HOT AND BOTH­ERED

We watch help­lessly as a one-off con­cept goes up in flames Is­sue 183 – this month in 2008

Top Gear (UK) - - INTAKE -

This was never go­ing to be a nor­mal day, but it starts in­nocu­ously enough. A ner­vous TopGear jour­nal­ist stand­ing around on a wind-swept air­field, wait­ing while men clev­erer than us fid­dle with and prime a priceless con­cept car – one that just hap­pens to be a full-blown, 460bhp triple-ro­tor, LMP2 racer un­der­neath.

Stig ap­pears from nowhere, as he gen­er­ally likes to do, and goes first, rip­ping around the air­field send­ing up a huge rooster tail of dust in his wake. Bill Thomas is next and spends the fol­low­ing hour fir­ing the car up and down the tar­mac un­der the watch­ful eye of the Fu­rai sup­port team, works driver Mark Tice­hurst and the lo­cal fire crew.

Job done, Bill re­tires to write his words, while pho­tog­ra­pher Lee Brim­ble snaps another few fast runs, de­ter­mined to make the most of this exclusive op­por­tu­nity… and to cap­ture the blue cone of flame that shoots out the ex­haust. End of the run­way, Tice­hurst turns the car and there it is, a lick of fire at the bot­tom of the en­gine bay, and a ter­ri­ble noise to boot. But Tice­hurst has no idea, so we honk and wave and scream and even­tu­ally he gets the mes­sage and jumps out just as the flames, fanned by a strong wind, take hold. The fire crew ar­rives and tries in vain to put it out, but the high-pres­sure hoses sim­ply rip the body­work from its skele­ton. Lots of heads in hands.

The worst part? We had to keep it se­cret for five years un­til al­lowed to tell the full story in our 20th an­niver­sary is­sue in 2013. Drama of the high­est or­der, but a piece of TG his­tory we’d re­ally rather forget.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.