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Chris Harris (journalist)

Christopher James "Chris" Harris (born 20 January 1975 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire) is a British automotive journalist, racing driver and television presenter.[1] Harris has worked as a reviewer, writer and editor for many automotive magazines, both in print and digital, including Evo, Autocar and Jalopnik.[2][3] He has presented numerous television and YouTube series through NBCSN and DRIVE.

Chris Harris
Chris Harris (journalist).jpg
Harris at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show
Born
Christopher James Harris

(1975-01-20) 20 January 1975 (age 44)
Alma materClifton College
OccupationJournalist, racing driver, presenter
Years active2002–present

From 2017, Harris has been one of the three main presenters of Top Gear, after previously making regular appearances throughout the twenty-third series in 2016.[4] He has his own YouTube Channel, Chris Harris on Cars, in which he and Neil Carey produce and film their own automotive reviews and content. On 28 June 2016, the Chris Harris on Cars web series was moved from YouTube to the official Top Gear website and in July 2016, Chris Harris on Cars was launched on BBC America.[5]

JournalismEdit

Harris began his career in the automotive industry working for Autocar magazine,[2] performing various menial labour tasks, or, as he himself describes it, "cleaning ashtrays".[6] Eventually, he was promoted to an official road-test editor position within Autocar magazine and gained recognition and credibility as a journalist by writing many automotive reviews, as well as a regular opinion column.[2] At Autocar magazine, Harris earned the nickname of "Monkey", a reference to an unseen character "Monkey" Harris in Only Fools and Horses.[7] In 2008, Harris left Autocar magazine to co-found a new web-based digital platform called Drivers Republic. A year later, the enterprise ceased operations. In a statement, Drivers Republic explained the abrupt termination was due to "differences in our vision about future priorities". Immediately after the shutdown, Harris joined Evo magazine as a writer / reviewer, publishing his first article there on 12 October 2009.[8] His features for Evo magazine were published every few months until 21 December 2011,[8] and he resumed writing for Evo magazine regularly on 10 April 2015.[8]

Subsequently, Chris Harris created an opinion and review YouTube series in partnership with /DRIVE. This new series aired weekly (starting in early 2012) on /DRIVE's YouTube channel, called /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS.[9] Each episode featured a different car, either owned by Harris, or given to /DRIVE temporarily from the manufacturer. The series greatly expanded /DRIVE's viewership, with 104 videos together amassing over 3,500,000 views in two years.[10] After two years of hosting automotive videos, Harris left the network in 2014 to create his own YouTube channel. He maintained a positive relationship with /DRIVE, remaining "a close friend of the /DRIVE brand".[11][12][13]

On 27 October 2014,[14] Harris' YouTube channel, Chris Harris on Cars, was created. Harris partnered with longtime colleague and cameraman / editor Neil Carey and still shoots all Chris Harris on Cars (commonly abbreviated "CHOC") independently. Chris Harris on Cars has over 350,000 YouTube subscribers and nearly 30,000,000 views. In addition, on 6 November 2014, Harris began writing for Jalopnik,[12] an online automotive blog administrated by Kinja. Harris also has since partnered with /DRIVE through NBCSN and now appears on American television channel NBCSN, reviewing cars and partaking in automotive-related activities with other hosts, on a regular basis.

TelevisionEdit

In February 2016, Harris officially joined the new cast of Top Gear.[15] Harris served as a recurring presenter for the television show in 2016, but was promoted to a main presenter following the resignation of Chris Evans. From the twenty-fourth series, he presented the series alongside co-hosts Matt LeBlanc and Rory Reid.[16] As of the twenty-seventh series, he hosts the show alongside Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness.[17]

In 2016 Harris's web series, Chris Harris On Cars, was absorbed by the BBC.

Motor racingEdit

 
A Porsche 911 Carrera Cup car, similar to the Porsche 911 Carrera Cup that Chris Harris drove.

Harris has had an extensive racing career.[1] He won his first race in a Formula Palmer Audi in 2000.[18] Some of the racing cars he has driven include a Porsche 911 Cup, Renault Sport R.S. 01,[1] Aston Martin Vantage GT12,[1] Van Diemen FF1600, Rover SD1 and a Jaguar E-Type.[19] He has also raced in endurance races like the 24 Hours Nürburgring in 2010 and 2015.[1] He was on the Glickenhaus team for 2016, but their car was crashed during a practice session.[20] Harris often makes videos about the races he is attempting: sometimes teaching basic race techniques and other times simply sharing his experiences.[14]

24 Hours Nürburgring resultsEdit

Year Final Position Car Races Team
2010 4th Porsche 911 GT3 RS 1 Porsche
2015 DNF Aston Martin Vantage GT12 1 Aston Martin
2016 DNF Glickenhaus P4/5 Competizione 1 Glickenhaus

Harris often discuss technical racing terms in his non-racing focused videos. Harris also emphasises the importance of driving and racing safety in many of his videos, especially when teaching techniques like drifting.[21]

Blancpain GT Series Endurance Amateur Cup resultsEdit

Year Team Car MNZ
 
SIL
 
LEC
 
SPA
 
NÜR
 
Points Position
6hrs 12hrs 24hrs
2016 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 Ret 40 32 61 53 54 34 48 6th
2017 Garage 59 McLaren 650S GT3 NC

Acquisitions and fundingEdit

AcquisitionsEdit

While Chris Harris has owned several exotic cars, such as a Ferrari FF,[22] most of the cars Harris reviews are given to him by manufacturers. Manufacturers often give automotive journalists press cars,[23] in the hope that a reviewer will give the marques new car a positive review and therefore boost the car's sales. Harris receives many press cars, sometimes for extended periods of time.[24] Harris has even received cars for up to six months, such as an Audi RS 6.[24] Harris is often characterised as passionate and comical in his reviews of press cars, saying in one review of the Audi RS 6; "life is incomplete without you".[24]

FundingEdit

In Harris's early career, magazines such as Autocar and Evo paid him for his writing as a journalist. As his career progressed, Harris began to branch out on his own. Throughout the production of /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS on the /DRIVE YouTube channel, he depended partially on sponsorship from various brands and through YouTube advertising revenue. Eventually, the /DRIVE channel switched partially to /DRIVE+, a paid subscription channel.[25] In his current production series, Chris Harris on Cars, Harris supports both himself and cameraman/editor Neil Carey.[26] Occasionally, Harris posts videos featuring sponsored content, from brands like Pirelli.[27] He also receives compensation from NBCSN for his regular television series, /DRIVE.

ControversiesEdit

FerrariEdit

Harris was banned from reviewing Ferrari cars on 2 February 2011,[28] after writing an article titled, "How Ferrari Spins". In his article, he criticised the firm for trying "to win every test (review) at any cost"[29] and called it a "profoundly irritating"[29] brand. He also gave his opinion that an automotive journalist is forced to please Ferrari with a positive review in order to maintain a relationship with the brand. Though he was technically banned from reviewing Ferrari cars, Harris was still able to review several Ferraris unofficially. In late 2013, Harris and Ferrari reconciled,[30] and he has since (officially) reviewed many Ferrari cars.

LamborghiniEdit

In 2014, Harris was banned from reviewing Lamborghini cars, because of an article written by Harris, titled "Lamborghinis Are The Perfect Cars For People Who Can't Drive", in which he criticised many characteristics of the Lamborghini brand, saying their "future is bleak".[31] Harris stated that the brand "can't support its looks with adequate (driving) dynamics".[31] He also notes several Lamborghini malfunctions: in one case, as he was driving, "the brakes (on the Lamborghini) caught fire".[31] Consequently, Lamborghini ended the relationship with Harris.[32] Harris has recently (as of December 2017) started reviewing Lamborghinis again by driving the Lamborghini Huracán under his Chris Harris Drives brand hosted by Top Gear.[33]

Personal lifeEdit

Harris lives in Brockweir, Monmouthshire with his wife Lois and their three children.

FilmographyEdit

Television
Year Title Role Notes
2014-2018 /Drive on NBCSN Presenter 22 episodes
2015 Fifth Gear 1 episode
2016 Apex: The Story of the Hypercar One-off
2016-present Top Gear 5 series (27 episodes)
2016-2017 Extra Gear 2 series (13 episodes)
2016 Chris Harris on Cars 1 series (7 episodes)
2018 Good Morning Britain Guest 1 episode
2018-2019 The One Show 2 episodes
2019 Insert Name Here Participant 1 episode

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Chris Harris - Racing career profile - Driver Database". www.driverdb.com. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Drifting, Racing & Reviewing. A Look At Chris Harris". Gearheads. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Chris Harris". Kinja.com. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  4. ^ Blumsom, Amy (4 July 2016). "Top Gear finale: Matt LeBlanc shone but where were the women?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Top Gear Is Giving Chris Harris His Own Drifty, Tire-Smokey Online Series". 14 June 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Chris Harris – The man behind the wheel « CAR magazine Blog". www.carmagblog.co.za. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Why Chris Harris is a perfect fit for Top Gear | Autocar". www.autocar.co.uk. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "Chris Harris". Evo. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  9. ^ "PHer presents YouTube channel | PistonHeads". www.pistonheads.com. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  10. ^ "/CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Chris Harris Steers Away from /Drive to Open His Own YouTube Channel". Carscoops. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Chris Harris's Jalopnik Column, On Jalopnik". Jalopnik. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Statement from Chris Harris". Chris Harris. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Chris Harris on Cars". YouTube. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Meet your new Top Gear presenters!". 11 February 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  16. ^ BBC Entertainment News (6 March 2017). "Top Gear: What did the critics think of the new series?". BBC. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  17. ^ "McGuinness and Flintoff join Top Gear". BBC News. 22 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Chris Harris at the Ring 24 hours". Evo. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Six Hours of Spa, 18 to 20 September 2015". www.ris-timing.be. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  20. ^ "Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus prepares for the Nurburgring 24 Hours on three-car debut | Andreas Simonsen | A Swedish Race Driver". www.andreassimonsen.com. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  21. ^ Harris, Chris. "How To Drift, BMW M235i". Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  22. ^ Ramsey, Jonathon. "Chris Harris reviews his personal, two-year-old Ferrari FF [w/video]". Autoblog. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  23. ^ "The Truth About Press Cars". Jalopnik. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  24. ^ a b c "174mph and room for the dog. RS6 is the ultimate all-rounder, says Chris Harris". Goodwood Road & Racing. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  25. ^ "Ask /DRIVE Anything About Its New Subscription Channel On YouTube". /DRIVE. Archived from the original on 12 November 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  26. ^ "Support Chris Harris creating Videos". Patreon. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  27. ^ Harris, Chris. "Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R tyre test". Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  28. ^ "This is the only way Chris Harris is allowed to test drive a Ferrari". Jalopnik. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  29. ^ a b "How Ferrari Spins". Jalopnik. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  30. ^ Gooderham, Michael (26 October 2013). "Small Blog V8: Chris Harris Is Allowed To Drive Ferraris Again. This Is A Good Thing". Small Blog V8. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  31. ^ a b c "Lamborghinis Are The Perfect Cars For People Who Can't Drive". Jalopnik. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  32. ^ "chris harris on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  33. ^ "The Lamborghini Huracan Performante - Chris Harris Drives - Top Gear". Youtube. Retrieved 21 December 2017.

External linksEdit