Top Gear Thursday: Birmingham’s ‘Top Gear Live’ Begins Tomorrow

Preparations are underway for 'Top Gear Live'.

•Ready for Top Gear Live? Well, you better hurry. It opens tomorrow and runs through the weekend in Birmingham (that’s England, NOT Alabama).

Okay, if you haven’t made arrangements yet, you probably won’t make it to Birmingham tomorrow, but you’ve still got plenty of time to get to the London leg of the tour, which begins Nov. 24. And here’s a video interview with Chad McQueen, Bullitt actor Steve McQueen’s son, about a part of the show that you would have missed if you’d only gone to Birmingham:

And while we’re talking about Top Gear Live, let’s not forget some of the other places Top Gear has visited live, like Oslo:

• Liverpool loves Hammond.

In a new poll, Richard Hammond was named the city’s number one “Star in a Car,” leaving his Top Gear co-hosts in the proverbial dust.

Thirty percent of Liverpudlian motorists voted for Hammond, while Jeremy Clarkson and James May clocked in with nine and seven percent, respectively.

Formula One racer Jenson Button came in second place, with 26 percent.

According to Clickliverpool.com, fans like Hammond’s sense of fun and his easygoing nature.

• Presumably all Ken Block ever wanted to do was to be a successful driver on the Monster World Rally Team. Well, he got his wish, but it might have been because of some Faustian deal with … The Stig.

“Poor Ken Block,” writes Top Gear Australia. “Just when you think you have it nailed as one of the most spectacular drivers in the world, along comes the most famous white-suited man in the universe to spoil your party.” The two kings of the road are in Top Gear Australia’s magazine together, but you can see them in the following Monster World Rally video as well:

The video prompted one commenter, TheCaseem, to write: “Some say The Stig tried to clone himself but something went horribly wrong and Ken Block was made.”

• The new series, Top Gear Top 40, is almost here – it’s so close you can feel it. Well, maybe you can’t actually feel it, but you can imagine your head smashing into your front window and cracking open with the force of a high-impact collision, as you watch this week’s Top 40 Exclusive. This week, it’s #43, in which Jeremy takes a Renault Twingo in places it was never designed to go. And we don’t mean Belfast. Also, this may be a spoiler, but the Twingo doesn’t float like a VW Beetle.


Top Gear Top 40 premieres on November 28.

James has done a test drive on the new BMW M5. Overall, he finds it to be “sublime” but has a few reservations.

James test-driving the BMW M5.

The car’s transmission has a feature that stops the engine when you keep your foot on the brake after coming to a full stop. If you stop but then start up again, the car assumes that you’re in slow-moving traffic. James is amused by this, but only for a little while.

“Anyway, what is the point of this?” he asks. “Saving the world? You may as well take a Kleenex to a tanker spill, if that’s what you’re worried about. Buy the one with the small engine and stop spoiling this one for me.”