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Home / Technology / The grand interview: vegging out with Richard Hammond and James May

The grand interview: vegging out with Richard Hammond and James May

It is said that Jeremy Clarkson is somewhere in the Corinthia Hotel in London, wandering from one room to the other like a bigfoot button-down.

Richard Hammond is waiting for me in room 214, dressed in a tasteful white shirt and a waistcoat that, together with the goatee and the ability to maintain eye contact, makes me feel like I'm chatting with an affable stage magician . I keep waiting for you to lift a card from a hotel bucket and say, "This is your card?" Instead, he happily remembers the old days

"It changed so much: once we would have got a sedan and we would run for a day, then it is over, now we have to go to Mongolia and spend two weeks driving a car we have built ourselves, the great emotion is that people look and still love what we do. "

They have been in jungles, glaciers, deserts and mountains. Now is the time when you can see old movies and do not remember to visit certain places.

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* The Grand Tour roar to Amazon Prime Video in December
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  The Grand Tour hosts Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson in Mongolia.


The Grand Tour hosts Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson on location in Mongolia.

"I do not pay much attention, this is the point: I arrive at the airport and go to work, but it is amazing to observe the assembly and to think:" We have done all this! last year? & # 39; "

Certainly remember the live Top Gear they did in New Zealand years ago." Remember how polite the audience was.

"It was fun, it's like England, but 60 years ago, the contrast between you and your closest neighbors is fun, they are all just crazy about mad. "

can take the kids out of the show, but you can not take the show out of the kids While the reinvented BBC Top Gear has struggled to stay on track, his former guests have parked comfortably with their new owners, Amazon The Grand Tour is about to debut his third season on Prime Video, offering more than motorized hijinks and light insensibilities that have made the show a global success.

In the episode one, Clarkson, Hammond and James Can make a pilgrimage to Detroit to drive three highly tuned muscle cars with names that sound com and a short list of Kid Rock names – Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger Demon and Hennessey Exorcist Camaro.

The trio expresses disdain for this once-great engine the city now dedicates more energy to organic cabbage compared to large V8s. It is not clear why the disappearance of the American automobile industry is Kale's fault, but they raise a challenge against it, and all the brassicas, staging a resistance race on the streets, then turning a car factory abandoned on a track. Is very funny.

And this is what the show should be, says Hammond.

"If you watch a really good TV program you should always think," I think these people would do it anyway. "And that's how we feel, I hope, I get home the weekend and I play with my machines. And what we do. It's our hobby and our passion. "

There was another sighting of Clarkson on the third floor. An intern managed to get him to take a tranquilizer, even if it was not enough to drop it.

But May is kind enough to meet me in room 225 for a chat. In this season he will try to throw away his Captain Slow tag routing a Porsche 917 Le Mans – produced in the years & # 39; – against a new model Porsche that he can not even talk to me about.

"I would not have to tell you, but it was electric," he says.

Yes, an 'electric car. It is a slippery slope. What's next? Public buses powered by kale? Biological unicles made of hemp and recycled oil for beards?

Of the two cars, it was the model of the 70s that presented the real challenge, given that it was little more than a motor attached to an aluminum hanger enclosed in a thickness of 1.2 mm in fiber glass, all weighing less than 800 kg – about the same weight as a mini.

"If you crash, you're dead," May says casually. And since the car has a value of around £ 15 million (NZ $ 28m), you probably want it.

May, now 55, has worked in combustion entertainment for decades but is not sure if his advanced age has focused more on personal safety

"I do not know if it's safe, I worry about breaking things, things that do not belong to me. "

Clarkson, meanwhile, has been spotted rummaging through the bins behind the hotel kitchen, so I'm unlikely to talk to him today. Instead, they allow me to spend some time with the new Grand Tour videogame. It is a standard racing platform in the style of Gran Turismo or Strength.

Ambitiously, they will release new modules for each episode, so fans can try the same host challenges. As a game, it's actually not bad. Experienced players may find it a bit basic, but occasional players like May will appreciate its simplicity.

  The Nissan GT Academy used Gran Turismo to find the next generation of professional pilots. Will the new Grand Tour game do the same?


The Nissan GT Academy used Gran Turismo to find the next generation of professional pilots. Will the new Grand Tour game do the same?

"I do not play a lot of games, I play mainly with flight simulators, but what I like about this is that they made it challenging, but it's not really nerd, it does not feel … sad. 39. He described how it must be Forza, but must have the charm of Super Mario Bros. "

As for the involvement in the development of the game, he admits to having left it to the experts. [19659002] "We did not have much to offer, but in the game we hear shouting insults in the ear as you play, so we had to invent a lot."

Thinks the game is possible

"Maybe this is the future Maybe we will not have to drive real cars, maybe we could just exist as cyber entities."

Or maybe they could use their new gaming platform to find their possible successors, in the same way that the Nissan GT Academy used Gran Turismo to find the next generation of professional racing drivers.

"We to the ways that were said" who will ever replace us? Not in a presumptuous way, just like in "I wonder who will be". "Because it must happen. And with the game it turns out that they are all. Through the game everyone becomes us, and they could also improve our show by doing it better. "

It is clear, even to motorists like these guys, that the industry is heading towards the beyond: beyond the combustion engines, in addition to the drivers maybe even one day even beyond the car itself.In May, it is not unthinkable.

"In the short term you think of hydrogen fuel cells, that kind of thing," he reflects. "I think every car manufacturer that the brain looked and felt very long would think to "Custom transport solutions", which may not be a car. "

Shut up.

" No, but it could be a pod that runs through space, or it could be teleportation, who knows? They should think about what will be the next thing? & # 39; in the way the machines replaced the horses. What will be after the car? "

Hammond agrees:" We take the machines we want. Our audience, all of us, are our customers and we will get what we want. If it's electric, if it's driverless, it does not mean it will not be exciting. I have to get down the M4 to go to work, so if I can just push a button, take a nap, I'm in, "he says.

For now, the show comes on as it is, on four wheels , erupting gasoline fumes and anti-plant rhetoric.

After destroying the old school in Detroit, the team returns to old joyful England where Jeremy drives the super light and super-hardcore 788-horse McLaren Senna Donnington, because it's too much fast for the tree-lined Eboladromo

(Donington, ironically, is located in the Midlands, a few miles from where the bulk of the English kale is produced.)

– The third set of [19659045] The Grand Tour begins January 18 on Amazon Prime Video

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