BMW News

As "The Grand Tour," Amazon Prime's spiritual successor to the BBC's "Top Gear" when it starred Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May prepares to debut its second season on December 8, 2018, the show's producers have released videos demonstrating the difficulty the boys had finding a new test driver.

In the show's first season, cars were driven on the test track by American stock car driver Mike Skinner. That experiment, thankfully, lasted only through the first season. No offense to Skinner, who is a NASCAR truck series champion and once started on the pole at the Daytona 500, but it just didn't seem a good fit since the vast majority of cars being tested were foreign-built sports cars and sports sedans.

Anyway, with Skinner gone, The Grand Tour had to make a production out of finding a replacement, whether or not there was ever any question as to whom that replacement would be.

As the story—or script—goes, each of the principals brought a candidate to audition for the test driver position. Clarkson introduced Formula 1 driver Mark Webber, whose audition consisted of driving a Porsche, and then a Mercedes-Benz. Webber was racing a Porsche at the time, so consider that when you see the results.

Hammond's candidate was next to audition. The driver was a stunt man whom Hammond believed was fearless, precise, and fast. Smart was not a prerequisite, apparently.

That left the driver brought in by James May, who figured "drive it like you stole it" was the style they should look for in a test driver. This candidate was purported to be a car thief. May's driver got in the BMW M4 CS, took off, and turned right at the first corner. You can watch what happened next.

Yes, all three of the auditions were contrived and predictable, but we think they are fun to watch. The first season of The Grand Tour had its good moments. We are still waiting for the kind of near-impossible treks we enjoyed on Top Gear, like driving to the North Pole, or driving up a volcano, or driving to the source of the Nile. Perhaps those of us who enjoy our Amazon Prime membership at least in part by watching the antics of Clarkson, Hammond, and May will be rewarded when The Grand Tour second season premieres on December 8th.—Scott Blazey

[Photos and videos courtesy of Amazon.]