The new series of Top Gear is yet to air – but already it’s making headlines and causing controversy. TV presenter and radio host Chris Evans is leading the show with his line-up of Clarkson-replacements – from Friends actor Matt LeBlanc to the lesser-known Rory Reid. But one presenter, while generating confused raises of eyebrows from non-car-geeks, couldn’t be more suited to more suited to the job in the eyes of petrolheads around the world. Chris Harris has been presenting videos about cars for years – and here is just a small selection of our favourites.
Ferrari F40 vs F50
Harris has developed an impressive enthusiast following through his videos. So much so that he often gets invited to drive cool cars. “The trouble is, almost all of those offers only allow me to drive that expensive car in a manner that wouldn’t look very good on video,” he explains in this clip. “So I tend not to accept them.
“But a few months back, a bloke said I could drive his Ferrari F40 and his F50, and he wanted me to drive them like I did all the cars in my videos.”
The result? One of our favourite films ever to be uploaded to YouTube. It shows Harris spanking an F40 and F50 around Anglesey race track, putting the prancing horses at extreme angles that only Harris can get away with.
Why I love my 2CV
While Chris Harris is better known for hooning exotic supercars, he isn’t only interested in cars with 500hp or more – as this video proves. Driving his beloved Citroen 2CV along British B-roads, Harris reaches V-max at around 45mph. And declares “I’m loving it… I have so much fun in this little car.”
With a 425cc engine (producing 12hp) and shabby bodywork, but a new chassis, Harris’s 1957 2CV is an early example with the original ‘ripple’ bonnet.
“I love the fact that it’s a complete antidote to all the modern stuff that I drive. It’s slow, but it’s enjoyable. I don’t feel hurried. I defy anyone to get angry when they’re driving a 2CV… you can’t, you are the slowest vehicle on the road.”
LaFerrari vs Porsche 918 vs McLaren P1
Back to the sort of video Harris is known for. And it was one of the biggest group tests to hit YouTube in 2015. More than 50 glorious minutes of the LaFerrari, Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 hypercars being driven hard around the Portico circuit, this video has been watched by 1.7 million people and counting.
Keen to prove that this is a scientific test, Harris fits each of the hypercard with the same Pirelli-supplied rubber and uses data-logging kit to compare track times. The result? You’ll have to watch the video to find out…
Is the Mazda MX-5 any good?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Mazda MX-5 is the best driver’s car you can get on a tight budget. Except Chris Harris hates it. In a blog he described it as driving “with all the precision of a boneless limb”, and even went as far as calling it “s**t”.
The internet was angry. So he swapped his Ferrari 599 with his cameraman’s first-generation MX-5 to find out exactly why it’s so popular. Did he change his mind about the MX-5? Well…
Shotgun in a Lancia Stratos and Delta S4
Chris Harris doesn’t normally do tyre launches. But when Pirelli invited him to test the new P7 Corsa Classic in Italy, the itinerary piqued his interest. The firm promised to lay on a Delta S4, 037, Stratos AND rally legends Markku Alén and Juha Kankkunen.
So that’s how he ended up being in the passenger seat of a Stratos next to Markku Alén. Although it’s unusual to see a Chris Harris video where he isn’t driving, Harris himself admits “there’s no point doing something yourself if there’s someone around who can do it so much better.”
The result is one of the most watched Chris Harris videos on YouTube, with nearly 2,000,000 views.