Top Gear Races
In Top Gear, a BBC motoring show, one of the show's regular features since 2002 is various forms of racing the presenters undertake, either against each other or against invited guests. The show has featured a number of epic races, where one of the presenters — Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, and occasionally The Stig — drives a car in a race against the others in another form of transport. These races typically involve Clarkson driving the car while Hammond and May take the same journey by combinations of plane, train, or ferry. May has said that the races are planned to be as close as possible. Of the long distance races so far, the car has won the vast majority of the races, with the exceptions of the cross-London epic, in which the car was beaten by a bicycle, a boat on the Thames and public transport; Ferrari Daytona vs. Powerboat, in which the boat won; and Shelby Mustang GT500 vs. High Speed Train, in which the train won.
- 1 Races
- 1.1 Aston Martin DB9 vs. French TGV – Distance 900 miles
- 1.2 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti vs. Passenger Jet – Distance 650 miles
- 1.3 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren vs. Cruise Ferry – Distance 1320 miles
- 1.4 Bugatti Veyron vs. Cessna 182 – Distance 813 miles
- 1.5 Polar Race – Toyota Hilux vs. Dog Sled – Distance Approx. 400 miles
- 1.6 London Race – Car vs. Bicycle vs. Boat vs. Public Transport – Distance 17 miles
- 1.7 Nissan GT-R vs. Japanese Public Transit System – Distance 355 miles
- 1.8 Economy Race to Blackpool – Jaguar XJ vs. VW Polo vs. Subaru Legacy – Distance 750 miles
- 1.9 Ferrari Daytona vs. Powerboat – Distance 206 miles
- 1.10 London to Edinburgh – Race to the North – Jaguar XK120 vs. Vincent Black Shadow vs. Tornado locomotive – Distance 378 miles
- 1.11 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 vs. French TGV – Distance 814 miles
- 1.12 Toyota Auris 1.8L vs. AC45 Sailing Boat – Distance 410 miles
- 1.13 St. Petersburg Race – Car vs. Bicycle vs. Hovercraft vs. Public Transport – Distance 18 miles
- 1.14 Arabian Peninsula Race – Car vs. Alternative "money no-object" transportation: Sports Bike, Private Jet, Luxury Car and Motorboat
- 2 Car versus... challenges
- 3 Small races
- 4 References
Aston Martin DB9 vs. French TGV – Distance 900 milesEdit
Series Four, Episode One
Clarkson drove an Aston Martin DB9 from the Dunsfold studio in Surrey to Monte Carlo, against Hammond and May who took the Eurostar and the French TGV. Hammond and May walked two miles to a bus stop, took a bus to Guildford railway station, and went on a train to London Waterloo. From there they took the Eurostar to Gare du Nord, the RER to Gare de Lyon, the French TGV to Nice, then another train to Monte Carlo. During the race, May compared the contest to the earlier Blue Train Races, won by a Rover Light Six and Bentley Speed Six against Le Train Bleu or The Blue Train. Winner: Car
Ferrari 612 Scaglietti vs. Passenger Jet – Distance 650 milesEdit
Series Five, Episode Eight
Clarkson tried to beat Hammond and May in a race from the Dunsfold studio in Surrey to Verbier, Switzerland. Clarkson drove a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. Hammond and May got a bus to Guildford, took a train to Woking, got a RailAir coach to Heathrow, and a plane to Geneva. After landing, Hammond and May took the train to Martigny and La Chable before getting on a coach to Verbier. This proved to be the closest Top Gear race so far, as Clarkson overtook Hammond and May on the main street of Verbier. Winner: Car
DVD Release: This race was released as part of the Top Gear: The Races DVD, albeit in a truncated form, with a running time of 10 minutes. It was a never included in a commercial release.
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren vs. Cruise Ferry – Distance 1320 milesEdit
Series Six, Episode Six
Hammond and May raced Clarkson (in a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren) from Heathrow airport to Oslo, Norway. May and Hammond flew to Newcastle, then took the ferry across the North Sea to Kristiansand, Norway and used a speedboat to get to Oslo. Clarkson, in the McLaren Mercedes, had to drive over 1,300 miles (about 2,100 km) through the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark (stopping to rest overnight), Sweden, and Norway. On the way from Kristiansand to Oslo, aspiring to their first epic race win, the engine on Hammond and May's speedboat burnt out while the back-up chase boat's hull was damaged—all while Hammond was getting seasick over the side of the boat—severely spoiling their lead. They had to land in an unknown town (Stavern, in Larvik), taking nearly a day to find a bus and get to the destination—leaving Clarkson to win the race, fly back to England, get home, and be halfway through supper before Hammond and May arrived at the destination. Winner: Car
DVD Release: This race was released as part of the Top Gear: The Races DVD, albeit in a truncated form, with a running time of 12 minutes. It was never included in a commercial release.
Bugatti Veyron vs. Cessna 182 – Distance 813 milesEdit
Series Seven, Episode Five
Clarkson (in a Bugatti Veyron) raced Hammond and May (in a Cessna 182) from Alba to Tower 42 in London to deliver a truffle. Hammond and May rode scooters to the local airport, and planned to fly directly to London, but had to fly via the French Riviera since the aircraft was not equipped to fly over mountains above 10,000 feet—in this case, the Swiss Alps. While catching up to Clarkson, May had to land in Lille, as he was not licensed to fly at night. From Lille, May & Hammond took the Eurostar to London, and then a bus for the final leg of the journey. Winner: Car
DVD Release: This race was released as part of the Top Gear: The Challenges 1 DVD. A much shorter version was included on the Top Gear: The Races DVD.
Polar Race – Toyota Hilux vs. Dog Sled – Distance Approx. 400 milesEdit
Series Nine, Episode Seven.
Clarkson and May drove a modified Toyota Hilux against Hammond, Matty McNair and a dog sled team in a race across the Canadian arctic. Clarkson and May won the race, and became part of the first successful attempt to drive a motor vehicle to the North Magnetic Pole. Winner: Car
DVD Release: A director's cut of this race was released on Blu-ray. The televised version was released as part of the Top Gear: The Great Adventures 1 DVD box set.
London Race – Car vs. Bicycle vs. Boat vs. Public Transport – Distance 17 milesEdit
Series Ten, Episode Five
May (in a Mercedes-Benz GL-Class) raced Hammond (on a Specialized Sirrus Limited hybrid bicycle), The Stig (using the London public transport system), and Clarkson (in a Cougar motorboat) from Kew across to London City Airport. The Stig started on a bus, then got on the Tube before taking the DLR. Hammond took the lead from the start, although traffic lights meant May remained close behind. The speed limit of 9mph on much of the River Thames put Clarkson firmly in last place. Congestion at Picadilly let Hammond shake off May, who was further slowed after the Metropolitan Police stopped him to check the camera car's permit. With Hammond 8 miles from the airport, Clarkson passed under Wandsworth Bridge, at which point the Thames had no speed limit. He therefore shot past May and the Stig, but was shocked to discover Hammond had still won by a fair margin. The Stig arrived a short while later, beating May by 15 minutes. Despite the result shown in the film, the presenters mockingly denied this outcome (by saying things such as Hammond crashing into railings and Clarkson's boat exploding), and insisted that May in the Mercedes-Benz won the race fairly. Winner: Bicycle
DVD Release: This race was released as part of the Season 10 box set. It was also released as part of the Top Gear: The Challenges 2 DVD.
Nissan GT-R vs. Japanese Public Transit System – Distance 355 milesEdit
Series Eleven, Episode Four
Clarkson drove a Nissan GT-R through Japan, from Hakui, Ishikawa to Mount Nokogiri, while Hammond and May took public transport—most notably the 168 mph Shinkansen. First they took a limited express train from Hakui to Kyoto, before getting on the bullet train to Shin-Yokohama, they then had to take the Yokohama Subway to Yokohama Station, where they got on the suburban train to Kurihama and caught the bus to the ferry. While in Tokyo, Clarkson accidentally turned off the satnav system in the GT-R and struggled to turn it back on as the system only spoke Japanese, costing him 45 minutes. By the time he had managed to turn it back on, Hammond and May had taken the lead. However, May and Hammond were temporarily separated when their train split. They eventually regrouped when Hammond asked May to hold the bus. May and Hammond then crossed Tokyo Bay on a ferry, from which they used folding bicycles (carried in their suitcases) to the cable car, which got them up to the top of Mount Nokogiri; however Clarkson had already made it to the summit, just 3 minutes before them. Winner: Car
DVD Release: This race was released as part of the Season 11 box set. It was also released as part of the Top Gear: The Challenges 3 DVD.
Economy Race to Blackpool – Jaguar XJ vs. VW Polo vs. Subaru Legacy – Distance 750 milesEdit
Series Twelve, Episode Four
With the team booked to switch on the famous Blackpool Illuminations, the three were presented with a challenge to determine which of them would get the honour of pulling the switch. This took the form of a race from Basel to Blackpool, taking a route of their choice and using any unmodified production car, the only restriction being that they could only use a single tank of fuel. All three presenters chose diesel vehicles – May a Subaru Legacy, Hammond a Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion, to the scorn of his compatriots, and Clarkson a Jaguar XJ. He had dismissed the race as pointless, since the figures indicated no production car at the time could make the distance, and therefore decided to "fail in style and comfort". Finally, the Stig was dropped off in Blackpool to pull the switch if no-one arrived.
Each presenter took different routes across France. Hammond opted for the shortest possible, while May added 30 miles to avoid mountains and several towns. Clarkson headed straight for the nearest motorway and drove "like a loony", heating seats, charging his phone and running the radio in the hope of emptying his fuel tank in France. After initially struggling with consumption, both Hammond and May realized their pace was too slow, and decided to pick up speed. May caught up with Hammond, and the two began an overtaking duel all the way to Calais, arriving 40 minutes behind Clarkson.
The presenters had also chosen different routes across England. Hammond again opted for the shortest, via the M1 and M6. May decided to avoid the risk of M6 traffic by heading along the M1 up to Leeds, then switching to the M62. Clarkson chose to use the M40, with his theoretical route changing to the M6 at Birmingham, although he was really trying to run out of fuel near his house. Despite his fuel-wasting, he passed Oxford with a considerable level remaining, and slowed down, finally taking the race seriously. When Hammond found out that Clarkson was still running, he picked up speed and overtook the Jaguar on the M6 toll. Given his near-empty tank, Clarkson decided to remain economical until his range reached 0, as Hammond's charge had reduced the BlueMotion's range drastically.
With May out of the running due to his slow speed and a trouble-free M6, Hammond's theoretical range reached 0. Once the Jaguar did the same, Clarkson accelerated to catch Hammond. However, his charge was too late, as Hammond was greeted with a police escort just outside Blackpool. Clarkson arrived less than a minute later. May did eventually finish, albeit 40 minutes after the celebration ended. With seconds to go before the switch-on, Richard—despite winning—claimed Jeremy should switch the light, and in the ensuing argument, the Stig pulled the switch. Afterwards, it was found Clarkson's car had 120 miles of fuel left, giving the Jaguar a range of nearly 900 miles. Hammond and May both conceded that despite the Polo arriving first, the Jaguar was to be declared the "real" winner. Winner: Jaguar XJ
DVD Release: This race was released as part of the Season 12 box set.
Ferrari Daytona vs. Powerboat – Distance 206 milesEdit
Series Twelve, Episode Five
Hammond drove a Ferrari Daytona against May and his co-driver in an XSR 48 powerboat from Portofino to Saint-Tropez. Both were stopped by the Italian police at different points to check documents, with Hammond having to follow the police to a nearby police station. This probably led May to winning the race. Winner: Boat
DVD Release: This race was released as part of the Season 12 box set. It was also released as part of the Top Gear: The Challenges 4 DVD.
London to Edinburgh – Race to the North – Jaguar XK120 vs. Vincent Black Shadow vs. Tornado locomotive – Distance 378 milesEdit
Series Thirteen, Episode One
On 25 April 2009, the BBC filmed a private charter train hauled by the brand new steam locomotive 60163 Tornado. Clarkson (on the train) raced May (in a 1949 Jaguar XK120) and Hammond (on a 1949 Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle) from London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley. Tornado completed the run in exactly 8 hours, with four stops for water, while May and Hammond were restricted to the A1 Road (as no motorways existed yet in 1949). Winner: Car
DVD Release: This race was released as part of the Season 13 box set. It was also released as part of the Top Gear: The Challenges 4 DVD.
Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 vs. French TGV – Distance 814 milesEdit
Series Nineteen, Episode Three (10 February 2013)
Clarkson raced Hammond and May from Wembley Stadium to the San Siro in Milan, where the winner would get a free ticket to watch AC Milan play Anderlecht in the UEFA Champions League. Clarkson however was restricted to any car he liked which cost no more than £35,000. He decided to drive a Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 while Hammond and May travelled by public transport. They took a combination of bus and commuter train to St. Pancras International, where they then took an early Eurostar train to Paris Gare du Nord. On arrival, they took a metro train across Paris to Gare de Lyon before taking a TGV to Milan. They then took the Milan Metro to Lotto Fiera before running to the stadium. With only one ticket up for grabs, Hammond and May raced each other to the finish line. May, who refused to run on television, produced a foldable bicycle out of his bag in hopes of outpacing his colleague. Hammond on foot was nonetheless faster and took the ticket. After the race Clarkson blamed French roadworks for losing him the race. This is the only Top Gear long-distance race in which car is beaten by public transport. Winner: Train
DVD Release: This race was released as part of the Season 19 box set.
Toyota Auris 1.8L vs. AC45 Sailing Boat – Distance 410 milesEdit
Series Twenty, Episode One
Clarkson tried to prove that fossil fuels are still superior to alternatives, and raced a blue 1.8L Toyota Auris against May in an AC45 Sailing Boat, helmed by Olympian Ben Ainslie, and crewed by America's Cup winners. The race was in New Zealand, from Fletcher Bay at the top of the Coromandel Peninsula to Spirits Bay in Northland.
When a baffled May questioned his choice of vehicle, Clarkson explained that it was a hire car, which he claimed made it the fastest in the world because he could redline it until he crashed it.
Clarkson had to drive south on the Coromandel Peninsula before he could turn north towards Northland, making his journey 410 miles, over May's direct route of 220 miles. During the race Clarkson heavily abused his car and rendered it undriveable after crashing into a stone wall to avoid a tractor. He was forced to stop, visit a hire car centre, and exchange his broken Auris for another – then hope that May did not notice that his car was now red. May was constantly battered by the rough seas, and lost his satellite phone during the race after being hit by a large wave.
Despite trying to make up ground by using 90 Mile Beach, Clarkson was beaten to the finish line by May, who had a lead of an hour over the car. Also, May noticed that the car was no longer blue at the end of the race. Winner: Sailing Boat
St. Petersburg Race – Car vs. Bicycle vs. Hovercraft vs. Public Transport – Distance 18 milesEdit
Series Twenty Two, Episode One
The presenters decide to redo the race they did in London between all of them, this time travelling across St. Petersburg. Clarkson selects a hovercraft, Hammond chooses a £9,000 (Pinarello Dogma F8) bicycle, May picks a Renault Twizy, and the Stig again relies on public transport. From the start, neither Hammond or Clarkson have it easy with their choice of transport. Clarkson found driving his hovercraft – which he called a Russian design of the presenters' Hovervan – to be quite difficult; along with his instruments and controls being in Russian, he could not keep the craft pointing forward or in a straight line. Meanwhile, Hammond, while managing to overtake and then be overtaken by May, ran afoul of the city's tramlines. Hammond caught a wheel in one of the rails and fell, shearing off the bicycle's derailleur and rendering it useless. The others continued racing and Hammond soon re-entered the race on a second bike, which was borrowed from a passer-by (who was given a lift to his work as compensation).
May, meanwhile, suffered no issues whatsoever, and so was able to enjoy the car he was driving. He remarked how he liked the fact that it was designed for European cities, having two seats in tandem, an electric engine, and scissor doors. However, as he reached the city-centre, he discovered that the city's streets and roads were much wider than he expected them to be. Clarkson, who managed to gain the lead despite the handling issues, soon hit the city-centre, where he attempted to use narrow, peaceful canals to avoid the heavy river traffic he encountered. Unfortunately for him, this led him towards low bridges instead, which required him to deflate the hovercraft's skirts repeatedly to squeeze under the bridges. Although his new bicycle was slower and less comfortable than his first mount, Hammond began to catch up to May and Clarkson.
Clarkson and Hammond soon reached the finish line, with Hammond coming in just moments after Clarkson, only to find that both had been beaten by May, who was waiting in hiding for them. While they commented that the car had redeemed itself in the race, they realised that one of them was missing. The Stig, who had suffered no major issues when using public transport, failed to finish in the end: he had spotted a Porsche 911 and was banging his helmet against the fence that protected it. Winner: Car
Arabian Peninsula Race – Car vs. Alternative "money no-object" transportation: Sports Bike, Private Jet, Luxury Car and MotorboatEdit
Series Twenty Four, Episode Four
Matt and Harris are competing against each other in a race from Dubai to a mountaintop hotel in Oman. Harris drives the Bugatti Chiron while Matt takes a combination of luxury transports: a motorboat, a luxury car, a private jet and a sports bike. Early in the race, Harris faced rush hour traffic while Matt was stuck on a 5-knot speed limit zone. As traffic cleared, Harris was escorted out of Dubai by the Dubai Police Force while Matt cleared the marina, enabling him to get the boat to speed before entering the second stage, which was being chauffeured in a Bentley Mulsanne EWB by the Stig's "Emirati cousin", but is stuck in Dubai's downtown district, falling 100 miles behind Harris. However, Harris was stuck immediately upon entering Oman as the Chiron had to be re-registered while Matt arrived at the airport to board the HondaJet to Muscat, enabling him to gain significant ground despite the 100-mile distance between Muscat and the finish line. Meanwhile, Harris attempts to take a shortcut through a network of alleyways at a town, slowing his progress significantly. In Muscat, Matt's entered the fourth and final stage of his journey, riding the Ducati 1299 Superleggera. At the final leg of the race, both entered the mountains from opposite direction, leading to a tense final sprint. Winner: Alternative "money no-object" transportation
Car versus... challengesEdit
- Car vs. aerobatics plane: Hammond presented a race between the Stig, in a Radical SR3, against British Aerobatic Champion Tom Cassells, in a CAP 232 Aerobatic Plane, around the Top Gear test track. Winner: Plane Series One, Episode Nine
- Car vs. racing pigeons: May used a Ford SportKa equipped with satellite navigation to compete against racing pigeons in a point-to-point race. Winner: Pigeons Series Four, Episode Four
- Car vs. snooker player: Ronnie O'Sullivan had to pot 14 snooker balls while his Mercedes-Benz SL500 was raced around the Top Gear test track by The Stig. Winner: Snooker Player Series Four, Episode Four
- Car vs. all-terrain skateboarder: Hammond presented a pair of races on the "Green Mile", a half-mile downhill course in Wales, between double world champion all-terrain skateboarder Tom Kirkman and a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII Group N rally car, and then a Bowler Wildcat, both driven by Ben Collins. Winner Race 1: Skateboarder; Race 2: Car Series Five, Episode Two
- Car vs. bobsleigh: May co-piloted a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution rally car driven by Henning Solberg, racing Hammond and the Norwegian Olympic bobsleigh team down a mountain in Lillehammer, Norway. Winner: Bobsleigh Series Five, Episode Eight (repeated in the Winter Olympics Special)
- Car vs. tank: Clarkson raced a Range Rover Sport across a Dorset field before a Challenger 2 tank could get gun lock on him. Winner: Tank Series Six, Episode One
- Car vs. marathon runner: Clarkson raced a Fiat Nuova Panda against marathon runner A.C. Muir around the London Marathon circuit during the morning rush-hour. Winner: Runner Series Six, Episode Seven
- Car vs. snowmobile – over water: Hammond visited Iceland and raced a modified off-road vehicle against a snowmobile over Lake Kleifarvatn. Winner: Snowmobile Series Six, Episode Ten
- Car vs. rock climbers: Clarkson, in an Audi RS4, competed against two rock climbers, Leo Houlding and Tim Emmett, in a race from the bottom of a French gorge to the top. Winner: Rock Climbers Series Seven, Episode Two
- Car vs. urban downhill cyclist: May raced a Renault Clio III down the narrow streets of Castle of São Jorge's district in Lisbon against downhill bike racer Gee Atherton. Winner: Cyclist Series Seven, Episode Four
- Car vs. greyhound: Hammond drove a Mazda MX-5 against Ireland's most expensive greyhound, Mama Tina, around Shelbourne Park's greyhound track in a one-lap pursuit style race. Winner: Greyhound Series Seven, Episode Six
- Car vs. speed skater: Clarkson, in a Jaguar XK8, raced against speed skater Eskil Ervik, around a speed skating track. Winner: Speed Skater Winter Olympics Special
- Car vs. trail of fuel: Clarkson raced a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 against a trail of fuel. The race began when the quarter-mile-long trail of petrol was lit. Winner: Car Series Eight, Episode Two
- Car vs. motor powered kayak: Hammond visited Iceland and raced a TVR-powered Bowler Tomcat 4x4 against a motorised kayak, piloted by its inventor Shaun Baker, over Jökulsárlón. Winner: Kayak Series Eight, Episode Two
- Car vs. parachutist: Hammond raced two miles (3 km) against a British army parachutist in Cyprus with a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. Winner: Parachutist Series Eight, Episode Four
- Car vs. traceurs: May raced two traceurs, Daniel Ilabaca and Kerbie, over six miles (10 km) across Liverpool in a Peugeot 207 1.6L Diesel, from the edge of the city to the Liver Building. Winner: Traceurs Series Eight, Episode Seven
- Car vs. fighter jet: Hammond raced a Bugatti Veyron against a Eurofighter Typhoon, piloted by RAF Squadron Leader Jim Walls, to see which one could most quickly travel a distance of two miles (the Bugatti along a runway and back, the Eurofighter climbing a mile straight up and back down). Winner: Jet Series Ten, Episode Three
- Car vs. rollerblades: Hammond drove an Aston Martin V8 Vantage against Dirk Auer, a man on roller skates with a turbo-powered rocket backpack, in a straight half-mile drag race. Winner: Car Series Ten, Episode Five
- Car vs. tall man: May used an Alfa Romeo 159 in a race against Graham Boanas, to discover who could cross the 1.5-mile (2.4 km) wide Humber River faster without using the Humber Bridge. Winner: Man Series Ten, Episode Six
- Car vs. BMX bikes: May travelled to Hungary and raced a Fiat 500 against some BMX cyclists (the traceurs from the previous Liverpool challenge) through the streets of Budapest. Winner: Bikes Series Ten, Episode Nine
- Car vs. skiers: Hammond travelled to Les Arcs in the French Alps to race an Audi RS6 estate against two skiers, Antoine Montant (the Columbia world speed flyer champion 2007) and François Bon, down a mountain from Arc 1950 to Villaroger. (Note: Hammond had to find his way around the village to find the pub, giving the skiers extra time.) Winner: Skiers Series Eleven, Episode Two
- Car vs. hunters: Clarkson and Hammond travelled to Gloucestershire to combine Green Laning and Fox hunting into a new sport where the prey is a 'green laner' in an off-road vehicle. Clarkson raced a Daihatsu Terios nine miles (14.5 km) cross-country to the designated finishing point at Tewkesbury Park, while Hammond and a group of hunters chased him. (Note:After that Hammond said that Clarkson was finally eaten by dogs.) Winner: Hunters Series Eleven, Episode Five
- Car vs. Royal Mail: Hammond and May drove a Porsche Panamera in a race against a letter delivered by Royal Mail from the Isles of Scilly to Orkney. Winner: Royal Mail Series Thirteen, Episode Four
- Car vs. British Army: Clarkson, in a Mitusbishi Lancer Evolution VII, raced five miles (8 km) around a plainfield in Dorset against a team from the British Army. Army vehicles used during the race included the Jackal, Mastiff, Panther, and Trojan. At one stage, Clarkson hid beside the Trojan, ending up with the Trojan ripping off part of the car's roof. Winner: British Army Series Thirteen, Episode Four
- Car vs. snowmobiles: Hammond took a modified Volkswagen Touareg to a ski resort in Sweden, in order to race some "Swedish youths" on snowmobiles. The race was a dead heat until the near end, with it all coming down to a drag race across a frozen lake. Winner: Car Series Fifteen, Episode Five
- Car vs. gravity: Hammond raced one mile (1.6 km) against a Volkswagen Beetle dropped from a helicopter on a salt flat in South Africa with a Porsche 997 Turbo S. Winner: Gravity Series Sixteen, Episode One
- Car vs. God: Clarkson, in a supercharged V8 MK IV Jaguar XJ, departed Land's End (Britain's most westerly point) at sunset and raced 432 miles (695 km) to Lowestoft (Britain's most easterly point) attempting to arrive before sunrise. The race was held during the Summer Solstice to add an extra challenge. Winner: Car Series Sixteen, Episode Six
- Car vs. skeleton racer: May returns to Lillehammer and co-pilots a Mini WRC rally car, driven by Kris Meeke, against skeleton racer Amy Williams. Winner: Car Series Seventeen, Episode One
- Car vs. jet propelled man: Hammond and Finnish world rally driver Toni Gardemeister race the world's first jet propelled man, Yves Rossy, in a Škoda Fabia S2000 around an eight-mile special Welsh Rally Stage. Winner: Man Series Eighteen, Episode Five
- Car vs. autonomous military machine: May in new Range Rover vs the TerraMax at Nevada Automotive Test Centre, Nevada. Winner: Car Series Nineteen, Episode Five
- Car vs. quad bike/jet ski hybrid: Hammond in the new Alfa Romeo 4C vs Clarkson in the Gibbs Quadski around Lake Como. Winner: Car (Clarkson allowed Hammond to win because he didn't want the Alfa to lose) Series Twenty one, Episode Two
- Old cars vs. new cars – drag race (a.k.a. Top Gear Generation Game): Five of Clarkson's older cars face off versus five of Hammond's modern vehicles. The pairings were: Golf GTi MKI vs MKIV, Toyota MR2 old vs new, Ford Escort RS Cosworth vs Focus RS, Peugeot 205 vs 206, Nissan 300ZX vs 350Z. Series Three, Episode Eight
- Diesel vs. petrol: A race between Clarkson in a diesel Škoda Fabia and Hammond in a petrol Mini Cooper to see if diesel had caught up to petrol. Series Four, Episode Eight
- Old cars vs. new cars – road circuit, race vs. showroom: three pairs made up of one classic racer and one showroom car raced against the clock in The Stig's hands. The pairings were: 1974 British Rally Championship-winning Ford Escort vs Ford Focus RS, Four times Le Mans-winning (1966–69) Ford GT40 vs Noble M400; 1983 World Rally Championship-winning Audi Quattro vs Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ-340. Series Five, Episode Eight
- RWD vs. 4WD – rally special stage: May took The Stig to an indoor exhibition rally track of the World Rally Championship at the Millennium Stadium to compare the RWD and 4WD Porsche 997 Carrera. Series Seven, Episode Five
- Old cars vs. new cars – hill climb: May and Hammond oversaw a race against the clock at the Prescott Hill Climb course, which featured an Austin-Healey Sprite and a modified Peugeot 306, both driven by The Stig. Series Seven, Episode Six
- Real life vs. a computer game – road circuit: Clarkson travelled to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to compare a real life lap in a Honda NSX with one he did earlier using the same car in the PlayStation 2 game Gran Turismo 4. Series Seven, Episode Six
- Biathlon: Clarkson (in a Volvo XC90) raced May (in an Audi Q7), in a "car-biathlon", with cross-country driving instead of skiing. Winter Olympics Special
- RWD vs. 4WD – off-road slalom: Clarkson (in a RWD Jaguar XK) and May (in a 4WD Land Rover Discovery) created a slalom course on a frozen lake and raced against the clock. Winter Olympics Special
- Supercar MPG – fuel economy part 1: Clarkson staged a race between five supercars (Ferrari 599 GTB, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Lamborghini Murciélago LP640, Aston Martin DBS V12, and Audi R8) to see which could travel the furthest on one gallon of petrol. Series Eleven, Episode One Winner: Audi R8
- Hybrid vs. petrol – fuel economy part 2: Clarkson then held a race between a petrol BMW M3 and Toyota Prius to see if hybrid cars really are more economical than petrol. This wasn't really a race, but a test to see which car used more petrol as the M3 followed the Prius around the Top Gear test track for 10 laps. Series Eleven, Episode One Winner: BMW M3
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- Gear, Bicycling, Specialized Bikes
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Clarkson: "Yeah, I couldn't agree more"
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