When they aren’t filming the international super hit Top Gear, hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond take some time to work on their own projects. In Hammond’s case, it seems those projects involve putting himself through immense levels of stress for Crash Course, his program for BBC America where he has a matter of days to master some of the most intense jobs in America.
He just seems to enjoy a good challenge. And he got one when I joined him in an unairconditioned Manhattan taxi on a blistering July day.
This is our exclusive behind-the-scenes look at The Hamster’s new show…
Click through for the full interview.
Richard Hammond’s Crash Course premieres tonight, October 22, 2012 at 10/9c on BBC America
How fast did you go?
Hammond (laughing): You’ll have to watch the film — but it wasn’t as fast as the cars race. The thing is a monster. It’s like climbing into the belly of a dragon and driving that around. It does only one thing — and that’s go around the track really fast in one direction. You find yourself trying to fight it, trying to keep it from doing what it really wants to do. And also, when you go into a turn and hit the braking, well, I fly a helicopter back in Britain and I would say it feels more like that than driving a car — because you roll into that turn and you roll back out of it. It’s not like any other kind of driving that you’ll ever get to do anywhere else.
Ok, so you have to ignore the fact that they show images of the previous 3-series when talking about the NEW 3-series, and instead listen to Richard make the argument that the new BMW 3 Series is the best car ever made. (Click through for the video.)
A legitimately excellent interview with Richard including this gem:
Cars used to be a pretty popular lovemaking destination. Were you one of those people who happened to lose their virginity in a car?
[Laughs] You know I have never been asked that in 17 years! To be honest, my cherry wasn’t popped in one, but a fair amount of practice went in there after. It’s one of the ways cars are wrapped up in the mythology and our past. When you’re a kid, it’s the one place you can go to get away from the adult world.
Go read the rest. For real.
Richard will be appearing on G4TV’s Attack of the Show tomorrow evening talking about both the Series Premiere of Crash Course and the US season premiere of Top Gear.
Your DVR has now been warned.
gif of Richard via diemarysues
Car & Driver: How does Crash Course, which premieres this spring, relate to that Top Gear sense of authenticity?
Richard Hammond: Oh, come on. It’s about big machines; machines that have a job to do. I love vehicles with a purpose. That’s why I prefer Porsches to Ferraris. I like things that have a job to do and do it, foremost. Which would you rather have? Do you want to talk about it in the bar, or do you want to drive it? I’ve just sold a Lamborghini that I loved, but thankfully I’ve kept my 911.
Read the full article from the March 2012 issue here.
Mr. Hammond, 42, is the boyish third of the cast of the BBC’s car-obsessed “Top Gear.” He is here on a blazing September day, wearing a flight suit and learning to operate the Abrams tank for his new TV show, “Richard Hammond’s Crash Course.”
The show, which will make its debut on the BBC America cable channel on April 16, is produced in America for an American audience. That makes it something of a test of how far Mr. Hammond can push the popularity he has earned — but in this case, without the interplay of his “Top Gear” co-hosts, James May and Jeremy Clarkson.
“I travel a lot with work, obviously,” Mr. Hammond said. “Because of the shared language, as far as that sharing goes, America seems in some ways more foreign that many of the other places I go.”
Mr. Hammond is part of an international phenomenon: a TV show about cars that has evolved into a comedy cavalcade of motorized mayhem — and one of Britain’s most beloved cultural exports. It has also become a touchstone for the worldwide automotive culture, and it is widely followed in YouTube clips….
Read the rest here: The British Are Coming - Mayhem Sure to Follow - NYTimes.com
There’s a short Q&A with James May about technology in today’s Guardian. Our favorite bit:
What always frustrates you about technology in general?
That it’s subject to fashion, like everything else is. You get buzzwords and phrases that seem to dictate people’s efforts.
Read the rest of the interview at guardian.co.uk