Revved up!

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Top Gear’s trio of presenters – Chris Harris, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuiness – are speeding to your screen with Season 31 of car chaos

Revved up!

It’s Top Gear time!

Season 31 of the world’s most famous car review show is back on telly and that means one thing: Chaos and carnage on the roads!

The show’s hosts – car guru journalist Chris Harris, ex-international cricketer Freddie Flintoff, and actor-comedian Paddy McGuiness – are buckled in and bumbling their way through challenges. Everything from racing around Formula One racetracks, to driving the worst cars imaginable around a foreign country… nothing’s off limits as the guys bicker and laugh their way through.

We asked them to pop the bonnet on making the 5-episode season...

Watch BBC Brit

Floor it!

How did you approach filming Season 31 with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?

Freddie: I think we've been challenged a little bit on this one because of the lack of travel abroad. You (shows) have to be a bit more creative about what we could do in our own countries. So, we pushed the boundaries a little bit more and it's been fun, to be honest. That’s not to say that we’re not ready to go abroad again. We’ve been restricted, but we've been so lucky that we've had the chance to do what we've done (this season).

So...being more creative with challenges?

Freddie: Probably one of the more ridiculous ones, and the one which I enjoyed most, we had electric cars and caravans (episode 2). We went somewhere really remote with these things, and the challenge includes eating chillies. Every lap, you have to eat hotter chillies. It’s just crazy. One person embarrassed himself, and I'm sure you can pick out who (pointing to Paddy), but honestly, when you watch that, it’s like nothing I’ve seen.

Chris: That was one that was quite ridiculous, and there's another one we had where we had to drive, but we had to get as close as possible to a speed that had been specified by the producers (without a speedometer). If we were too far off, there was a punishment. But if we actually hit this speed, something went off in the car that you really didn't want to. The idea of trying to guess a speed in a vehicle that you’re not familiar with. The whole thing was so brilliantly fraught that it reminded you how vulnerable you can feel in a car.

Was there a challenge you looked at and simply refused?

Paddy: There was one, it started alright, it just didn't end well. You’ll know it when you watch it!

Top Gear is famous for hypercar tests…

Freddie: We’re lacking a bit of hypercar, in the truest sense of the word, this season, actually. There should’ve been a hypercar but there isn't.

Chris: We've got a Lamborghini Huracan STO. I know that it isn't right out there in terms of 1,000 horsepower and everything else, but if we want Lamborghini to deliver certain things, that is one of the conditions. It’s a great car and so beautiful. We've got a McLaren 720, the Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. When you see it in the flesh, that's got more presence than any hypercar ever seen. That thing, it came in your rear-view mirror, you’d just drive off the motorway.

Watch Top Gear S31, Thursdays from 25 November on BBC Brit (DStv channel 120) at 20:00

What are you driving currently as your personal car?

Freddie: We’ve got a Range Rover for a family car with my wife. I'm using a Ford Raptor which is huge. It's not really designed for British roads. Everyone gets out of your way, and I find that I'm at the petrol station a lot at a time, but I'm absolutely loving it. Chris is wanting to borrow it…

Chris: So I've got a Porsche 911 GT3 Touring. That's my daily car, which I never thought I'd say out loud in public because it's ridiculous. That's my dream car and I get to drive it every day. I adore it, and I've got lots of other rubbish and actually, I’ve just now bought a 1988 Lancia Delta Integrale E, the 8 valve. It's got the arches, but hasn't got the spoiler on the back. Everyone wants 16 valve but the 8 drives really sweetly, and it's the catalytic converter model from Switzerland, so it's lacking a bit of power.

Watch Top Gear S31, Thursdays from 25 November on BBC Brit (DStv channel 120) at 20:00

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