After more than a year on the sidelines, Jeremy Clarkson is back with a new car show on Amazon Prime called “The Grand Tour”.
Clarkson, along with long-time co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May, launched “The Grand Tour” prior to the Thanksgiving holiday to rave reviews.
In fact, the first episode quickly became the most watch piece of programming in the history of Amazon Prime.
Incredibly, Amazon’s second-best performing show could only muster 1/3 of “The Grand Tour’s” ratings, The Wrap reported.
Recently, the bombastic TV host and long-time newspaper columnist sat down with Business Insider in New York while doing press for his new show. We had a brief chat about supercars, electric cars, and why James May should feel small and stupid.
Benjamin Zhang: Let’s talk about cars. One of our favourites this year has been the new Acura/Honda NSX.
Jeremy Clarkson: I’m annoyed to have to say that James May has driven it for the show, Richard Hammond has been in it, and I’ve only been looking at it. I’ve haven’t had a go in it, not yet, but I will very soon
It’s a very good looking car, I just hope its better than Honda’s Formula One effort. (In reference to Honda’s recent struggles as McLaren’s engine supplier in the Formula One racing series.)
BZ: In the past you haven’t been a huge of fan of Tesla. Has your thinking changed at all?
JC: No, because I will never be a fan plug-in electric cars. You have brown-outs in New York already when you have people charging (phones) up, and running lights. America is barely coping with its demand for electricity. Same in Britain. We’re 5% and you’re 16% under here in the US. So, when people start charging their cars up, where’s the power going to come?
You’ll have to build more power stations. Is that environmentally friendly?
The answer is hydrogen. But the more plug-in electric cars that come along, the less demand there is for carmakers to get off their asses and start making fuel cell cars — which is where we must go. We must have fuel cell cars. The world has to have them.
BZ: Back to something more traditional. What are your thoughts on the new Ferrari 488 GTB? Is it an awesome car or a turbocharged abomination?
JC: The 488 is fabulous car — make no mistake about that. And anyone who owns a 458 ( The 488’s predecessor) now would feel small and stupid because they bought the wrong car… James May.
BZ: Yes, James May was extolling the merits of his Ferrari 458 Speciale earlier today.
JC: Yes I know, he’s the man who once drove it 26 mph. He’d certainly never go any faster than that.
Ferrari — difficult company to deal with, but extremely good cars when you get ahold of them. They are really, really good. In fact, I know of nothing, really, as a driver’s machine that gets close to that.
BZ: What about McLaren?
JC: It does, but it’s got these extremely clever electronic roll bars and matches Ferrari in terms of all of the outright figures. But I don’t know. There’s a fizz, James May calls it, (that you feel) when you drive a Ferrari. I know what he means and you just don’t get that from a McLaren. The spirit of (long-time McLaren boss and well-known neat-freak) Ron Dennis is in every single thing you touch in there.
BZ: Not for much longer I guess.
JC: Yes, I know and that’s slightly amazing. (Dennis was removed from is position of McLaren Technology Group’s CEO last month)
There’s this slightly antiseptic feel to the (McLaren). You know when you see someone with really neat hair and you want to lean over and just do that. (Clarkson stretches his arm out and pretends to mess up my hair.) It’s what you want to do to a McLaren. You want to just rub mud on its face. It would make the car better and more human.
BZ: On that note, what do you think of the new generation Audi A4?
JC: I haven’t bothered with it. The last Audi I drove was the TT, which was excellent. I drive a different car every week, why the bloody hell would I make one of them an A4.
BZ: Well, what about American cars? Have they gotten any better in your opinion?
JC: Yeah, much better. The new Corvettes are truly fantastic. You couldn’t possibly have one in Europe because you’d look like a moron. But, it’s a fabulous car. In fact, the last two generations have been extremely impressive.
BZ: Even for everyday road use?
JC: Yeah. Very very good. And I’d also say that, for the same exact reasons I was discussing with you on the McLaren, the Mustang is also a really good car.
We a drove the Roush one in the opening scene (of the first episode) and that was a really good car.
BZ: You had a (Henrik Fisker-designed, modified Mustang) Rocket as well right?
JC: Yeah, but the Roush was better. The Roush was the best of those three.
BZ: Even better than the Shelby GT350?
JC: I thought so. The last Roush I drove — based on the last model Mustang — was (on the track) at Willow Springs. I was just absolutely bowled over by it. Roush are really good. Never met them. Don’t even know who they are or where they are, but I’ve driven two of their cars now and both of them have been incredibly impressive.
BZ: Thank you very much.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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