There have been many crazy races on Top Gear over the years, including one against a man wading through mud, and another against gravity itself when Hammond raced against a Beetle dropped from the sky. If anything, Jeremy, James, and Richard are never hurting for ideas when it comes to pitting cars against something.
Series 10, Episode 3 still stands as one of my favorites, pitting a Bugatti Veyron, driven by Richard Hammond, against a Eurofighter Typhoon, piloted by RAF Squadron Leader Jim Walls over a distance of two miles.
The reason why this race stands out so much to me is that it’s essentially the same sort of thing we did as kids when we were playing with our toys. Don’t you remember doing crazy stuff with your action figures? “I’m going to have a race between my Millenium Falcon and the Turtlemobile! Vrrrrmmmmmmmm!!!!”
This race is what happens when you grow up and never lose that mentality, and are suddenly faced with an opportunity and a big budget. Who in their right mind would let an opportunity like this pass them by?
With Richard behind the wheel (shockingly he didn’t crash), the Veyron put up a pretty decent fight in this “horizontal vs vertical race,” as Richard puts it. The Veyron would race one mile, turn around and return the one mile to its starting point.
The Eurofighter Typhoon would fly up one mile, turn back down, and make a return flight of the same mile across the Start/Finish line.
Off the line, the Veyron had the edge, looking like an early favorite to take the victory. However, within a few seconds, that Typhoon was GONE. The bulk of the race itself actually didn’t look like so much of a runaway victory for the Typhoon, as the Veyron looked like it was handling itself quite well.
But on the return trip, Hammond and the Bugatti just couldn’t handle the raw power of the Typhoon. Win or lose, both machines were absolutely awesome to watch in this race, and personally, it was like watching a childhood game come true.
Or as Hammond put it, “If you’re watching thinking this is cool, it is.”