Set to premiere next month on basic cable in the U.S., the Americanized version of the hit British series Top Gear, will feature three new hosts and slightly different format best suited for the American automobile consumer market.
The theme seems to be NASCAR oriented, while the hosts don various incarnations of wool plaid shirts and NASCAR tee-shirts as an attempt to align themselves with the car buying public. The first episode features a test drive of a four door sedan with the US restrictor chip removed. That would be "saloon" instead of sedan for our British friends. During the flat out test drive, the driver appeared to get excited when the car ran above 160 mph. Something any properly designed car with a V8 should do.
Adam Corolla of U.S. "Man Show" fame, along with two other cable television personalities, we can't in all good conscience call them stars, wil make up the trio, though no advance word if the rest of the format will match the Top Gear show in the U.K. There was some speculation that Tom Cruize might stand in as the Stig character, being short enough, posting the best time in the U.K. "reasonably priced car" and capabable of steering a car up on two wheels.
Critics who have seen the U.K. version hope that the new show does not play down to the average car buyer and their interests. "They have Motorweek for that train wreck", said one critic. Much like watching shows that feature the rich and famous, the American Public, much like everyone else who might be a gear head or "petrol" head, wants to see cars that they could never hope to own, traveling at speeds they could never hope to match.
"Tough part about that", says associate producer Alan Meekman, "We don't have a safe high speed roadway in the US. Everything carries a speed limit, and cars routinely run the risk of animals, beer cans, and various and sundry other things being strewn across the roadway. It will be hard to show what some of these cars can actually do. Maybe a couple of explosions and a bikini clad mechanic might help."
Done then. I would tune in for that.