When I was a teenager, one of my dream jobs was to be one of the hosts on either Mythbusters or Top Gear. Conduct crazy experiments? Drive fast cars with reckless abandon? Get paid for it? Who didn’t want to be Adam Savage or Jeremy Clarkson?
Believe it or not, Top Gear is returning for its 24th season. In the driver and passenger seats are Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid and if the trailer above is any indication, the show promises tons of automobile hijinks and incredible driving adventures in Kazakhstan and what looks like the Isle of Man. We had a chance to chat with Reid before the show’s premiere on BBC Player, 9 March.
Which car made the biggest mark on you this series?
The London taxi I drove during our high miler test in Kazakhstan will always have a special place in my heart. I’ve never been a fan of black cabs – I’d always thought they were among the worst cars on the planet, but this TX1 acquitted itself so well that I have a newfound respect for the things.
Tell us about Kazakhstan. How cold was it and what was the weirdest thing that you did or saw?
I can’t remember the exact temperature. Possibly about minus 14 degrees Celsius. All I know is that the heating in my car refused to work half the time, which meant the bottles of water I had for the journey froze solid. The weirdest thing I saw was goat corpse polo. It has another name I can’t pronounce. Basically men on horseback play a version of polo, but instead of hitting a ball with a stick, they try to throw the dead body of a goat into holes at each end of a pitch. I would try to explain the rules further, but I really don’t think there are any.
What was the strangest thing that you ate whilst filming or refused to eat?
A pig’s face. And brain. And ears. Let’s just say that didn’t go down well.
What was it like filming with Sabine at her home track?
Believe the hype. Sabine really is the queen around the Nürburgring, and she does things with cars around that track that scarcely seem possible. I managed to keep my lunch down (just) and picked up a few tips along the way.
What’s been the funniest moment on set so far?
Watching Chris Harris attempt to drift an Alfa Romeo through the narrowest of gaps. I won’t spoil it for you, and I really shouldn’t laugh, but I nearly fell out of my chair.
What has been your biggest car challenge to date? On or off screen.
Learning to drive a boat that’s also a car, and then racing a multi-million-pound yacht through rough seas. Talk about pressure. And terror.
If you had an unlimited budget what would be your dream car?
Probably the Bugatti Chiron. I didn’t like the look of them at first, but the design has really grown on me and the performance speaks for itself.