In a tweet from his own account, Tiff Needell will no longer appear on Fifth Gear after 17 seasons. The official Fifth Gear Twitter account confirmed this, thanking Tiff for his years of service on the show. Tiff Needell is one of the original and most well-known automotive television journalists. He is also an accomplished racing driver, participating in Formula 1, The 24 Hours of LeMans and The British Touring Car Championship.
Tiff had humble racing beginnings. After working his way through the Formula One feeder series, he had a very brief Formula One career. He made 1 start and failed to qualify for another. His focus then changed to The 24 Hours of LeMans, where he competed 14 times between 1981 and 1997 with a best finish of 3rd overall. In the mid 1990’s, Tiff competed in the BTCC, driving for Nissan for most of his career, while presenting Top Gear. More recently, he has participated in the Goodwood Revival races.
He began his television journalist career on the original Top Gear in 1987 and was a staple of the show until it was cancelled by the BBC in 2001. Tiff and several other Top Gear hosts created Fifth Gear in April of 2002. Fifth Gear never got the kind of publicity or internet fame that the Top Gear reboot did, but it some ways it was a better car program. It offered more serious information and automotive tests. That’s not to say it was boring or lacked excitement.
Shootouts were one of the aspects of Fifth Gear that made the show so special. Tiff and either Vicki Butler-Henderson or Jason Plato would take two similar vehicles and race them around the Angelsey Circuit. Car vs car, car vs bike, SUV vs SUV, you name it, they raced it. One could easily lose an entire day watching these shootouts on YouTube.
Tiff’s new endeavor is the LoveCars YouTube channel where he continues to review and compare cars with his signature wit and driving style.