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So where is the new test track for our friends, Jeremy, James and the Hamster? It’s RAF Wroughton, just outside of Swindon, which hasn’t been used by the Royal Air Force for decades now. It still has two fully-maintained runways, along with a few hangars, as well as an old lady’s house. These days, it also houses a science museum, a karting track (!), and now, The Grand Tour.
Whereas the old Top Gear test track was simply known as the Top Gear test track, The Grand Tour is calling this iteration “the Eboladrome,” because it’s shaped like Ebola. Clarkson referred to its location as “top secret,” but the trivia feed on Amazon said that “if you’re quite interested, it’s near Swindon.”
The show apparently filmed there back in October, according to local news outlet Swindon24. Our first look at it came last night, with new non-Stig and former NASCAR driver Mike Skinner thrashing a BMW M2 around the track.
The once-and-current Top Gear test track was at Dunsfold Aerodrome, also a former RAF base, just outside Surrey.
After a disappointing revamped 23rd Season of BBC’s Top Gear and an agonizingly long wait, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May finally returned in their brand-new and obscenely well-funded Amazon Prime motoring show, The Grand Tour. And it just picked up right where the trio’s Top Gear narrative ended.
To many of us, all we ever wanted out of The Grand Tour was a proper return to form from what the Trio’s Top Gear show used to be. For others, we were hoping it would give the hosts and producer Andy Wilman a chance to try something new. Some freedom to explore new concepts, the ability to do things they never could do on a BBC hour-long show.
They didn’t. The first episode of The Grand Tour was a fun return to form, but for the most part, it was nothing we hadn’t seen before.
The main narrative of Episode One was the trio finally getting their hands on the “Holy Trinity” of hypercars: The La Ferrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918. That’s exactly what they had been trying to do on Top Gearbefore Jeremy Clarkson ruined everything over a cold-cut.
After the first show, you won’t wonder how in the heck Amazon could be reportedly spending $5 million per episode.
Here’s why: its unappealing name Grand Tour refers to the fact that the studio segment anchoring the BBC version has been replaced by a huge tent which will be placed in a different country each week. Episode 1 has the tent and the audience in Dry Rabbit Lake in the Mojave Desert in California. (That’s in the middle of nowhere, I assure you). Next week, Johannesburg, South Africa. That much relocation gotta cost. Also, the show has its own racetrack (which we’re told passes next to an undetonated World War II bomb).
Wait, there’s more! The show is filmed Ultra HD, which means hypercars exploding around tracks positively breathtaking. Great start guys!
Mercedes-AMG is coming to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2017.
Mercedes-Benz USA and Mercedes-AMG unveiled their plans on Wednesday morning to join the IMSA WeatherTech Championship. Riley Motorsports will race two Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars in the GT Daytona class.
One of the team’s cars will run as AMG-Team Riley Motorsports, and the other as WeatherTech Racing.
Additional teams are expected to race the Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars as customer teams.
“We are thrilled to see the three-pointed star compete in North America’s premier endurance racing series in 2017,” said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “Our Mercedes-AMG GT3 race car has already proven itself in worldwide competition and should quickly become a fan favorite. We are very excited about our prospects for the 2017 racing season.”
Mazda confirmed a two-car Daytona Prototype international (DPi) program at the LA Auto Show on Wednesday and unveiled its new race car, which will compete full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype class beginning in 2017.
The South Florida-based SpeedSource Race Engineering will manage the two-car program on behalf of Mazda Motorsports. The pair of Mazda RT24-P race cars will be driven by Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez, Tom Long and Joel Miller.
Mazda’s new DPi program is the next chapter in a lengthy history of prototype racing in IMSA. The manufacturer has fielded a two-car, factory-supported team since the inception of the WeatherTech Championship after previously supporting prototype and GT race cars in both the American Le Mans Series and GRAND-AM. Most recently, the manufacturer utilized a Lola LM P2 chassis and four-cylinder, turbocharged engine in the WeatherTech Championship.
“This is a huge moment for Mazda Motorsports and the entire Mazda family,” said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports North America. “To have a car which features Mazda design language at the top level of our motorsports program is meaningful for us as a brand. We believe we have the right team, the right drivers and the right chassis to win races and championships.
he new DPi car — dubbed the “Mazda RT24-P” in a nod to the manufacturer’s “Mazda Road to 24” driver development program — will use the Mazda MZ-2.0T four-cylinder, turbocharged engine producing approximately 600 horsepower and a Riley/Multimatic prototype chassis with specially designed Mazda bodywork. The bodywork utilizes Mazda’s KODO-Soul of Motion design philosophy and will include elements such as body contours and a five-point Mazda grille.