Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are back with a brand new series of Top Gear this Sunday.
The guys will probably do something awful to a defenceless caravan and race vehicles built from lawnmower or washing machine parts. And of course more celebrities will be jumping behind the wheel of the show’s Reasonably Priced Car in an attempt to record the fastest time.
It’s not always a smooth ride, as these previous guests prove…
Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz (2010)
Actress Cameron Diaz topped the leader board…only for Tom Cruise to overtake her and win seconds later, crossing the line rather dramatically on just two wheels. Clarkson was the real winner though: he got a hug and then another hug from Cameron Diaz.
Benedict Cumberbatch (2013)
The Sherlock star squeezed a lot into his time on Top Gear. Not only did he give a jokey explanation of how his famous detective character survived that famous fall, he punched Jeremy Clarkson using ‘Hollywood Fu’ techniques and got himself in quite a muddle trying to explain the cars he’s had over the years. This was all before Cumberbatch took to the track where he broke a new record: the most practice laps ever.
Michael Gambon (2002)
Actor Michael Gambon (otherwise known as Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore) got a corner of the track named after him for his efforts on – and momentarily off – the track: another two-wheeler. It’s not as dramatic-looking as Tom Cruise’s efforts, though – someone call his agent!
Ian Wright (2005)
Football star Ian Wright screamed, screamed and screamed a bit more as he made his way around the Top Gear track. “I’ve never seen anyone so aggressive, EVER” says Clarkson who hides his face in his hands yelling, “You’re a lunatic!”
Simon Cowell (2007)
Music mogul Simon Cowell returned for a second spin on the track, saying it was the worst car he’d ever driven. “Is that good?” he asks Clarkson, as they re-watch his timed lap. Cowell tries to look relaxed – arm on the window and all that – but does the typical Top Gear lean, eagerly looking at the leaderboard, clearly quite keen to know his time. “Just tell me,” Cowell pleads. “That’s fantastic,” he says as he sees his name at the top.
Lewis Hamilton (2008)
Even world-class racing drivers can’t resist the lure of the Top Gear track. The Formula One star had to beat The Stig’s time and admitted, “I’m actually a bit nervous about this…. no honestly, I’m here to have fun.” Yeah, yeah, Lewis, sportsmen LOVE losing.
Geri Halliwell (2004)
“How did you get a scratch on the roof?!” an incredulous Clarkson asks former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, before letting her loose on the track. There are aggressive gear changes, rather a lot of speed and eventually a safe journey across the line, with a time just above Boris Johnson – who Geri appears never to have heard of…
Jimmy Carr (2004)
Comedian Jimmy Carr captured the attention of The Stig for “d***ing about” in training, as Clarkson puts it. Plus, he made friends with the camera crew who have to stand back while he’s doing his practice laps… Yet Carr still managed to topple Simon Cowell to become the fastest celebrity around the track.
Helen Mirren (2007)
“It was terrifying, it was sweat-making, it was… fabulous,” says Mirren of her drive. The Oscar-winning actress does most of the lap saying “slower… harder” to herself. And swearing, she admits, although that was rather sweetly left out of the video…
Gordon Ramsay (2002)
Chef Gordon Ramsay samples some food that was cooked on the engine of a car before taking to the track – with only one beep for his language. That’s a triumph in itself, no?