‘Top Gear’s Chris Harris Previews the Thrills & Stunts of Season 28
One of many thrills in this new season of car-crazy British import Top Gear is a speed contest that pits test driver and journalist Chris Harris (above), in a McLaren Speedtail, against a Royal Air Force fighter jet. On the runway, the hypercar hits 160 mph and, due to turbulence, the front lifts up simultaneously with the plane’s nose!
As a comic touch, the signal that started the competition (airing September 13) was distinctly old-fashioned: “It was like drag racing in the ’50s — a hundred-million-dollar jet being told to go by a woman waving a dishcloth!” Harris says, laughing.
Top Gear packs in lots of superlative and silly moments, with nonstop jokes and banter from Harris, a self-described “pit bull and car geek,” and his fellow cohosts, athlete Freddie Flintoff and comedian Paddy McGuinness. Season 28 is only the second with this trio, and the mix is working. “Fred has a grit and a determination I’ve not seen in anyone else, and Paddy is fantastically funny and has such good radar for when to draw the line,” Harris says.
The bulk of every episode shows the lads each buying a car on a limited budget and setting off on an adventure together; then producers throw in surprise challenges. Sunday, a British summer holiday in used convertibles somehow lands Harris in a T. rex suit on a golf driving range. And in one of the series’ daring stunts, they attempt to bungee jump a car off a 540-foot dam in Switzerland — with Flintoff at the wheel. Buckle up!
Top Gear, Sundays, 8/7c, BBC America