The first season of The Grand Tour brought many significant changes from old Top Gear. One of those changes was the team racing driver. For this role, The Grand Tour brought in legendary Nascar racing driver Mike Skinner, AKA The American. The American is no stranger behind the wheel. He was once teammates with Nascar Royalty Dale Earnhardt and has raced since he was a boy. So how did a country boy Nascar driver end up in the UK as The Grand Tour’s racing driver? The American tells us how in our latest podcast.
Mike Skinner took us back to his first encounter with Jeremy Clarkson, a day before their first shoot, where they got “half wasted.” Skinner said:
“The first shoot I did with Jeremy, they rented a whole hotel up out of the way of everything, and there was no one else there but us. So I’m sitting there having a glass of wine, and Jeremy comes in and says, hey, you must be Mike.”
Skinner says they had a small talk before joining the rest of the group for dinner and drinks. Skinner tells us that Clarkson was keen to start drinking. He said, “well, I want you to know something, us Brits, we know how to drink,” he says quoting Clarkson.
Skinner continues, now talking for himself “Oh, do ya now? Well, good for you. I’m gonna go get some sleep.” According to Skinner, Clarkson apparently fired back, saying, “are you gonna be a little ‘blankety-blank’ and go to bed or are we gonna have a drink?”
“Well, I’ll have another glass of wine with you,” Skinner continues, and they went to the bar where Jeremy ordered 2 more glasses of wine. Skinner says he stopped the bartender and said, “bring us 2 bottles. You think you Brits know how to drink. Well, let me show you something.”
Skinner says they got “half wasted that night” and were still a little foggy the next morning when he had to test drive the Aston Martin Vulcan. Skinner said that producer Andy Wilman never let them hang out again, saying, “we’ve had enough Clarkson and Skinner episodes.”
Mike Skinner and his wife Angie have been hosting a radio show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio since 2015. The Skinner Round-Up is coming back on November 15th. Fans can tune in to get the latest updates on the sport and enjoy segments like Skinners Garage and Celebrity Drive-By.