Top Gear: Matt LeBlanc’s controversial Cenotaph stunt to air this weekend

Top Gear: Matt LeBlanc’s controversial Cenotaph stunt to air this weekend

It’s the controversial stunt that closed down parts of London and got the new series of Top Gear on the front pages of national newspapers for all the wrong reasons – and it’s set to be shown on BBC2 at 8pm this Sunday.

Ex-Friends star and Top Gear presenter Matt LeBlanc took the wheel of Ken Block’s ‘Hoonigan’ Ford Mustang and drifted around Central London landmarks including Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and – controversially – the Cenotaph.

Evans had to use his radio show to apologise for the stunt, saying: “The images on the front page of the papers today – it doesn’t matter what actually happened, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances were that could explain this away; what is important about this is what these images look like.

More Top Gear on Motoring Research

“They look entirely disrespectful, which of course was not, and would never be, the intention of the Top Gear team or Matt.

“These pictures were taken with a long-lens camera from, I believe Parliament Square, but the point is it does not look good at all, whatsoever.

“So, on behalf of the Top Gear team and Matt I would like to apologise unreservedly for what these images seem to portray.

“There’s been some very incendiary comments involved and written alongside these pictures and I completely understand all this furore.

“But the Top Gear team would never, ever do that. Retrospectively, it was unwise to be anywhere near the Cenotaph with this motor car. Again, we would like to unreservedly apologise for what these pictures seem to portray, which was never the intention of the Top Gear team.”

Evans originally said he felt it would be the wrong decision to show the scene in the show – so the Cenotaph stunt is likely to have been cut from episode three of the new series.

But expect to see LeBlanc ‘hooning’ around other parts of London – which police helped to close off while filming took place.

Chris Harris to make Top Gear debut

Chris Harris to make Top Gear debut

A relative unknown in the eyes of the general public, Chris Harris is a minor celeb amongst car enthusiasts for his epic car videos – and he’s finally making his Top Gear debut on this Sunday’s show.

So far, Harris has been fronting the iPlayer-only Extra Gear alongside fellow newbie Rory Reid, while Chris Evans has led the main show alongside Sabine Schmitz, Eddie Jordan and Matt LeBlanc.

But the pair are set to hit the mainstream on Sunday – as Harris tries out the savage Ferrari F12 TDF and Reid gets behind the wheel of the giant-slaying Focus RS.

The £339,000 F12 TDF is one of the most desirable Ferraris to come out of Maranello in recent years. Powered by a front-mounted 6.3-litre V12, output is boosted to 780hp (up from 741hp over the regular F12), meaning it’ll hit 62mph in a claimed 2.9 seconds. Top speed is quoted as ‘more than 211mph’.

Chris Harris is known for being handy behind the wheel, so expect lots of sidewaysness in Sunday’s show.

Meanwhile, Rory Reid will be driving the new hot hatch champion: the Ford Focus RS.

With a 350hp Mustang engine, the £31,000 Ford Focus RS comes with a ‘Drift mode’ and can cover 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. We described it as “a genuinely five-star hot hatch that takes its place alongside the Fiesta ST, Escort Cosworth and other notable fast Fords in the pantheon of greats” – we wonder what Reid will make of it.

Sabine Schmitz makes Chris Evans throw up in an Audi R8

Sabine Schmitz makes Chris Evans throw up in an Audi R8

While the pair are testing two of the hottest cars of 2016, Sabine will be giving Chris Evans a hot lap in the new Audi R8. And when we say hot, we mean quick enough to make Chris Evans vomit.

When asked why Chris Evans threw up following a passenger ride in the R8, Schmitz said: “I don’t know what was wrong, maybe he had a hangover! I think he had never done a lap on a passenger seat on a proper racetrack. This was a proper racetrack with a corkscrew and it’s hard on your belly.”

Tune into BBC2 on Sunday at 8pm to find out exactly what caused Evans to throw up after a spin with Sabine.

Web editor at Drives a 1983 Austin Metro. Tweet me @MR_AndrewBrady.

Pin It