After the disappointing Top Gear Christmas Special in India, the latest series of Top Gear needed to start with a bang – and it did. Old Top Gear was back with Supercars in Italy and Christmas sins were forgiven. Let’s hope tonight’s second episode keeps up the standards they set last week.
Jeremy and James are off to China this week – complete with Chinese Stig – and when we reported Top Gear were filming in China in December it looked like they were looking not just at how far the Chinese Motor Industry has come, but also how far it still has to go. That will revolve around some very off the wall Chinese cars as well as some of China’s infamous Western clones, like the Shuanghuan Noble (Smart), Shuanghuan CEO (X5) and the Chinese version of MINI – the Lifan 320.
Richard Hammond is in Texas this week playing at NASCAR, which could be a bit hairy. It looks like he gets a bit of tutelage from former NASCAR and F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya, but it’s not going to be an easy ride even if the Hamster isn’t actually competing.
Jeremy gets to play with the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster on track at Dunsfold, and with his predilection for big, powerful Mercedes it seems likely the verdict will be favourable – or will it?
Finally, Friends’ start Matt LeBlanc is this week’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. Will Top Gear have to roll out the automatic Kia cee’d for another American who can’s do ‘Stick’, or is Matt a petrolhead?
All will be revealed tonight in episode 2 of series 18 of Top Gear at 8pm on BBC2.
(22 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)