Petrolheads and fans of political incorrectness can breathe a sigh of relief. The Top Gear juggernaut is fired up and ready to roll back onto our screens for its 17th series.
With their high-octane buffoonery, Clarkson and co have become a worldwide phenomenon, watched by hundreds of millions of viewers in 170 countries where it’s shown. But this successful automotive export is also spawning its own lookalike models.
Australia, America, Russia and China have their own versions of the hit show, and RT can reveal that South Korea is also about to line up on the starting grid.
Can any of them, though, provide a match for the vocal horsepower and denim outrage of Jeremy Clarkson? RT has road-tested the international models and nominates Russia’s Top Gear presenter Nikolai Fomenko.
So, in true Top Gear style, here we pitch the two of them in a head-to-head battle. Gentlemen, start your engines…
Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson
Education: Expelled from Repton public school.
Style: Brash, loud and opinionated. Loves to ramp up the drama by regularly utilising a long pause between two parts… of the same sentence.
Dress sense: Tight shirts tucked into “Man at B&Q” denims reveal the splendour of his middle-age paunch.
Hairstyle: Once reminiscent of Queen guitarist Brian May’s bouffant, now it’s grey like the Queen’s.
Celebrity claim to fame: Punched the then Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan on the nose
at an awards ceremony.
Best Top Gear stunts: Testing the strength of a Toyota Hilux by driving it into a tree, driving the world’s smallest car around the offices of the BBC, attempting to outrun a Challenger 2 tank in a Range Rover Sport, and pulling a Lada apart in a tug-of-war.
Favourite car: Has owned several Alfa Romeos, claiming, “You cannot be a true petrolhead until you’ve owned one. It’s like having really great sex that leaves you with an embarrassing itch.” Has also described Alfa’s sports car, the Brera, as “Cameron Diaz on wheels”.
Motoring pedigree: In 1984 he formed a motoring agency, Motoring Press, writing car reviews for local newspapers and later wrote articles for Performance Car magazine.
Motormouth track record: “We all know that small cars are good for us. But so is cod liver oil. And jogging.”
“I don’t understand bus lanes. Why do poor people have to get to places quicker than I do?”
“I’ve seen better looking gangrenous wounds than the Porsche Cayenne.”
Nikolai Vladimirovich Fomenko
Education: Graduate of the Leningrad Institute of Theatre, Music and Cinema.
Style: Fearless Russian macho man. Fomenko also openly boasts to being God’s gift to driving and regularly calls his younger co-presenters “wusses”.
Dress sense: Questionable taste in bead necklaces makes him look a bit like Bob Hoskins’ slightly camp, but still menacing, younger brother.
Hairstyle: Receding to the point where he’s developed a huge V on the top of his head.
Celebrity claim to fame: Was married to Russian actress Maria Golubkina, the stepdaughter of actor Andrei Mironov, and has three children with her.
Best Top Gear stunts: Racing a Porsche against a speedboat through St Petersburg, blowing up a Gaz 66 Russian military truck, driving an old Lada off a ramp into a pile of cardboard boxes.
Favourite car: He drives a Porsche, but closest to his heart is the Marussia, a Russian supercar produced by Marussia Motors, a company he founded. The car is capable of a very rapid 0—60mph in 3.5 seconds. Fomenko aims to produce 2,000 of them a year, claiming, “At some point there will also be an electric car.”
Motoring pedigree: He won the Russian Touring Car Championship in 2000 and has also competed at Le Mans and Daytona.
Motormouth track record: “A real man should have rules for his wife and have a seat reserved in a pub.”
“Mazda is a car for losers.”
“A real man’s car has to be small and nifty.”