16 of the best Top Gear films for true petrol heads
The genius of Top Gear was that its appeal reached well beyond the limits of the average car enthusiast. For you could watch it - with car knowledge so woeful you’d mistake a Mazda MX5 for a Ferrari if it were painted red - and enjoy every last moment. Despite Top Gear’s wide appeal however, there were some films that were dedicated to the enjoyment of true petrol heads. And in this blog, I aim to collate 16 of my personal favourites. So then, in no particular order...
Porsche 959 vs Ferrari F40
It was a shame that this one ended with neither car being able to complete a lap of the test track. But if you ask me, it was still bloody nice to see them battling it out again after all these years.
I’ll never forget watching Jeremy Clarkson reach 193mph in this car - a record for the Top Gear runway at the time - at which the car flung him off the race track. Even The Stig couldn’t control the wild CCX, as he crashed it into the tyres when attempting a fast lap.
Ferrari Enzo Test
If having the Ferrari Enzo on test wasn’t good enough, a Pagani Zonda, Porsche Carrera GT, Jaguar XJ220, Ferrari F40, and McLaren F1 all featured alongside it for a supercar film that was like no other. To this day, I still can’t get enough of it.
Bugatti Veyron SuperSports Top Speed
Even better than the first Veyron top speed run was when James May took the SuperSports up to what he thought was its top speed - until Bugatti’s test driver had a go and went faster still.
Skoda Rally Car vs Jet-Powered Lunatic
Of all the things you would expect to see a Skoda rally car racing against, a man jumping out of a helicopter with 4 jets and some wings on his back isn’t one of them. But this fantastic race proved to be one of the most entertaining in Top Gear’s history.
Supercar Hunting in Golf GTi Clubsport S
From the revamped show, we see Sabine Schmitz taking what was at the time the Nurburgring’s FWD record holder around the ‘Ring in an attempt to overtake £1,000,000 worth of cars. In short, it’s pretty fantastic.
Clarkson vs Gran Turismo 4
The concept was simple: take a Honda NSX around Laguna Seca in Gran Turismo, and then try to match that time in reality. While the idea may be simple however, achieving it wasn’t. In fact, I’d like to now ask Randy Pobst to have a go.
Britcar 24 Hour Race
Back in 2007, Top Gear transformed a diesel BMW into a racing car to compete in a 24 hour race at Silverstone. With the three amigos and The Stig all taking turns to drive, knocking a half-million pound Mosler off the circuit didn’t stop them from finishing the race.
Ford Transit Nurburgring
It was this film where Sabine Schmitz attempts to take a Transit van around the Nurburgring in under 10 minutes that made her one of my driving heroes. While she might not have achieved what she set out to, the way she drove in order to get a time of 10 minutes and 8 seconds out of that van astonishes me even to this day.
British Bulldogs In A Criminal’s Mitsubishi Evo
Using a 500 horsepower Mitsubishi Evo confiscated from a peculiar criminal, Jeremy Clarkson reenacted the classic playground game of British Bulldogs with the help of the British Army. The result was utter carnage.
Ken Block’s First Appearance
Some people drive like they’re conducing a great automotive symphony of perfectly executed actions and consequences. Ken Block is one of those people, and in his first Top Gear appearance, he showed the world the brilliance of Gymkhana.
Bugatti Veyron vs McLaren F1
Everybody knows the Bugatti Veyron is quite capable of comprehensively annihilating the McLaren F1 in a drag race. So in this race, Mr Hammond in the Veyron lets The Stig in the McLaren get off to a decent head start. Then, the Bugatti comes in hot pursuit.
Ayrton Senna Tribute Film
While Top Gear has been known to make people cry with laughter, in this piece about the great Ayrton Senna, the tears were flowing from sadness. Not only was the film a beautiful tribute to Ayrton, but it also saw Lewis Hamilton drive Ayrton’s old McLaren Formula 1 car.
McLaren P1, Porsche 918, & LaFerrari Tests
While each of these tests were done individually - technically meaning they’re three separate films - they were all equally as important to car enthusiasts.
Bugatti Chiron First Test
Another one from the revamped show, in which Chris Harris takes the Bugatti Chiron for a blast. After sampling the car’s straight line ability, Chris then turns off the traction control, and drifts it sideways through corners. For that alone, it’s worth a mention.
Bugatti Veyron vs Eurofighter Typhoon
Finally, I cannot go through a list of this nature without mentioning one of the greatest spectacles I’ve ever seen: the moment a Bugatti Veyron raced a Eurofighter Typhoon over 2 miles. Spoiler alert: the Veyron lost. But it was still wonderful to see. Perhaps if the race were redone today, a Chiron might just come out victorious.
But now I want to ask you guys: what’s your favourite Top Gear moment for petrolheads? Let me know in the comments.
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