The Grand Tour Series 1

The Grand Tour: Series 1, Episode 13 – Past v Future

  • The Grand Tour tent is in Dubai for the final show.
  • Jeremy Clarkson pits his old fashioned Volkswagen Golf GTI against James May’s electrically powered BMW i3.
  • James is forced to take part in a sport called winching.
  • The Bugatti Veyron drag races against the Porsche 918 Spyder.
  • Richard Hammond learns how to drift.


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Episode Guide

The tent is in Dubai. Clarkson compares his Volkswagen Golf GTI to May’s BMW i3 with a drag race at an airstrip and a road trip from London to Dartmoor to attend a Roger Daltrey and Wilko Johnson concert. Clarkson and Hammond make May hang out with “winchers” who drive their 4x4s deep into mud.

For “Celebrity Brain Crash”, F1 racer Daniel Ricciardo drives a hovercraft toward the tent, but crashes before being sucked into the hovercraft’s fan. Hammond defeats the Bugatti Veyron in a drag race with the Porsche 918 Spyder, but quickly loses to a 1900 horsepower Nissan Patrol.

Later, he travels to Michelin’s proving grounds in France to learn how to drift. He must then prove his skills against two professional drifters – a 13-year-old and a double amputee – at Rockingham Motor Speedway. May ends the episode with a series of outtakes of Clarkson and Hammond attempting to drift cars.


0:01:40 – Jeremy’s opening monologue in the show was carefully backtimed to take place just as the Dubai fountains went off.

0:03:07 – The amazing gullwing ‘bus’ in the opening monologue was invented by a man called Wubbo Ockels. He was the first Dutchman ever to go into space, thereby making him Holland’s highest man.

0:04:57 – When James says Jeremy’s VW Golf seats are made from ‘Jackie Stewart’s old trousers’ he’s referring to the seat fabric, which is very tartan. As are most of the clothes worn by multiple F1 champion and non-more-Scottish person Sir Jackie Stewart.

0:05:21 – Jeremy’s Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance Pack has a 2-litre four cylinder engine making 227 horsepower. It can go from 0-62 in 6.5 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph.

0:05:31 – James’s BMW i3 REx has a hybrid synchronous electric motor making 167 horsepower (and a 650cc, 34 horsepower, two cylinder petrol engine to charge the batteries). It can go from 0-62 in 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 93mph.

0:06:03 – Jeremy swears that he didn’t want a red Golf. But does admit that yes, he thought he was buying a three door GTI until he realised he’d got the order wrong.

0:08:04 – The ‘London airport’ used for the Golf v i3 drag race is actually Wycombe Air Park, described by its own website as ‘more than just a place where aircraft land and take off’.

0:13:21 – Iniquitous – Unfair, unjust, morally wrong. A word used by Jeremy Clarkson upon discovering that James May is getting free electrical petrol.

0:13:38 – American viewers may be amused to notice that British fuel pumps don’t latch on, forcing motorists to stand in the cold and wet until all the petrol has gone into their car.

0:18:03 – Jeremy’s sporty GTI driving takes place on Dartmoor, the setting for the Sherlock Holmes book, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, and the Quidditch World Cup Final in Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire. There is also a mythical Beast Of Dartmoor which might be some kind of lion, or maybe just a very massive cat.

0:19:21 – Electric car purists believe ordering the range extended version of the BMW i3 with the back-up petrol engine is cheating and call the front-mounted fuel filler cover the ‘flap of shame’.

0:20:31 – Wilko Johnson – Guitarist and singer most famous as part of the 1970s Godfather of punk, Dr Feelgood. He also played an executioner on Game of Thrones.

0:25:45 – Heston Blumenthal – British chef famed for combining unusual tastes, textures and methods. Ideal for someone who likes roast wasps and pencil sharpenings served on a record player.

0:29:35 – The home of James’s filthy misery is called Muddy Bottom. No, really. It’s in Hampshire.

0:31:32 – Seamus’s winching machine is home made, based around a Mitsubishi chassis.

0:32:09 – As demonstrated in the winching film, James May is very bad in slippery surfaces.

0:36:30 – Ricciardo – a type of fine red mist found all over Dubai.

0:38:23 – The Bugatti Veyron has an 8-litre quad turbo W16 engine making 1000 horsepower. It can go from 0-62 in 2.5 seconds and has a top speed of 253mph.

0:38:28 – The Porsche 918 Spyder has a 4.6-litre V8 + two electric motors maing a total of 887 horsepower. It can go from 0-62 in 2.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 215mph.

0:41:50 – It turns out that the beige SUV in the 918 racing film has a highly modified Nissan GT-R engine and drivetrain.

0:43:02 – Michelin’s top secret test track is located at Centre de Technologie de Ladoux, Rue Orange, 63118, Cebazat, France. But don’t tell anyone.

0:45:32 – Keen eyed geeks will notice that the BMW M4 in the drifting film appears to have the driver’s seat from a Porsche. This is because test driver Jerome needs minimal padding and tight bolstering to make him feel as connected as possible to the car so he can analyse tiny differences between tyres.

0:50:25 – The 6.2-litre V8 in the Nissan drift car is a GM LS2, like in a Corvette.

0:59:12 – The playmates drifting montage depicts scenes from the grand tour of Italy (show 3) and the hypercar showdown (show 1).

0:59:56 – The montage of drifting uselessness depicts scenes from the Abarth 124 test (show 10), Porsche 911 GT3 v BMW M4 (show 4), Ford Mustang v Ford Focus RS (show 6), and the Lexus GS F test (show 11).


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Scooby252 February 5, 2017 at 9:37 pm

When I saw that Nissan , it reminded me of that working mans drag race with that normal looking white van , so you sort of knew who was going win

the guy with no name February 6, 2017 at 3:25 am

Except the Nissan was tuned, but the van was an actual XJ 220 prototype that Jag put in a transit costume so they could test it on the roads before release.

Cool fact: The transit body was actually lighter than the final car body but it was less aerodynamic.

the guy with no name February 4, 2017 at 8:41 am

Great episode. The moment they mentioned Rockingham my mind jumped to the overtaking massacre of the Alfa challenge from TG. lol


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