Top Gear Australia (series 3)

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The 3rd series of Top Gear Australia began on 28 September 2010 with a 75 minute Ashes Special featuring the presenters of both the Australian and UK Top Gear's competing in a series of challenges. This special was used a promotional tool by the Nine Network, who, as of late 2009, had acquired the airing rights to both the UK and Australian shows from SBS One.[1] The series proper began 3 weeks later on 19 October. The show airs on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm on Channel Nine.

A number of changes were made by Nine for the 3rd series. Of the original hosts from SBS, only Steve Pizzati made the move, with new hosts Shane Jacobson & Ewen Page (editor-in-chief of Top Gear Australia magazine) replacing Warren Brown & James Morrison.[2] while former Australian cricketer Shane Warne was added as an occasional guest reviewer. The test track at Camden Airport was redesigned and the 'Star Car' was replaced. The Proton Satria Neo used in the first 2 series on SBS made way for a more 'Australian' Ford XF Falcon Ute complete with bull bar, UHF CB aerial and stickers. (Nine also changed the name of the celebrity car challenge from 'Star In A Bog-Standard Car' to 'Star In A Car').

Due to the change in design of the Top Gear test track, in Episode 2 it was announced that the lap time leader board had been re-calibrated. The Stig drove 5 cars from the previous two seasons around the new track and a difference of +23.9% was calculated.

The Complete Third Series was released in March 2011. The Two Disc Collection contained all 3 episodes and The Ashes Special.

Episodes[edit]

# Episode Airdate Guests
301 Series 3, Episode 1 19 October 2010 Lisa McCune

Review: Former Australian cricketer Shane Warne test drives the Morgan Aero SuperSport.

Challenge: "The Great Australian Adventure" saw the presenters driving 1000 km through the harsh South Australian outback to Lake Eyre. In a feat mirroring that of David Norrish in the 1970s,[3] who drove from Adelaide to Lake Eyre, and is said to be the first man to sail the great lake, Shane Jacobson drove a Holden HQ Kingswood (the same used by Norrish in 1974), Ewen Page drove a Ford XB Falcon 500 with Steve Pizzati driving a 1974 Toyota Corolla KE25. As with Norrish 36 years earlier, the team strapped their boats to the roof of their cars and headed off with the intention of sailing Lake Eyre.

Star Car: With the Proton Satria Neo from the first 2 series being replaced with a Ford XF Falcon Ute, actress Lisa McCune was the first star to drive round the newly designed track. She posted a time of 2:00.41.

# Episode Airdate Guests
302 Series 3, Episode 2 26 October 2010 Michael Clarke

Review: Shane drives the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1converted to RHD by Performax International [1]. He finds the car impressively powerful, and thinks it may be a competitor to European & Japanese supercars. He criticises the price saying that once the extras including shipping, right-hand drive conversion & luxury tax are included the cost has almost doubled. He also finds the traction control doesn't completely turn off, describing it as "like your mother-in-law coming back in the room asking if you need anything when you just want to be left alone". He also tests Chevrolet's claims of a 0-100kmh time of 3.3s. After getting nowhere near this time, he eventually discovers this is done by not changing gear. It posts a time of 1:26.12.

Challenge: "Race To The Sky" The TGA presenters recreate the Race to the Sky hillclimb in New Zealand using a Subaru Impreza WRX STI and two Ken Brough creations based on the Impreza. Ewen Page sees if you can still drive a V8 Supercar on public roads by taking Mark Winterbottom's FPR Falcon to downtown Sydney. Ewen also drives the FPR Falcon around Calder Park Raceway trying to post an average rookie's time, as well as The Stig posting a time of 1:18.98 around the Top Gear test track.

News: The boys investigate the 'Bio Bug', a car that runs on methane gas.[4] as well as a camper trailer designed in the shape of the Sydney Opera House. They also show funny videos and pictures from the internet including a man riding a motorbike carrying a barbecue,[5] and a Hummer driving underwater.[6]

Star Car: Australian cricketer Michael Clarke posted a time of 1:51.47.

# Episode Airdate Guests
303 Series 3, Episode 3 2 November 2010 Craig Reucassel & Andrew Hansen from The Chaser

Review: Steve drives the Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2, using it as a pizza delivery car. He explains its the cheapest Lamborghini in almost 10 years costing over $100,000 less than its previous model. With no GPS, bluetooth, ceramic brakes or metallic paint Steve jokes that this is Lamborghini's "Recession Buster". He tests it round the track and finds the 2 wheel drive and power much purer to drive, but criticises the gearbox and position of the paddle shift. It posts a time of 1:24.0. Shane Warne travels to England to drive the Caparo T1. Touted as the closest thing to driving an F1, and possibly the world's fastest street legal supercar, he spends the day driving it round a racetrack. Due to its racing pedigree, and still being in development after 3 laps at full pace the gearbox packs up and he returns to the pits. He finishes by saying "It might be as fast as a race car, but clearly it's as unreliable as one too".

Challenge: "Grey Nomad Adventure On A Budget": The boys attempt a weekend away on a budget, buying cheap 4wd's and caravans. Shane drives a 1986 Holden Jackaroo, Steve a 1991 Daihatsu Feroza and Ewen a 1983 Range Rover. They start by testing their driving skills at a 4x4 course with the clutch, brake and accelerator pedals swapped around. The boys then head of into northern New South Wales on a 2 day, 200 km loop with only enough fuel for the trip. Shane's caravan is deemed un-roadworthy by the police (Shane decides to leave it behind upon hearing this), Ewen's Range Rover over heats, and is unable to restart it (forcing Shane to tow him) with Steve's Daihatsu eventually finishing the trip as the only 4x4 in on piece.

Star Car: Craig Reucassel & Andrew Hansen from The Chaser drive round the track. Andrew posts a very slow 2:27.5 while Craig does a 1:51.46 putting him to the top of the leader board.

# Episode Airdate Guests
304 Series 3, Episode 4 5 May 2012 Jimmy Barnes

Review: High Performance SUV: BMW X5M vs Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. To test their offroad abilities, Steve and Ewen take the 'offroaders' to a wet quarry. They are surprised at how well (even with high performance road tyres) they handle the muddy quagmire. Next up they are off to the Drag strip to see which is faster. The crowd at first laughs them off, but seem to have a little more respect once they set impressive 1/4 mile times (12.98 porsche and BMW only a few 100ths slower). The guys are 'split' on their preference so the final test is left to the Stig out on the track. The BMW sets a 1:29.53 (faster than an M3) and the Porsche runs a 1:29.41 (faster than a 911S). Ewen feels the Porsche is a game changing car, smashing the argument that 4WD's can't be performance cars.

HDT Blue Meanie: Shane gets to drive one of his childhood dream cars, the Blue Meanie (a HDT VK SS Group A Commodore). He then hops into HDT's new tribute to the original. Two versions are driven, the 6.0L V8, and 7.0L Supercharged monster. Shane doesn't feel the new blue meanie will become a classic, but he'd like to think that it's the car Brock would've built if he was still with us. He finally described it as a weapon that in reaslity would likely last barely an hour on the road before ploughing into a tree. They then hand it off to someone who they feel is the 'ideal' driver for the car (the Stig), who muscles it around the track in 1:30.29 (faster than an M3, but slower than a Walkinshaw version of the 'same' car). The Stig commented that it was "the biggest handful of a car he's ever driven on our test track" and that possibly several seconds were lost to the gearbox.

Challenge: Shane and Ewen put SUV's up against people movers. Testing involves putting a Ford Territory and Shane up against a Kia Carnival and Ewen. First up is fitting a 'family' of 8 in the cars won by the Kia (the Territory only seats 7 leaving 1 behind). Secondly, testing handling won by the Ford. 'Moving' a basketball team was won by the Kia as was the final test delivering a band and their gear to a gig (the drums would not fit in the Territory with everything else). The decision is that if you have a large family and a lot of stuff to move around, the Kia's should be the clear 'winner', however Shane (and the audience) would still buy an SUV over a people mover explaining it's about 'vanity' (a single member of the audience voted for the people mover).

Star Car: Jimmy Barnes drove round the track posting a time of 1:53.72.

Weekly ratings[edit]

Episode Original Airdate Timeslot Viewers1 Nightly Rank (#) Weekly Rank (#)
#1 19 October 2010 Tuesday
7:30 P.M.
1,224,000 [7] 4 [8] 12 [7]
#2 26 October 2010 1,079,000 [9] 7 [10] 25 [9]
#3 2 November 2010 953,000 [11] 16 [12] 39 [11]
1 Viewer numbers are based on OzTAM data for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth combined.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top Gear Moves to Nine". EBroadcast Australia. 23 October 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  2. ^ "Top Gear Australia’s new hosts". The Spy Report (Media Spy). 20 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "Sailing Lake Eyre in the 1970s". ABC Online. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Roberts, Laura (6 August 2010). "Bio-Bug: Car run on human waste is launched". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  5. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/bbq-rider-sees-error-of-ways/story-e6frf7kx-1111115457891
  6. ^ http://en.kendincos.net/video-hjvdvdvf-hummer-humvee-drives-under-water.html
  7. ^ a b TV Ratings: Week 43 2010
  8. ^ Week 43
  9. ^ a b TV Ratings: Week 44 2010
  10. ^ Week 44
  11. ^ a b TV Ratings: Week 45 2010
  12. ^ Week 45

External links[edit]