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Sorry, you can’t have the Lego Top Gear rally car for Christmas

Lego Top Gear Rally Car

Lego is making its LA Auto Show debut with the launch of a new Top Gear rally car.

The Lego Technic App Controlled Top Gear Rally Car – to use its full and rather long name – is the first set launched in partnership by the two global brands. It costs £124.99.

But there’s bad news if you had visions of racing it around the living room on Christmas morning: the rally car doesn’t go on sale until 26 December.

Still, at least that means the skirting boards and the cat are safe for another day. Controlling this after one too many Christmas gins could be a challenge.

Lego Technic Top Gear Rally Car

The Top Gear rally car is controlled via the Lego Technic Control+ smartphone app and contains functions such as steering, multi-touch control and gyro control.

A total of 463 Lego elements have been used, including a large motor, an extra large motor and a Bluetooth controlled smart hub. Batteries (and the Stig) aren’t included.

Lego Technic sets are designed for more experienced builders – finishing the Top Gear car won’t be a five-minute job. Lego says it’s suitable for ages 9+, but we wonder how many mums and dads will disappear to the shed for a few hours on Boxing Day. 

Lego Top Gear Car

Jason Easy, head of licensing UK at BBC Studios, said: “It’s  exciting to have collaborated with Lego Technic on this and it’s a very natural fit for the Top Gear brand.  The Lego Technic Top Gear Rally Car is the result of several months hard work from the Lego and BBC Studios teams and we can’t wait to see it on the  shelves soon.”

Niels Henrik Horsted, marketing director for Lego Technic added: “We are really excited to finally reveal the app-controlled Lego Technic Top Gear Rally Car.

“The car offers a challenging build for ages 9+ who are into authentic play and intrigued about how things work. The Control+ app gives an extensive play experience with several different play modes and exciting challenges.”

Top Gear ‘reasonably-priced car’ is up for sale

Top Gear reasonably priced carOne of Top Gear’s ‘reasonably-priced’ cars is going up for sale, and you could get your hands on it – potentially for a reasonable price.

The 2013 Vauxhall Astra Tech Line was in service on the TV show between 2013 and 2015. Famous faces to have wrangled it around the famous Dunsfold circuit include Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Jackman and Kiefer Sutherland.

The Astra‘s two-year stint took place at the last iteration of Top Gear’s crescendo, before Jeremy Clarkson’s ‘fracas’ brought matters to a temporary halt. 

Top Gear reasonably priced car

The full list of celebrities who tried their hand at a quick lap is displayed on the Astra’s bonnet, and the car comes equipped as it was for track-duty.

Needless to say, the bucket seats and full rollcage aren’t options offered at Vauxhall dealers. Both were additions made for the safety of the celebrities as they tried for Top Gear glory.

Top Gear reasonably priced car

As for condition? It’s definitely had a hard life. It will have been looked after, though – despite all of Clarkson’s jokes about ‘the unique way the BBC is funded’.

If not a museum piece, it could be the perfect buy for a track-day novice wanting something basic to learn the ropes, and a great conversation-piece in the pit lane.

The auction via Collecting Cars isn’t online yet, but is ‘coming soon’ according to the company’s website.

The Astra isn’t the only bit of classic Top Gear fodder for sale either. Jeremy Clarkson’s specially-prepared rallycross BMW from Series 18 will be joining it.

Freddie Flintoff crashes jet-powered tricycle while filming Top Gear

Freddie Flintoff Top Gear

Top Gear presenter and cricket star Freddie Flintoff has crashed at more than 100mph while filming.

The accident occurred at Elvington Airfield – the same place Richard Hammond had a 288mph jet car crash 13 years ago.

While Hammond’s accident left him seriously injured and in a coma for two weeks, Flintoff is relatively unscathed. He told the Daily Mail I’m absolutely fine and was back filming today”.

“I go to great lengths to make sure I do well in Top Gear drag races, but on this occasion I went a few lengths too far. It will look more ridiculous than dangerous when you see it on TV.”

Freddie Flintoff Top Gear

A Top Gear spokesman reiterated that no injuries were sustained. He also confirmed that the entire film, including the mishap, would be shown on TV: “Fans will see for themselves when we show the sequence in full in the next series”.

Looking at the vehicle Freddie was piloting – a jet-powered tricycle that you lie on top of – it would be fair to call this a lucky escape.

Save for a race suit, gloves, boots and a helmet, Flintoff had virtually no crash protection.

Freddie Flintoff Top Gear

Freddie Flintoff and Paddie McGuinness joined Chris Harris for the previous series of Top Gear after the departure of Friends star Matt LeBlanc and motoring journalist Rory Reid.

The new line-up (pictured courtesy of Top Gear‘s Facebook page) received encouraging praise, after a rocky few years following the departure of Clarkson, Hammond and May. It’s not yet known when Series 28 of Top Gear will air on television.

Buy this Camaro V8 muscle car and meet its Top Gear owner

Chris Harris Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

You could buy the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 currently owned by Top Gear presenter Chris Harris. The V8 muscle car will be auctioned online by Collecting Cars.

Harris has owned the Camaro for just under two years, having acquired it in autumn 2017. Since then, he’s added more than 7,500 miles to its odometer, which now shows 7,962 miles. Refreshing to see the car has been used, then…

Hot laps with Chris Harris

Chris Harris Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

This is an auction with a difference, even for rare track-prepped muscle car. The winning bidder not only receives the keys to a Z/28, he or she also gets hot laps around a track with Chris Harris.

If you’re thinking that a bowtie-badged 7.0-litre coupe is an odd choice for a motoring journalist with a well-documented penchant for bewinged Porsches, you’re not wrong.

The Z/28 is a bit special, though; Collecting Cars reckons there are just five in the UK. Think of it as Chevy’s answer to the Porsche 911 GT3. It’s 130kg lighter than the next fastest Camaro and has ceramic brakes, track-focused ‘Cup 2’ tyres and race-spec suspension.

Chris Harris Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

That 7.0-litre LS7 all-alloy dry-sump V8 is a ripper, too, with 505hp and know-how from Corvette racing. The Z/28 is so hardcore that even air conditioning was optional. Now, that does sound like more of a ‘Chris Harris’ car.

The lucky buyer will be pleased to note that the Cup 2 tyres it currently wears are in reasonable health.

At the time of writing, bidding has started at £30,000 (around $37,000) with just over two weeks to go. If you fancy a slice of the very finest track-honed American muscle, there are nine others ‘watching’ the auction, so get ready to flex that credit card.

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Where to see the latest Top Gear challenge cars

Six new cars join the Top Gear display at Beaulieu

Cars from the current series of Top Gear are now on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu.

In a press release that describes Chris Harris as a ‘veteran’ – we’re sure @harrismonkey is chuffed with that – Beaulieu says that six cars have joined the World of Top Gear display.

So that’s the Triumph Spitfire, Subaru Brat and Nissan Leaf from the 24 Minutes of Le Mansfield, the Overtaker hearse, and the Austin Allegro and Matra Bagheera from the Borneo jungle.

The Allegro and Bagheera starred in the latest episode, with Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness tasked with buying rare but cheap classic cars. Upon their return to the UK, the cars were painted in rainbow colours, as a protest against Brunei’s stance on homosexuality.

Let the monkey see the nuts

The Overtaker on Top Gear

The bright blue Overtaker started life as a Daimer hearse before McGuinness set about creating the ultimate secondhand family car. The Overtaker took part in a series of events before Flintoff unceremoniously rolled it during an off-road challenge.

When it comes to crashing Top Gear cars, Flintoff has form. During the 24 Minutes of Le Mansfield, the former cricketer and king of the jungle crashed his Subaru Brat ‘hybrid’ into a market stall.

‘Veteran’ Chris Harris drove an electric Triumph Spitfire, while McGuiness took to the streets in a modified Nissan Leaf.

Let the crown see the jewels

New cars for World of Top Gear display

The World of Top Gear display has a number of former challenge vehicles, including the SsangYacht, Dampervan, Reliant Robin Space Shuttle and the indestructible Toyota Hilux.

Visitors to Beaulieu can view the Top Gear cars as part of their general admission ticket, with advance tickets costing £19.50 for adults and £9.50 for children. Under 5s go free. For more ticket information visit the Beaulieu website.

In 2017, we caught up with Chris Harris ahead of the relaunch of the World of Top Gear exhibition. You can watch the interview here:

Top Gear series 26 trailer: breaking cars and… breaking wind?

Top Gear season 26 trailer

“Bless you Monkey Harris!” we exclaimed (in our minds) as we watched the new trailer for season 26 of Top Gear, in which Chris Harris lets off some flatulence in the back of a Bentley.

Thankfully, by all accounts, the new series contains automotive emissions of a different kind, which is a relief for us all. The Ferrari GTC4 Lusso vs Panamera test, as seen during the first episode, is featured, including some serious Ferrari boot abuse…

The new Aston Martin Vantage gets a good spanking, as does the GT2 RS – we’ve seen a good amount of the latter getting tested in prior trailers. We also see some more glimpses of the legendary Bentley Speed 8 getting a good thrashing. More Bentley-flavoured action comes in the form of the new Continental GT getting rallied.

Finally, of course, cars getting broken. Large old luxury saloons getting hands-free drag-raced, and Tuk Tuks rolling downhill. Overall, Top Gear series 26 looks like a lot of fun, as long as Harris hasn’t stunk the place out…

New 2019 Top Gear preview: what to expect from series 26

Top Gear Season 26 preview

A new series of Top Gear will get underway this Sunday (February 10), and it looks as fast-paced and absurd as we’d hoped. It will be the final season with Matt LeBlanc and Rory Reid, before Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuiness take their places.

Will it be the perfect send-off? Well, plenty of fast cars and hare-brained challenges are planned, which sounds like a proper Top Gear-style goodbye to us.

Top Gear series 26 – the cars

Firstly, it wouldn’t be TG without the latest fast cars getting a strong-arming around the Dunsfold aerodrome. In series 26, expect the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, Porsche Panamera and Ferrari GTC4 Lusso to feel the tyre burn. We spy a new Aston Martin Vantage facing off against a Mercedes-AMG GT in the trailer, too.

Also coming up, a new Bentley Continental GT goes rallying, then races on-track against the Le Mans-winning Speed 8. A couple of new Rolls-Royces – the Phantom and Cullinan – are put through their paces. And, perhaps most exciting of all, a new Fiat Panda 4×4 faces off against a Suzuki Ignis off-road.

Top Gear series 26: the challenges

As usual, there will be plenty of quirky and exciting challenges. Expect to see the boys racing in luxury boats of yesteryear. We also spy something resembling a Bentley Turbo bucking and wallowing as it spins out.

Some Tuk Tuk-flavoured adventures feature, too: expect to see amphibious conversions, road tripping and, by the looks of it, one rolling down a mountain. Whoops…

All in all, it looks quintessentially TG. We wonder if this latest series will have us lamenting the loss of Reid and LeBlanc. 

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Matt LeBlanc set to leave BBC Top Gear

Matt LeBlanc will leave Top Gear after next series

Matt LeBlanc set to leave BBC Top GearIt looked like BBC had finally found a presenting lineup that was working for Top Gear, but now it seems set to change again.

Matt LeBlanc has announced that the next series of Top Gear will be the last one to feature him, with BBC executives already claiming to have ‘great plans’ for his replacement come 2019.

The American actor stated that, although he has found working on the BBC Two show ‘great fun’, the extensive travelling and time commitment has taken away too much of the time with friends and family. 

LeBlanc joined the show in 2016, following the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May in the wake of the steak fracas. LeBlanc was initially partnered with Chris Evans, and the US star was arguably the highlight of the challenging 23rd series of the hit show.

Matt LeBlanc set to leave BBC Top Gear

Once Chris Evans made his departure, LeBlanc was featured alongside Chris Harris and Rory Reid, with a fledgling ‘bromance’ that appeared to be recreating the glory days of Top Gear again. 

His time on Top Gear has not been without controversy, with his involvement in a segment which involved Ken Block’s modified ‘Hoonigan’ Mustang performing drifts near the Cenotaph in London. The tabloids were whipped into a frenzy, with the BBC forced to issue an apology.

The loss of LeBlanc from the show is notable in that he had proved himself to be more than just a successful comedic actor. As a man with a genuine passion for cars, and the bravery to own a scary Porsche 911 GT2 RS, LeBlanc was knowledgeable enough to move beyond simply being typecast as ‘Joey from Friends’ to viewers.

The fourth series of Top Gear to feature LeBlanc will air later this year, but the speculation about his replacement will undoubtedly begin much sooner. 

Opinion: Not a fan of Top Gear? Turn it off

 

Did you catch the first episode of the new series of Top Gear last night? What did you think of it?

OK, now we’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you what I think. Only I’m not going to because – sorry, Mr Editor – I don’t think it matters what I think. My brief was to write an opinion piece on the series 25 curtain-raiser, but really, what’s the point?

Sure, the BBC will be monitoring the ratings, hoping to improve on the 1.9 million or so who tuned in to watch the final episode of series 24, which was down from 2.8 million for the season premiere.

To provide some context, 14 million watched an episode of Blue Planet II in October 2017, while 10 million tuned in to watch some fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Heck, even the first episode of the ill-fated Chris Evans series managed a peak of 4.7 million.

Unlike just about every other Top Gear preview or review over the past couple of years, I’ve managed to get this far without mentioning the C word. That’s ‘Clarkson’, in case you were wondering.

Drawing comparisons with the Clarkson era of Top Gear – not to mention The Grand Tour – is inevitable, but can’t we just move on and embrace the variety? The fact is, we’ve never had it so good.

I’ve been a fan of Top Gear since the days of Tony Mason’s hat, Chris Goffey’s beard, Jezza’s afro and Michelle Newman’s Alice band. Back then, Top Gear was your only real hope of anything motoring-related on TV, unless something made the news, such as yet another strike at Austin Rover or Lancia’s rust scandal.

Today, aside from the two flagship motoring shows, there’s a seemingly infinite number of channels to choose from, some of which offer car-based entertainment. Wheeler Dealers and Car SOS are two of the best, but there are others of varying degrees of quality.

Then there’s the increasing number of YouTube channels, which allow you to select from a menu to suit just about every taste. From the brilliantly eccentric HubNut to Jonny Smith’s relaunched and excellent Carpervert, you’ll find enough content to last a lifetime of lunchtimes.

If you didn’t enjoy Top Gear, that’s fine. But can we put an end to the Blur/Oasis-like TG/TGT comparisons? I’m yet to stumble across a television without an ‘off’ button, so why don’t you just switch off your television set and go out and do something less boring instead?

For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the first episode, but I’ll spare you the root and branch examination of the complete 60 minutes. Besides, I couldn’t tell you anything about the celebrity bit as I was too busy making a cuppa.

I’ll still find more interest in a Chris Goffey review of an Escort XR3 or watching Clarkson’s trying to squeeze his hair beneath the roofline of a Porsche 968, but that’s just me. The vast majority of TV shows hold no interest, but I won’t waste your time or mine telling you how much I don’t enjoy them. 

Now if you don’t mind, I’m about to spend the next 50 minutes listening to the best album of the 1990s – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

Opinions, eh? Don’t you just love ’em?

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Series 25 of Top Gear

It’s back! Top Gear returns to our screens in the spring

Series 25 of Top Gear

It’s back… but not just yet. The BBC hasn’t confirmed the official air date for the next series of Top Gear, but with The Grand Tour finding its groove, the broadcaster will be keen to ensure it doesn’t get forgotten.

“The world’s biggest motoring show is back!” proclaims the press release, which appears to be a direct response to Jeremy Clarkson’s introduction to a recent episode of The Grand Tour, in which he declared it be “the world’s most exciting motoring show”.

But let’s not turn this series preview of Top Gear into a battle of handbags and a steak-infused fracas. Instead, let’s look forward to an old favourite returning to our screens on a Sunday evening. It’ll sure as hell be a welcome break from Strictly Come Ice Skating Midwives.

The BBC is calling it series 25 of Top Gear, which is a bit like the Premier League claiming there was no football before 1992. But, it is the 25th series since Clarkson and co. gave the show a much-needed reboot in 2002. Sorry Woollard, Goffey, Edmonds and Rippon.

So, what can we look forward to when Top Gear returns at some point in the spring? Quite a lot, if the teaser images and video are anything to go by. They have a lot to cram into six hour-long episodes.

The group tests look interesting, with Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid driving across Utah in a Ford Mustang GT350R, Jaguar F-Type SVR and McLaren 570GT, and tackling the Burghley Horse Trials in an Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Volvo XC60 and Range Rover Velar.

We’ll also see Chris Harris taking a sumo wrestler for a ride in Japan, Matt LeBlanc getting up to mischief with Ken Block (again), and Rory Reid dancing in a car.

“Who says we don’t do serious car reviews?” asks Matt LeBlanc at the beginning of the trailer, before we’re treated to 60 seconds of dirt, tyre smoke, hijinx and a Roller slamming into a fruit and veg stall. Oh, and not forgetting The Stig.

When is it back? Well, the final episode of series two of The Grand Tour airs on 16th February, so our guess would be 25th February at the earliest.

Clarkson, Hammond and May have hit some real high points in this series – the Lancia vs Audi feature is a good case in point – so the BBC has some catching up to do. Over to you, Le Blanc, Harris and Reid.

Top Gear series 25: preview gallery

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