We recently were able to get an exclusive interview with The American, aka Mike Skinner, on the Grand Tour Nation podcast. Skinner is a NASCAR legend, who also appeared on the first season of The Grand Tour as the team racing driver. We asked Mike about his time on the Grand Tour and how he got started on the show in the first place.
“It was kind of an odd deal I got on a shortlist of either retired drivers or other hillbillies in the states, to do it and I was approached, and they asked if I could come to Virginia… to do a screen test and we did, and it obviously came out good enough that they thought they would give it a shot.”
We then asked Mike about his meetings with Executive Producer Andy Wilman, and more importantly, if they planned out his character on the show.
He said: “At first, not so much, but as we went, they did plan out my character and my conversations with Andy was really intriguing. And I thought it was going to be a really cool deal. They planned on working me in more.
“Instead of just being a grumpy American that hated everything they did and hated everything except American muscle…that was cool for a while.
“But it really felt like they told me they were going to implement me more in and do a few more things and have me do some stuff with the other hosts. And it just didn’t happen in a time frame that I thought it should have.”
By the time the first season had ended, the promises of character development were not kept, which resulted in a mutual agreement that The American would not be returning for season 2. However, Mike did tell us he enjoyed his time working with Jeremy Clarkson. The two were even banned from ever hanging out again by Producer Andy Wilman after a dramatic first meeting.
“It was fun working with them. I worked with Jeremy; he was great to work with. Definitely a pro at what he does. It was pretty cool because the first time we went over there, we were in hiding. There was paparazzi in the trees looking for what’s going on.
“It was weird. I have never been in a situation like that before. But It was a lot of fun. The first night we met we had dinner had a couple cocktails and Jeremy says you gonna go to bed or you gonna be a man and have a nightcap.
“You know, he said us Brits know how to drink and I’m like oh do ya now. So I probably corrupted him a little bit that night, we both had to be on our game the next morning and I gotta say we were probably a little foggy.”
Mike Skinner is now semi-retired and hosts a radio show with his wife Angie called Skinner Round-Up. You can tune Tune in to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio any Sunday there isn’t a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to get up to date on everything NASCAR.