Top Gear Thursday: A Week of Loopy Records

China holds many obvious world records. It’s the world’s most populous country, with an estimated 1.3 billion people. It has the world’s largest currency holdings - in excess of $3 trillion last year. On the negative side, it creates more carbon emissions than any other country in the world – though it’s followed closely by the U.S, which has a much smaller population.

This week, TopGear.com noted a recent Chinese automotive record. Driver Li Yatao drove a 130 horsepower Youngman Lotus L5 Sportback in a vertical loop that measured 42 feet, 2.69 inches in diameter – a feat, Top Gear pointed out, that landed Li in the Guinness Book of World Records.

It’s not the only car-related record China holds, of course. The country overtook the U.S. in 2009 to become the world’s largest producer of cars – 17 million or so last year.

But China also holds some more, shall we say, specialized automotive distinctions.

In July of last year, China broke the record for tightest parallel parking – with just 24 centimeters space to spare. It’s a title China took from Germany, which had previously claimed the record with 26 centimeters just a few months earlier.

Efficient parallel parking is a useful skill in many parts of the world, but we don’t really know about the ability to drive on upright bottles. In fact, we don’t even know how they came up with that particular competitive category, but China holds the record for it. In Zhejiang, Li Guiwen drove his Toyota Camry over what appears to be 1,798 beer bottles. Or at least that’s what it looked like on YouTube:

• Speaking of world records, an interesting one came this week from northern California that might interest our friends at TopGear.com. However, this item starts not in the U.S. but in a picturesque Italian courtyard, where a  YouTube video captured a bright red Ferrari doing donuts, not a sight you see every day.

TopGear.com posted the video and asked readers: “If you’ve seen anything better, send it through your pipes.” And it turns out that this is the one week where we have seen something better – and, yes, we’ll be sure to send it on to our British colleagues. What is it? We came across not one but 75 cars doing simultaneous donuts on a Sonoma County raceway on Tuesday:

It looks like it’s a new world record. The San Jose Mercury News said that the previous record for the greatest number of cars spinning donuts at the same time was 57, and it was set in Queensland, Australia.

• Continuing on the subject of records, Jalopnik recently came across two – the website said that Norwegian race driver Mads Østberg, “the man with the world’s coolest name has now (unofficially) broken the record for the world’s longest jump on snow.” We know what you’re going to say – first, you can’t quantify the competition for the coolest name, and, second, the record that Østberg broke was unofficial, so there may really be no records here at all. But it’s still a cool (or rather, freezing) video:

• But you should forget the cold. It’s spring. And what better way to celebrate the vernal equinox than by sending out Top Gear eCards to all your friends? There’s one each for Jeremy, James, Richard and The Stig (“Some say that he’s illegal in 17 states,” the card reads. “All we know is, he’s called The Stig”). Then there’s one for the show itself, which reminds its recipients that the 18th season is upon us. The first episode premieres April 16 at 8/7c.

The Stig's eCard

 

• The anticipation continues to build for Richard Hammond’s Crash Course, which premieres after Top Gear on April 16 at 10/9c.

“It seems,” Motorward writes, “the Hamster has put all the experience he gained blowing up stuff for Top Gear into good use to destroy America!” Motor Trend said that the trailer “gives us a peek of what could happen if Hammond gets in over his head in the colonies.”

• Top Gear Live is in Scandinavia. Last week, Jeremy Clarkson and James May were in Stockholm, where a fan captured some car curling on video.

Next week, Top Gear Live heads to Copenhagen for shows from March 29 to April 1.