towards the end of the race.

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Guy Ritchie did a lap in 1:52.5 in very wet conditions.
117 5 Series 14, Episode 5 Noble M600 Make an automotive art gallery to prove cars are more popular than traditional art Jenson Button 20 December 2009 (2009-12-20) 6.90[nb 5]
Review: Clarkson reviews the Noble M600. Clarkson noted that it is faster than any supercar within its competition range, including a Porsche 997 GT3, a Ferrari F430, a Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni, an Aston Martin DBS and a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 S. He was amazed by its speed and cornering abilities, even though he couldn't find its handling "sweet spot" and have fun with it. The Stig lapped it in 1:17.7 (in the cold), beating the Enzo Ferrari, the Bugatti Veyron and the Pagani Zonda Roadster F.

Challenge: The trio attempted to prove that cars are more popular than traditional art. They hired the use of MIMA, a Middlesbrough gallery, and fill it with motoring-related works, and vehicles they have made from past series of the show. Their attempts at producing their own works end in varying degrees of disaster; James accidentally sets his sculpture on fire, Richard's re-creation of The Hay Wain (featuring a Pagani Zonda) ends up in a lake, while Clarkson accidentally gets shot in the crotch with a paintball fired by a Red Bull RB1 operated by David Coulthard. Another attempt at creating art that involves cutting a car in half ends when Clarkson helpfully points out that they have just destroyed a rental. Their efforts at setting up the gallery follow a similar tack as Jeremy crashes their BMW "art car" en route, Hammond spends most of his time as a PR agent talking about his career as a radio host and promoting his new show Blast Lab and talks about Total Wipeout instead of the art exhibition, and May attempts to create an audio guide to the gallery that contains boring information, sends visitors on a route that goes nowhere near the actual exhibits, and is frequently interrupted by irate phone conversations. After some disastrous initial visiting figures, they eventually manage to greatly improve the figures by appearing at a Middlesbrough F.C. match (originally wearing Newcastle United shirts, to an expected chorus of booing). They set a target of 30,000 visitors in one week, and although they only managed 15,000, it was a record high for MIMA.

Stars in a Reasonably Priced Car: Jenson Button did the lap in 1:44.9 in damp conditions, failing to beat his previous time.
118 6 Series 14, Episode 6
Bolivia Special
None Bolivia Special None 27 December 2009 (2009-12-27) 7.45[nb 6]
Bolivia Special: Following on from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May's previous adventures in Botswana, Vietnam, America and the Arctic Circle, this festive special begins deep in the Amazon basin in Bolivia. Equipped with second-hand off-road vehicles bought locally for a maximum of £3,500 each, the first challenge the trio face is to traverse the terrain of the rainforest to begin heading south-west on their journey to Chile. Along the way, they encounter drug lords and feel the effects of altitude sickness as they negotiate the region's roads, one of which is a notoriously dangerous 40-mile mountain pass dubbed El Camino de la Muerte (Death Road).
119 7 Series 14, Episode 7 Lexus LFA 'Low-budget' worldwide review of the BMW X6Vauxhall Insignia VXR • May and Margaret Calvert reflect on the evolution of UK road signs • Top Gear Awards 2009 Seasick Steve 3 January 2010 6.52[nb 7]
Reviews: The presenters are faced with a serious problem - a lack of money. They are budgeted for fourteen episodes, but have spent too much on the first thirteen, and so they have to be careful in how much they spend making this one. Richard Hammond reviews the £340,000 Lexus LFA, but ends up spending about the same amount on animated graphics that make his segment look like a comic book, much to James May's annoyance. The Stig takes the car around the track in 1:22.8.

Jeremy Clarkson is warned about the budget when he reviews the BMW X6, but ends up producing the most expensive car review ever when he goes to Spain to see if the car handles any differently on Spanish roads (it doesn't), to Switzerland to find out how well the X6 handles snowy conditions (it can't), to Hong Kong in search of a metaphor to describe the car (a skyscraper), and to Australia to see whether the car's glove box still works when its "upside-down" (which it does). In the end, he goes to the Barbados to see if the money spent on an X6 could be put to better use on a Caribbean holiday (and concludes that it is); May is once again unimpressed.

May then reviews the Vauxhall Insignia VXR, but despite having a ten-minute segment, he finds that he only has enough material for two and a half minutes. He spends the rest of his review interviewing road sign designer Margaret Calvert. Even then, he appears to run out of relevant things to say. The original interview was supposed to demonstrate a feature in the Insignia which was its ability to read road signs. This feature however was removed from UK spec cars as it did not function correctly with UK signs.

News: The presenters are faced with another problem - this time, the episode was filmed on 9 December 2009, but was not broadcast until the new year. Instead of talking about cars that have been released, they instead talk about cars that they are looking forward to, all the while trying - and for the most part, failing - to remember to describe them as being released "this year" instead of "next year". Clarkson also discusses the future outcome of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the producers demonstrate environmentally-friendly forms of transport. James May introduces and mispronounces the Go-Cycle, but never finishes assembling it; Richard Hammond rides a battery-powered skateboard (Boom Borda 2 from [1]) finds he has no idea how to steer or slow it down; and Clarkson uses a three-wheeled scooter-slash-frame called a Trikke, and promptly crashes it into the Cool Wall during a race around the studio with Hammond.

The Top Gear awards ceremony is also held in this episode:

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Seasick Steve posted a time of 1:51.7. Clarkson noted that he could possibly be the final "star in the reasonably priced car" using the Chevrolet Lacetti.

Best-of episodes[edit]

Total No. Title Featured cars Guest Original air date UK viewers
(million)[2]
N/A SP The Best Of Top Gear 2009 #1 Aston Martin V12 Vantage (S13,E7) Seasick Steve 10 January 2010 (2010-01-10) 3.12
Challenge: Top Gear Race To The North (Series 13, Episode 1)

Feature: Bugatti Veyron vs Mclaren F1 (Series 13, Episode 2) Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Michael McIntyre (Series 13, Episode 3)

Feature: Racing With Ken Block In America (Series 13, Episode 3)
N/A SP The Best Of Top Gear 2009 #2 Ford Focus RS vs Renault Megane R26-R (S13,E4), Lamborghini Murcielago SV (S13,E2) Seasick Steve 24 January 2010 (2010-01-24) 2.37
Challenge: Romanian Grand Tourer Road Trip Part 1 (Series 14, Episode 1)

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Brian Johnson (Series 13, Episode 6)

Challenge: Romanian Grand Tourer Road Trip Part 2 (Series 14, Episode 1)
N/A SP The Best Of Top Gear 2009 #3 Audi R8 V10 & Corvette ZR1 (S14,E2), BMW 760Li vs. Mercedes S63 AMG (S14,E1) Seasick Steve 31 January 2010 (2010-01-31) 2.08
Challenge: Making A Caravan Airship (Series 14, Episode 3)

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Jay Leno (Series 13, Episode 7)

Feature: Have Lancia Made The Biggest Number Of Great Cars? (Series 14, Episode 3)
N/A SP The Best Of Top Gear 2009 #4 Jaguar XFR (S13,E5), Lexus LFA (S14,E7) Seasick Steve 7 February 2010 (2010-02-07) 2.25
Challenge: Building An Electric Car Better Than A G-Wiz: Attempt 1 (Series 14, Episode 2)

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: Stephen Fry (Series 13, Episode 2)

Challenge: Building An Electric Car Better Than A G-Wiz: Attempt 2 (Series 14, Episode 2)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 6.41 million on BBC Two, 286,000 on BBC HD
  2. ^ 6.19 million on BBC Two, 285,000 on BBC HD
  3. ^ 6.10 million on BBC Two, 412,000 on BBC HD
  4. ^ 6.09 million on BBC Two, 196,000 on BBC HD
  5. ^ 6.35 million on BBC Two, 550,000 on BBC HD
  6. ^ 7.07 million on BBC Two, 378,000 on BBC HD
  7. ^ 6.05 million on BBC Two, 472,000 on BBC HD

References[edit]