Before we took delivery of ‘our’ Ford Mustang GT longtermer, it was filmed by the Grand Tour team. In fact, we graciously handed it back to Ford’s friendly PR people for a couple of weeks, who sent it back to Clarkson and co for extra filming. Aren’t we nice?
Through the wonders of social media, we have a good idea of what Clarkson, Hammond and May have been up to. We know that as well as the aforementioned Mustang, the Grand Tour is set to feature a Fiesta ST200 and Focus RS from the Ford stable.
Meanwhile, a film shot in Italy will feature a brilliantly bizarre triple test with Clarkson in an Aston Martin DB11, Hammond in a Dodge Challenger Hellcat and James May in a Rolls-Royce Dawn.
We must not forget the LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder film, and another triple test will feature an Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, Zenos E10 S and Mazda MX-5. Other cars the trio have been driving include a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Lamborghini LP580-2, Alfa Romeo Giulua Quadrifoglio and BMW M4 GTS. Oh, and there’ll be some Reliant Robin action, by the looks of it.
‘The Grand Tour’ isn’t just a name that (no doubt intentionally) wittily mirrors the initials of Top Gear - it refers to the fact the show will tour the world in a massive tent-based studio. The Tour has already made its first stop in Johannesburg, and will be pitching up in California and somewhere in Germany soon. For each stop, Amazon will open up an application process for tickets.
As we reported recently, legal issues stop Clarkson and co from replicating any of Top Gear’s most well known bits. The BBC still owns the rights to Top Gear and its many facets, so that means Grand Tour can’t have a Stig, a test track, a laptime board or even a section called ‘The News’. Apparently, there was even debate as to whether or not James May could say “oh cock”, and it was reported that they couldn’t even describe a filming location in Namibia as ‘beautiful’ as it would have been too similar to a scene from a previous Top Gear episode.
Setting aside some of the sillier aspects of these legal issues though, it strikes us a good thing that so many of Top Gear’s established features will be left behind in the trio’s new show. Up to the end, that ‘era’ of the show was arguably getting quite tired, so The Grand Tour will provide a very welcome shake-up.
While there’s still no official release date, the show is known to be starting in autumn. That officially starts late September, and since we’re in September now and there still isn’t a proper start date, we’re thinking it’ll be early October.
EDIT: It has since been revealed that the series will start on 18 November (yep, we were a little off with ‘early October), with new episodes arriving every Friday from that point.
Amazon has ordered 36 episodes of The Grand Tour, to be split into three series. As keen maths enthusiasts will have worked out, that’s 12 episodes a series. More series will almost certainly be ordered, too.
What made Top Gear under those three so good was the amazing chemistry between the presenters, and the resulting humour extracted from that chemistry. While a proper trailer for the new show has been conspicuously absent thus far, we have been given a constant supply of entertaining behind-the-scenes clips, showing that the boys have most definitely still got it.
Top Gear was - and still is - a globetrotting affair, and The Grand Tour is no different. So far we know that the show has been filmed in the UK, Namibia, South Africa, USA, Barbados, Portugal, Italy and Morocco.
We know for sure that The Grand Tour is going to be enormously expensive to produce. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said it, and so have both Richard Hammond and James May. If you want to go into specifics though, the budget for the whole 36 episode run is widely reported to be around £160 million. In other words, £4.5 million an episode, about four times the average Top Gear episode. That crazy budget should result in a spectacular set of films.
Excited? You should be.