No slouches, these Top Gear US presenters. While our lot use the downtime between series to do things like race model trains in sleepy Devon villages, Tanner Foust is busily filling in his spare time competing in various Rallycross events. And doing rather well.
Last week he overcame a dislocated shoulder to take first place in round two of the Global Rallycross series in Washington, and this Bank Holiday he popped over to our neck of the woods – Lydden Hill – for the opening round of the European Rallycross series.
Unfortunately, his rather mental 600bhp Ford Fiesta (quicker 0-60 than a Grand Prix car) struggled on the second day, and he had to settle for eighth. Still, we’d hazard a guess that’s better than we’d have done.
Rowan Horncastle braved the heat to grab a quick chat with our man to see how filming is going for Top Gear US’ second series (it’s out later this year on the History Channel).
So are you enjoying Top Gear US so far?
Top Gear US was a lot of fun. My highlights had to be Alaska looking for America’s best pick-up truck, as I thought at some points we were close to dying. But all the challenges are incredible on Top Gear and what you see is real. I also loved racing the parachutists in the Ford F150 Raptor, and when do you get to race a skier down a mountain in a car, apart from on Top Gear?
Pleased with the reaction to it all?
It is hard as there have been Top Gear spin-offs in other countries and people think you are always trying to emulate the UK show. There was a sense of pressure initially because the guys over here do it so well. Jeremy, Hammond and May are awesome; they have been doing it a long time and have a really good dynamic. But the format of Top Gear has evolved over time and works really well all around the world. Although the format is the same as the UK show, the three of us on Top Gear USA are different. We put our own spin on Top Gear to make sure it works in our culture. As the season went on we really gelled and got a lot better at doing it.
And what do you think of our three presenters in the UK?
In one word? Jeremy: extreme. James: not extreme. Hammond: wicked. He is the short one so I think we have something in common – but he is shorter than me.
The second series is coming later this year, right?
Series two? It’s crazy. I can’t tell you too much but I can say that the directors and producers are trying their best to kill three presenters in cars while all sniggering behind the cameras. As for challenges – I can’t tell you anything. But we have been in a swamp.
Oh, and if you haven’t encountered Rallycross before, this is it:
(Thanks to Rowan from Motormorph.com for the pictures and his time this weekend)