The Radio Times logo
We may earn commission from links on this page. Our editorial is always independent (learn more)

Richard Hammond admits he “messed up” choice of car on The Grand Tour Madagascar special

The presenter decided to take on Madagascar in a Ford Focus RS – and it didn't go to plan!

Grand Tour special
Amazon Prime Video
Published: Monday, 30th November 2020 at 1:30 am

We've watched The Grand Tour trio take out a number of vehicles during their adventures, some of which don't usually look up to the part. Nevertheless, Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, and James May invariably manage to pull through.


That is, until the most recent Madagascan special, which saw Hammond in quite a bit of trouble with his Ford Focus RS, and May literally in muddy waters with his vehicle.

Things were so calamitous that Hammond admitted he "messed up" with his choice of car.

Speaking to press including, he said: "I think my choice of car was a little questionable and then my choice of modifications, but that’s only because it was the toughest terrain we’ve ever encountered. When we heard it was going to be really tough, we thought, 'Well it’s us and we’ve driven all over the world many many times, we’ll be fine.' But it was the most punishing and brutal terrain I think I’ve ever driven anything across and it turned out my modifications weren’t brilliant. I messed up a bit."

In the Grand Tour presents: A Massive Hunt special, which will stream on Amazon Prime Video on 18th December, all three cars have testing moments throughout.

When asked what his worst moment was when filming, Hammond explained: "I think when I realised what a grind it was going to be, when my car broke and the track came off again and that meant another two hours of fixing and it was already midnight and dark and rainy and I was eight hours away from where I needed to be. It was one of those moments. There were a few others that were heart-sinking!"

It's not only Hammond who struggled on trip, with May literally being submerged in dirty water after trying to take on pot holes in Madagascar while driving a Caterham 310r – if you aren't familiar with this type of vehicle, it's a sports car best used for track racing.

The Grand Tour special
Richard Hammond's modified Ford Amazon Prime Video

So like Hammond, did May also regret his car choice?

"Well yes to be honest," he said. "It was something I wanted to do for years and I wanted to know if it worked but never actually had a chance to do it. But as we set off I thought, 'Have I made a bit of a donkey of myself? And I’m going to become the crippled car and everyone’s going to laugh at it.'"

Luckily for May, things turned out slightly better for him than Hammond. Feeling pretty smug as result, he continued: "The Caterham Super 7 racing car is a fabulous off roader and vehicle. Why you’d buy a Land Rover or Toyota Land Cruiser I don’t know."

James May - Grand Tour Presents: A Massive Hunt
James May - Grand Tour Presents: A Massive Hunt Amazon Prime Video

He added: "It was the gratification of my Caterham actually working. There's always a slightly warm feeling when you have an idea and it turns out to work because that doesn’t always happen, let’s be honest."

Despite Hammond's vehicle woes, he doesn't regret the trip and believes the Madagascan special was the trio "getting back to what we do".

Fans have had to wait more than a year for the second special after the first episode Seaman aired on December 13th last year, but Hammond insists this episode isn't a "departure" from their usual format, but rather them doing what viewers have come to love them for since they started out on the BBC's Top Gear 18 years ago.

Richard Hammond - The Grand Tour presents: A Massive Hunt
Richard Hammond - The Grand Tour presents: A Massive Hunt Amazon Prime Video

Speaking of the new special, he said: "It's going to arrive in a good time for an escape, so it’s turned out well. Don’t expect that it’s taken that long because it’s some wild new departure, it’s actually the exact opposite of that – it’s us three getting back to what we do. It’s us with our crew in inappropriate cars trying to drive through inappropriate territory."


The Grand Tour presents: A Massive Hunt will launch on Amazon Prime Video on December 18th. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.


Sponsored content