Series 11, Episode 6 - Recap
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On for-queen-and-country Top Gear, we tried not to lose on penalties in a massive motoring shootout against the Germans. James drove a couple of oddball cars from Japanese motoring-misfit Mitsuoka. And, Hammond sampled the raw power of the world's ugliest supercar.
Our old friend Sabine Schmitz has recently been on television presenting a sort of German version of Top Gear. Seeing as it's now been quite some time since the Brits and Germans had a good scrap, we thought it would be a good idea to challenge Sabine and her co-hosts to a contest of driving prowess.
We decided to meet up in that traditional location for Anglo-German disagreements - Belgium. Or, more precisely, the Zolder circuit - Belgium's second most famous race track. Jeremy, Richard and James made a typically understated entrance in a trio of Supermarine Spitfires.
After several explosive challenges, it all came down to one head-to-head race around the track. As the only two people left who hadn't competed in an individual event, James would be facing off against professional racing driver Tim Schrick. Oh, dear.
Ever the perfectionist, James prepared for his final challenge by losing four stone, cutting his hair and wearing his lucky white race suit and helmet. The unsportsmanlike Germans had the temerity to claim we'd replaced James with the Stig - and they were still complaining when Sti… er, James beat their driver into a cocked hat. Victory in the bag, our boys turned tail and headed for home.
You've almost certainly never heard of Mitsuoka - Japan's tenth largest car manufacturer. So, in an effort to educate you, James went for a drive through Tokyo in a couple of its cars. First up was the Orochi, a mid-engine supercar with madly swooping bodywork, which was slow, quiet, and really rather comfy. Naturally, James loved it.
Next was the Galue saloon, which is a sort of modern, low-cost homage to Rolls-Royce. As a cut-price rival to the Phantom, it was pretty hopeless. But, for the Japanese businessman who doesn't take themselves too seriously and just wants a bit of fun, it's in a class of its own.
Some supercars are automotive artworks, designed to make fat businessmen more attractive as they trundle down the King's Road. Others are designed to go fast first and look good a distant second. The new Gumpert Apollo is very much of the latter school. You're unlikely to impress any supermodels in one, unless they're major fans of big spoilers, awkward vents and chicken wire. But if you want to lap racetracks very quickly indeed, look no further.
This point was proved by the Stig as he propelled the Gumpert to the top of the power lap board.
Also, Jay Kay made a welcome return to the studio for another try in our reasonably priced car and managed to knock Simon Cowell off the top spot in the process.