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Insider Report: ‘Top Gear’ pits Rocket Man vs. Rally Car

Published January 17, 2013

A big key to the success of the Top Gear franchise is the team’s ability to think up absurd contests of speed. We have seen airport equipment races, home built car/boat hybrids and all manner of car versus anything else type of challenges. Add in some truly great personalities and they have the recipe. For years, the BBC did their best to prevent Internet users from using their content. Finally though, they have warmed to the idea and have shared more than 500 videos on their YouTube channel. In this clip from Season 8, Hammond rides shotgun with Finnish rally star Toni Gardemeister in a Skoda WRC as they race against flying rocket man Yves Rossy.

As crazy as the race is, the best part is listening to Richard Hammond blathering on about the rather insane ride he is taking. Personality makes all the difference!

How times have changed: Remember the time that Jackie Stewart said “A Racecar Is Like A Woman”?

Ah the ’70s. A time before political correctness. A time when racing drivers played as hard as they raced. A time before “The Flying Scot” became a knight. 1973 was the year in which the three-time Formula 1 World Champion, Sir Jackie Stewart, uttered the following words, which likely continue to haunt him every time he and his Mrs. have an argument.

“very sensitive. It’s very nervous. It’s very highly strung. Sometimes it responds very nicely. Sometimes it responds very viciously. Sometimes, to get the best out of it, you have to coax it and almost caress it to do the things you want it to do. And even after you’ve done all these things and the car is doing exactly as you want it to do, it will immediately and with no warning change its mind and do something very suddenly and very abruptly.”

In today’s world, I think we all agree that those would be considered fighting words!

Magic Trick: How to make a Ford pickup disappear

At auto shows like Detroit, it is nothing new for car manufacturers to make vehicles appear through a curtain of smoke. Making one disappear isn’t quite so easy. Unless it is a Ford SVT Lightning pickup that has been massaged by Bullet Motorsports. Then, it is just a case of setting up a few cameras and opening the throttle a bit. Oh, and don’t forget the broom. You will need it after this magic trick!

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C spied by Autoweek reader

Having been absent from the North American market since the mid-’90s, the Alfa Romeo brand is set to return some time in 2014. The brand was actually expected in 2012, but Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne has decreed that the cars must be just right before they arrive here. An Autoweek reader sent in a video of a heavily disguised Alfa Romeo 4C on the streets of Michigan, which would indicate that perhaps the car is getting close.

1967 24 Hours of Daytona – A Ferrari Sweep

From my friend Lou Galanos comes this wonderful home video, taken at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona. Shot by a gent named Mario Levetto, the film includes shots of Lorenzo Bandini and Ludovico Scarfiotti who came in first and second in the race. The third spot on the podium went to Pedro Rodriguez, giving Ferrari a 1-2-3 sweep. It is bits of history like this that have me so excited to cover this year’s race.

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