I thoroughly enjoyed last week’s Grand Tour, but how do you follow that one up? Well on the face of it, this week looked to be quite something. This is because episode 7 features the brand new Lamborghini Hurcan Performante, a true rallying battle, and an exploding Chinese acrobat. Only on The Grand Tour… As always, there are likely to be spoilers in this review.
Hammond Indulges In Another Supercar
After taking the 720S out in episode 4, The Hamster takes out the fiery – and rather orange – Huracan Performante. The film opens up with some truly breathtaking shots and it’s at this point I feel the production team deserve a lot of credit. Hammond then enters the fray in said car stating that you don’t actually get much more power for the extra £55,000. Come to think of it, I’ve never really thought about the Performante in such a way.
At this point you think “uh-oh”, but then Hammond goes on to comment on how the car looks more aggressive, the ‘chopped’ carbon wing and the fact the car is now 40kg. Phew, that was a close one. The he moves on to what is an important area of any performance car – the sound. Needless to say, Hammond rather likes what he hears as he describes it as having “10,000 wolves at your back”.
V10 symphony over, he then talks about about the aerodynamics before taking on a ‘local motorist’ in a 458 Speciale for a drag race. Have a guess at which car won. Demonstration over, Hammond continues to discuss the clever aero system before giving another demonstration, only this one’s a bit more…sideways. He then concludes by saying that the Performante is what the Huracan should have been in the first place. A thoroughly fantastic watch from the little Brummie.
Some Witty Banter On Conversation Street
Seeing as the show started with supercars, it seems fitting that the trio carry on the theme by discussing the plethora of new models that have come out in recent times. I’ll be honest with you, there were quite a few that I had never heard of, let alone seen. One of which is the Devil 16, which has a claimed top speed of 320mph – no typo. This then leads to Clarkson stating that Hammond should be the one to test it, must to everyone’s amusement.
The three then tread old ground by discussing the link between a handbrake turn and a woman’s arousal. You may remember it’s a topic they previously discussed on Top Gear. Nowadays though, quite a few cars don’t allow you to do such a thing as they come fitted with electric alternatives. This, May states, is why Tinder has become popular, leading Clarkson to say that you “swipe right, because you can’t slide left”. Hammond says that Ford has come to the rescue with the new ‘Drift stick’, which enables drivers to pull off the ultimate handbrake turn.
Clarkson then moves on to discuss what is wrong with one of the new Bentley Bentayga variants, by claimed that whoever designed it knows nothing about shooting because of the way it has been designed. The conversation takes a turn for the unordinary where Hammond suggests that Bentley make a Bentayga based around dogging. Again, not a typo…
Adding Fuel To The Fire
May then introduces the next film by claiming that the worst part of motoring is having to stop to fill up with fuel. Apparently, the average motorist spends 36 days of their life filling up their car. This gives Hammond and May an idea – what if they could find a better way? The pair head to the Grand Tour Special High Intensity Test Track. Wait a minute… The acronyms don’t end though, because the solution is called the Motorway Inter Lane Fuelling.
It’s essentially a transit pickup that has been inspired by the mid-air refuelling of aircrafts. Already this sounds a bit too ambitious. The pair try it out as Hammond climbs in to a Skoda whilst James is given the task of trying to operate the fuelling system from the back of the Transit, and predictably, things go wrong.
So they try a different tact, and instead use Chinese acrobats with jerry cans on their back. May describes the process as as being “refuelled by Spiderman”, but as with the first method, it all ends rather badly. The third attempt actually works, but would it work in real life? I highly doubt it, but it was a funny and entertaining film nonetheless.
A Heavyweight Clash
This week’s topic for Celebrity Face-Off was “Who is the first person that earns a living from punching and strangling other men?” To help settle this burning question the GT team to bring in the big guns – Anthony Joshua and Bill Goldberg. I don’t know who Bill Goldberg is, but he sure made me laugh and he really made the interview come to life, not that Joshua was boring of course.
In fact, the chemistry throughout the whole thing and in truth I could have watched it for even longer. Dare I say that Joshua and Goldberg had a bit of a bromance going? It certainly seems as if they have a similar driving style with both of them charging off the track at the last corner in a very macho way. Thankfully for them their timed laps were faster, but was British grit able to take the win, or was it overpowered by American muscle? I’ll leave that one as a surprise.
A Motoring History Lesson
It’s not often that The Grand Tour does serious things, and that is by no means a criticism. However, I really enjoyed the film James May did about the GT40 in the last season and if memory serves me right, there hasn’t really been anything similar since. That is until now, where Clarkson takes us on a history lesson on the rallying battle between Audi and Lancia.
I was fully aware of the Fordv v Ferrari Le Mans saga, but I must confess I did not know of the story that Clarkson went through in the final piece of this episode. He sets the scene as the late 70s and Audi has not only developed quattro for its road cars, but it’s also convinced the rules to be changed to include four wheel drive cars in to rallying.
Roll forward to 1983, a year after Audi has dominated rally with its quattro monster, and looks to do the same thing. Lancia has its 037 at its disposal but it looks to be not match as it’s mid engines and rear wheel drive, not exactly the best thing for a loose surface. To add to Lancia’s woes, the team is small, they have a driver that turns up when he wants, and there boss to seems to be a playboy.
In case like me you don’t know the story, I won’t ruin it for you as it’s genuinely interesting and the way how Clarkson presents it is tip top. The film had me hooked from the first moment all the way through to the last, and I found the whole thing so amazing that towards the end I could feel goosebumps coming on.
All-in-all, another cracking episode of The Grand Tour this week and it really feels like this season is starting to find its groove, although I suppose we are now in the second half of the season now. For me, this show struck a great balance of what The Grand Tour is able to offer – slick car reviews, good humour and even on this occasion, a factual film. Top stuff!