The Grand Tour / Amazon Video
The Grand Tour Season 2 streams on Amazon Video
Episode Rating: 4 out of 5 Mystery Drivers
The Grand Tour Season 2 Episode 2: “The Falls Guys”
After a stunning first episode that culminated in Richard Hammond’s much publicized Rimac Concept One crash, episode two had a lot to live up to. Luckily, an old favorite theme emerged: Cars vs Public transport. Many of the best episodes of the show-that-won’t-be-named revolved around these races. Simply put, some incredible car is put up against another form of transportation to see which is fastest. This time, it was a Ford GT vs an airliner.
It’s a Race!
Jeremy Clarkson in a Ford GT vs James May and Hammond taking an airplane. Of course, even the 550 horsepower Ford is no match for an airplane traveling about 500 mph, but, as we all know, it is not the flight itself that is the problem.
The race is from New York to Niagra Falls, a 420 mile drive (or an hour and 15 minute flight), and the team sets off from Central Park. To make things even more interesting, Hammond is still injured from his crash and is on crutches. He is hobbled to the point of holding up Captain Slow of all people and missing their first two trains to the airport.
Typical shenanigans from Clarkson make sure the other two are in for a tough time, one of which is calling the airline to request alcohol not be served after convincing them May and Hammond are fresh out of rehab.
James May, “The worlds worst carer” leaves Hammond behind and struggling until he finally gets him a wheel chair in the airport. When he got the chair, however, May got rid of Hammond’s crutches, meaning he could not go through security on his own, which necessitated everyone’s greatest airport security nightmare: the pat down.
Jeremy’s impressions of the Ford GT are a highlight of the race for gearheads, as he used to own the previous generation and has quite a soft spot for the impractical, supremely stiff, street legal race car. He doesn’t mind the harshness and loves the noise regardless of the turbo V6 being short two cylinders.
With Clarkson only 153 miles away from the finish, Hammond and May are still at JFK airport.
To the Studio
Back in the studio, the trio discuss F1 drivers chugging podium champagne, herding autonomous cars and extorting their sponsors.
Then, the first self-contained car review of the season: The Mercedes-AMG GT R. Jeremy has the honors and describes this car as the result of bored engineers and designers begging to be set loose for just one project. The highlights include an adjustment knob for different levels of ‘off’ for the traction control, four-wheel steering and a (short lived, thanks to Porsche) rear wheel drive record at the Nurburgring.
The downside, according to Clarkson, is that this Mercedes-AMG is almost too good. When he gets into an AMG, or any car for that matter, he wants to be sideways, and the GT R just handles too well. In fact, Jeremy says it is the first time he has ever been in an AMG and only used one set of tires.
Then, it is time to test the GT R on track, and for that they interviewed countless drivers to replace the hated ‘American’ character until deciding on a woman named… they won’t say. The Mercedes-AMG did a 1:18.7 around the track, good for third fastest, but all we care about is who the driver is!
For the ‘Celebrity F-Off,’ we get cricket player Kevin Peterson vs an unrecognizable American baseball player, Brian Wilson. You know the name, but without a giant, jet black beard, the former Giants and Dodgers pitcher looks like a totally different person.
Their laps were about as different as their personalities, as Wilson was all over the place and Peterson looked slow and methodical. Wilson was in the grass, cutting corners, sloppy and dramatic and Peterson slowly rolled away from the start line. But what’s faster? Peterson won with a 1:17.2 to Wilson’s 1:17.5 as the fastest two around the new track so far this season. The shocking result reinforces that smooth is fast and what looks best on TV is not the way to put in fast times.
The Final Leg
We return to the race to see Richard being wheeled down the aisle of the plane and Jeremy struggling to pay at an American gas station. As the airplane begins to catch up to Clarkson, he is being constantly frustrated by left-lane hoggers forcing him to pass on the right.
Clarkson is still 130 miles away when the plane lands early. Leading up to a thrilling finish that even gave us something we have never seen before: James May “was doing running” on television!
It was all for naught as Jeremy was waiting for them at the Niagra Falls observation deck as the winner of the race.
The studio portion remains more focused than the first season with conversation street, the Mercedes-AMG review and the celebrity ‘F-off’ all staying entertaining even if they occasionally get so deep into their British-ness that it leaves the American guest (and audience) politely smiling to hide their confusion.
The race was very good and genuinely funny as the three got more frantic as they closed in on the finish, but it was just shy of one of the classics, the Japanese bullet-train race.
James May had the quote of the episode as he was teasing Hammond about his temporary disability:
“You’re not disabled. You have a playground injury as a result of your own half-wittedness.”