Top Gear Thursday: Mark Your Calendars for February 4

Season 19…soon

We told you that Season 19 was coming. Now we can tell you when it’s coming:

Monday, February 4.

It’s the first time that a Top Gear series is scheduled to air in the U.S. just days after it shows in the U.K., where it begins on January 27. So get prepared for a trip to our continent that includes some quality time in Vegas (no way the boys could get in any trouble there, surely?), a race against fighter planes and a dramatic Mexican border chase. Also, our favorite British petrolheads will be heading to Africa, ostensibly to find the source of the Nile. And don’t forget a whole new season of Stars in Reasonably Priced Cars.

Here’s the BBC trailer for the new season:

The premiere episode, says the BBC, will consist of: Jeremy Clarkson building a car that’s even smaller than the famous Peel P50, James May testing the latest Bentley Continental GT Speed and Richard Hammond taking a spin in the Pagani Huayra hypercar. (The Hamster then gives The Stig a crack at it.) And the premiere’s Star in a Reasonably Price Car is Homeland Golden Globe winner Damian Lewis.

The fun starts Monday, February 4, 9/8c.

• Also coming soon: BBC America’s 2013 Rate My Ride contest. Last year’s competition was so awesome that we had no choice but to do it again this year. So comb your files for your best car photos and your brains for your best car memories and get ready to send them in starting February 5. Check back here for details.

In the meantime, take a look at last year’s winner:

Ben B’s 1970 Lotus Europa

• Holy gavels, Batman! The original version of the Batmobile in the ’60s television series was sold for $4.6 million last weekend at an auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Car customizer George Barris, who designed the Batmobile from the 1955 Ford Futura, put the car up for auction, reported BBC Autos, BBC America’s new website.

The car that drove collectors batty. (Barrett-Jackson/BBC Autos)

• The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has just released its annual list of the “greenest cars of 2013.” And the big news, says BBC Autos, is that a hybrid – not an electric – takes the No. 1 spot. The Toyota Prius C nabbed the top slot, while an electric car, the Honda Fit EV, followed closely behind.

The reason, by the way, that electric cars don’t just automatically shoot to the top of the list is that the council doesn’t just look at mpg and road performance, but also the environmental friendliness of the car’s construction, refueling and ultimate disposal.

• We like donuts as much as the next person. To be honest, whether they’re of the doughy or the rubber-burning variety we love them more than the next person. A lot more. So when TopGear.com found this video of one driver doing donuts in two cars simultaneously (yup, that’s what we said), even we had to put down our French crullers to take a look at it. Especially the part where the guy gets back in a car while it’s spinning in mid-donut.