SHANE Jacobson is a busy man. As well as hosting Top Gear
Australia, he plays mine survivor Brant Webb in Beaconsfield, about the Tasmanian mine collapse, appears in the upcoming feature film
Surviving Georgia, has produced and narrated a series on Foxtel called
Rock Soldiers, and is the voice of Santa in the animated feature,
But the one thing that puzzles him is how anyone could classify his role on Top Gear as ‘‘ work’’.
‘‘ There’s not a bad part to it,’’ Jacobson says, laughing.
‘‘ It’s like someone says ‘ can we pay you to eat food plus sit on the ferris wheel?’. You’d say ‘ Of course you can and if you want to call it a job, away you go’.
‘‘ It’s an adult playground, a whole bunch of grown-up people carrying on like kids.
‘‘ I just don’t consider it a job. When I spoke to my manager and agent, I said: ‘ This is just me being documented doing my hobby’.
‘‘ You can call it what you like, call me a presenter, but this is just me doing what I enjoy.’’
Jacobson [ pictured] believes one of the things that made the original UK Top Gear so popular is the longstanding chemistry between presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.
While the Aussie team is some way from establishing that sort of rapport, Jacobson believes they’re on the same track.
‘‘ The one thing everyone enjoys about the UK show is the relationship between Jeremy, James and Richard and it’s the same with Steve [ Pizzati], Ewen [ Page] and me, we get along really well,’’ he says. ‘‘ We’ve got a common interest.
‘‘ This season it’s the first time ever in Top Gear Australia that the same hosts have come back, so we truly know each other.
‘‘ We talked during the last series about whether the chemistry is as good as the UK, but of course it can’t be because they’ve been together for about 15 years.
‘‘ But we have a ball. I had so much fun this season, more than last season because we are like mates who have backpacked together.’’
Jacobson describes himself as a car enthusiast and won’t buy into the famous Australian Holden v Ford rivalry. But with a giggle he admits: ‘‘ I do appear to have quite a slant towards Holden, I’ll admit.
‘‘ I’ve got an EH Holden, an HJ Kingswood, an HQ ute and I drive a Holden V8 and if you think there’s a pattern in that, it’s up to you.
‘‘ But I have a VW Kombi camper as well. And a rally car.
‘‘ But if I was going to get a hot rod it would probably be a Ford and there are a couple of Fords I’d like to buy in time because, obviously, my car collection is incomplete.’’
While Jacobson describes the new season as containing the usual mayhem – challenges, tests, dune buggy racing and a segment he swears will prove V8s can solve the world’s problems – it was a Holden that stood out for him: the Holden Efijy, a concept car that is a modern take on the old FJ and which won a design award in the US, beating the Americans at their own game.
‘‘ It’s the only one of its kind in the world and there will never be another one,’’ Jacobson says, clearly awed.
‘‘ Ewen got to drive that one but I got to sit in it. I wasn’t actually part of the story but I raced down to Williamstown just to see it because this car is the most amazing thing I’ve put my eyes on. I just love it.
‘‘ You don’t have to be a motoring enthusiast to look at it and realise it’s something special. We gave that car the respect it deserves.’’
But he admits: ‘‘ There are other cars, it has to be said, that don’t get the respect they deserve.’’