Motoring magazine. The team fills an art gallery with motoring-related works to try to prove cars are more popular than traditional art. Also Jeremy test-drives the Noble M600.
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Tonight, I get scared half to death on our track.
We host our own art exhibition and the world champion is in our reasonably priced car.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Thank you, everybody!
Thank you. Hello! Hello and welcome.
Now, a few years ago, we got very excited by this, the Noble M400.
But then the man behind the company that made it upped sticks and left
and then they stopped making it and then the whole operation just disappeared from the radar.
Now though...it's back.
This is what it's come up with.
Designed and built by some blokes I've never heard of on an industrial estate in Leicester,
it's called the M600.
Underneath the rather featureless body,
the chassis is made not from carbon fibre, but stainless steel.
The V8 that powers it is lifted from this.
Yep. It uses the same engine,
albeit with a couple of turbo chargers that Volvo use in the XC90.
So, built in Leicestershire from bits of the Industrial Revolution
and powered by the engine from a Volvo school bus.
And the cost? £200,000.
That does seem like a lot for a car that has no satellite navigation,
no climate control, no airbag.
It doesn't even have anti-lock brakes.
The men from Leicestershire say ABS is just another example
of the nanny state sticking its nose in, and that's very admirable.
But you can't help suspecting the real reason it doesn't have ABS
is because when you're operating out of a industrial unit in Leicestershire,
you can't really afford them.
There's another problem as well.
What kind of person looks at the established range of supercars
and thinks, "I don't like any of them"?
However, it turns out that there is a reason why you might choose a Noble,
rather than a Porsche, or a Ferrari
or a Lamborghini,
or an Aston Martin,
or a McLaren Mercedes.
You see, in terms of sheer speed, the Noble can blow all of that lot
into the middle of last week.
Let me show you what I'm on about here.
I'm currently doing 40mph in second gear. Ready? Foot down.
And there's 60.
40-60 in one second. One!
In fourth gear, 100 to 120 in two seconds.
100 to 130 in three seconds.
It does 150 to 170 so quick that your eyeballs bounce off the back of your skull...
like squash balls!
Break it, break it! Oh, my God!
You have to push. There's very little servo assistance there.
If you push too hard, you'll lock them up because there's no ABS.
God, it's quick!
That's mind-blowingly fast.
That is properly,
Flat out, it'll do 225mph.
Mainly because the engine, despite the Volvo connection,
develops 650 horsepower.
The whole car only weighs 1,250kg.
And the news keeps on getting better.
This down here is exactly the same switch
that a pilot uses in a Tornado fighter-bomber to fire the missiles.
It was specifically designed so it couldn't be used by accident and that is a good thing.
Because in here, what it does
is turn the traction control off.
Argh! I wish I'd kept it on!
I really wish I'd kept it on!
The margin for error
in most supercars is actually quite wide, but in this, it really isn't.
It's a constant nightmare.
1% too much speed going into a corner, you get understeer like that.
1% too much throttle to correct it, you've got oversteer.
1% wrong with the steering, you're going to spin.
Remember, there are no electronic driver aids to help you out.
There's no medevac chopper.
You get it wrong, you're on your own!
There is a fantastic sweet spot in this thing.
But even when you find it, you're often too terrified to enjoy the moment.
To really enjoy it and to find it regularly...
..you have to be a much better driver than I am.
I'm not really doing this justice.
Driving it fast, then, you need to be good.
But weirdly, to drive it at all, you don't.
Happily, if you wind the engine down to 550 horsepower or 450,
which you can do using this switch here,
it becomes a different animal. It becomes completely docile.
Calm. No harder to drive than...a Nissan Micra.
And like the old Noble, it's quiet and extremely comfortable.
It really does ride beautifully.
Summing this car up, then, is hard, because let's be honest,
there are several very good reasons why you shouldn't buy one.
But there is one very good reason why you should...
So it's that fast? That edgy? That edgy?
Honestly, it's the nearest I've ever come to collecting a camera car on a shoot.
I think that was the first time I've ever seen you properly scared on our track.
Oh, I was. No, I really was.
It's not so bad when it's dry, but when it's wet you have to have the reactions of a housefly.
-So not a fat, balding middle-aged man, then?
Not that, which is why we're now going to hand it over to our tame racing driver.
Some say that you shouldn't go round to his house
for your Christmas lunch, unless you enjoy the great taste of seagull.
And that the reason he always wears a helmet
is because a man once smashed him in the face with a model of Salisbury Cathedral.
All we know is he's called the Stig!
And he's off! We've had rain for the past few weeks now and we've got a dusting of snow.
Still hoping for good things, since Stig is one of the few things
that can really get to the bottom of a Noble. He loves them!
That is nice through there. Beautiful on the way out.
# In the bleak midwinter... #
Appropriate music for this weather.
Performing in the style of a Kray brother's funeral there.
A bit of twitchiness on the way in, but tasty on the way out of Chicago, now Hammerhead.
He came in very fast, understeering as I discovered earlier,
but Stiggy knows how to drive through and find that sweet spot.
# Oh, God Oh, my king...#
Right, time now to unleash the twin-turbo kick in the kidneys.
He does seem to be sawing at the wheel a lot in there.
It is a brute, this car, but the Stig isn't fazed.
That would be literally impossible. Two corners left.
He's still working hard, but the car itself looks really composed.
Coming up to Gambon,
slices through there and across the line!
OK. Here it is! Here it is.
It goes, mmm...
Hang on, you've just gone above a 599.
Yes. And above a Scuderia.
-That's that fast Lambo.
-And above the Enzo.
That's an Enzo up there!
Past the Veyron. Past the Zonda convertible...
So it's expensive, but it works?
Now we will do the news and we begin with the this -
it's a new Aston Martin. It's called the Rapide.
You can think of it as a DB9 with two extra doors.
That means there's room back here for two extra fully-grown adults
to enjoy the 470 horsepower, V12 motoring experience.
And they can enjoy exquisite details, such as these magnetically located grab handles, look.
It won't flap around when you're driving along.
All this is yours for £140,000.
Now, that is quite a bit more expensive
than Porsche's four-door, the Panamera,
but there are two very good reasons why you should choose the Aston Martin.
Firstly, and unlike the Porsche, it does look rather magnificent.
Secondly, most importantly, this is quintessentially British.
Despite the fact that it's made in Austria.
Which I think is in Germany.
OK. Now, as you can see, we are surrounded here
by a mountain of motoring-related Christmas present ideas.
-I say present ideas, actually it's landfill.
We haven't got time to get through all of it, but I want to start with this.
Perfume, as we know, is a very popular Christmas gift.
Big names, Givenchy, Chanel. Now look... The RAC.
Yes, the RAC has launched this.
They're calling it Eau De Voiture.
Ooh, sounds promising!
What you do is you spray it into your car
and it makes it smell like a minicab.
-It's quite strong!
-Have some of that.
-It is like a minicab.
-Because it smells... Oh,
The thing is, what it does, and I've really got a lot of it now,
is it's one of those smells that makes you think it's covering up other smells.
Like Femme Fresh.
Because it's a very strong smell in its own right, but it suggests that there are other things masking.
You get notes, don't you? You get notes, undercurrents. Suggestions of...
I can smell the fruity stuff, but also a bit of stale wee.
I can get a really beery burp.
All the things you'd expect in a minicab.
I have another gift suggestion here for Christmas.
Are you fed up with people bumping into you in a crowd situation?
-Yes, I am!
-Well, I have the solution here
with these small, ear-mounted human indicators. I kid you not.
What happens is, I'm walking along, say in a shopping centre.
Here I am in a shopping centre and you'll be the crowd?
There's a danger of jostling here, because I'm going to that shop on my right.
-You can indicate!
-So now you know and you can take evasive action.
-And you can go left?
Yes. Actually, I fancy the record shop over there.
-Everybody knows what's happening. I think it's a very good gift.
So how much are they? Do we know?
Oh, I don't know. Some money.
Look at this superb shirt.
It's got everything you need, really.
It has a web address here.
It's stitched into the collar and then on the back,
-look at that - Mercedes-Benz.
Oh, yeah. Really, honestly, it's hard to think of any way that this could be improved.
That says, "I have a washing machine and everything else I own is already in it."
But, James, you like a flowery shirt, so why wouldn't you like that?
Well, why would you want a web address?
OK, this is a bad thing. That's a bad thing.
It's got out of hand. It's all right. No, it's gone out.
That's actually quite...
Jeremy has set fire to the Christmas presents!
I have actually set fire to the Land Rover teddy bear. No.
You know the smoking rules in Britain?
-Sorry about that!
Anyway, look - I think...
-It's still on fire!
It's smouldering, that's all.
Look at this!
It's a fork on one end and a 10mm ring spanner on the other.
And the best thing is, there's another spanner in the middle!
No, but this means you can go seamlessly
from mending your motorcycle to eating a pie without even pausing.
Chaps, you know how difficult it is to choose the right calendar.
-Obviously you choose it now and you've got to live with it.
-It's a big commitment.
For 12 months, you have to live with it.
So I'm a bit stumped on what I'm going to use next year, because there's this one.
This is Her Majesty's Prisons of England.
Different picture every month.
-But then I found this one - Birmingham's Outer Circle Municipal Bus Route.
But then I found, I think, the solution to my calendar problems.
Who did that? It's awful!
You can have it, James. I've got loads.
Why are you drunk in all the pictures?
It looks like all the pictures were taken coming out of award ceremonies,
-so, yes, I probably was drunk.
-Do you know what I really love about that calendar?
Because it's unofficial, you all go and buy one, he receives not one single penny.
I know, I know! Thank you for publicising it.
It's very kind of you.
We'd like to recommend this calendar. Everybody go and buy it.
Get rid of that thing!
Let's do the rest of the show like that.
Why does everything get broken in our Christmas thing?
As we know, the Lottery Fund has spent millions of pounds
turning old warehouses in places like Liverpool and the West Midlands into art galleries.
And we also know that they have all been an unmitigated failure.
We think the reason for this is because they haven't got any cars in them.
Art experts will tell you that cars aren't art. We think they can be.
Back in the 1970s, BMW started making things like this over here.
It's a three-litre CSL, but the bodywork has been painted by American artist Alexander Calder.
Then in the '90s, there was a three-series race car.
The body's been painted by artist Sandro Chia. Then over here,
an 850 CSI - that's been painted by British artist David Hockney.
Provincial galleries would never accept this sort of thing these days,
and that, we reckon, is exactly why they're failing.
So we decided to take over the Mima Gallery in Middlesbrough.
And using nothing but motoring-based art,
we would attempt to get 30,000 visitors through the door up North in a single week.
And that's as many as Tate Britain gets in a week in London.
This is the North, which is where northerners live.
And this is the art gallery we've taken over.
We'd simply clear out the paintings northern people plainly don't want to see,
and fill it with motoring exhibits that hopefully they do.
To decide what these exhibits would be, we went to our secret motoring art base in Surrey.
-What on earth is that?
-It's a car.
The artist claims that he makes these by painting them
and then driving a remote control over them. I mean, I like it.
-I like it.
-It's got a joie de vivre to it.
Yes, put it in! Oh!
It's Damon Hill in the wet.
-That goes in.
What he should have done is just given us that bit.
That would now look like one of Monet's visions of his lily pond, but it would be about Formula One.
It does have a Monet quality to it, no question.
I'm sorry, gentlemen, this is the worst painting I've ever seen
-in my entire life and it's not coming.
-Or is it?
Maybe this is a commentary on the superhuman,
almost alien nature of a Formula One driver at this level.
Because clearly this isn't human.
That much is immediately apparent.
What it's done is suck the life out of this corpse in the overalls her.
All of that is gone, drained out by this creature.
This is coming with us. This is properly amazing stuff.
And so is that. I think in Middlesbrough this will go well.
Why-aye, a tab! They're refuelling his car and he's having a tab.
That is, without doubt, the centrepiece of our exhibition.
-It's exquisite work.
-That is not going in.
-It cannot go in!
We went round the room ticking the yeses.
Look at the way they've captured his moustache so beautifully here.
Not just that moustache, but the other two moustaches as well.
So this is a collage out of press comments about him.
Excellent. Definitely going in.
Gentlemen! I bet you any money that in the North,
people will be stunned by this. It's a V8 Shark.
-If it provokes a response, that's going.
-It will provoke a response.
In addition to the pre-prepared art, we've been making some ourselves.
James, for example, is keen to make a sculpture.
I've decided to de-construct the car, literally, as you can see, and artistically.
Then rather than try and rebuild it as a sculpture that speaks about the car,
I'm going to do it as a sculpture that speaks about my emotions, my feelings, when I drive a car.
Inspired to some extent by Picasso...
What you need to bear in mind is if you can get an artist,
somebody with frizzy hair and sticky-out teeth, to say it's art, then it's art.
While James set to work on his big metal face,
Richard went off to create a modern day interpretation of Constable's Hay Wain.
Unlike Richard, I'm not very good at drawing, because I didn't go to art school.
So my painting will be done by this.
The 2005 Red Bull F1 car. Yep.
Its three-litre V10 will be my brush.
All we need now is a tame racing driver.
Some say he has a massive chin, and that's true, he does.
Because he's David Coulthard. So are you ready for this?
I think so. I'm still trying to get my head round the concept.
Well, the idea is very simple.
We are going to put paintballs into the air box.
They will then shoot out of the exhaust, and into the canvas
that I'll be holding behind the car,
so we'll sort of splatter the canvas using this car as our brush.
-It's triggered to start firing them at 5,000 RPM.
So you need to go to 5,000. Can you do that?
-I can probably manage that.
-So if you want to hop in, mate, I'll go and stand behind the vehicle.
Actually I might just put some protection on my head.
I've done some weird things in my life, but this is up there.
All right, then, David. Ready!
Argh! Oh, God! Oh!
I'm not giving him mouth-to-mouth, that's for sure.
Things were going badly for me, but they were worse for Sir Henry May.
Every day, over 10,000 people go to the National Gallery to see the Hay Wain.
More will come and see this, because it's got more of a social statement about it.
Also, because I'd substituted the Hay Wain for a Zonda.
It's poetry in paint.
Plums now protected and using a stronger aluminium canvas,
Coulthard and I were in business.
A plane of light just bouncing off here.
Work it in, work it in...
With the paintball painting finished, I was now busy on another creation.
What I'm doing is spraying the car with a special paint that shows up best in ultra-violet light.
Sorry, sorry! So when I've finished, Mr Coulthard is going to take it for a spin round the track.
It will streak, showing me where the air flow has gone.
Sorry, sorry again. Sorry, mate.
With the car dripping wet, David set off.
But unfortunately some of the paint had gone on his visor.
After wiping his helmet, he set off again to create some 200mph art.
You sprayed my helmet.
You shot one of my testicles.
Oh, I see, that helmet. That was, I admit, a mistake,
but you should see what has been achieved.
When we put this under ultra-violet light...
-Can we edit the spin out?
-Yes, we can edit that out!
Projects completed, we reconvened at the secret base,
where our exhibits were to be assessed by Rupert Maas,
an art dealer from the Antiques Roadshow.
It was a lot better than this.
-The problem was, it didn't dry.
-It's sort of still happening, isn't it?
It's performance art, because it has streaked in a living way.
It fell off the easel.
I mean, it really is nature and the automotive world absolutely crashing together.
It's very good. Very good.
Quite, quite. I have to say, I think it is probably more compost than art, but thank you.
Annoyingly, Rupert seemed to quite interested in James May's big face.
It's called Acceleration Face Number One.
I mean, I was inspired to some extent by Der Blaue Reiter
-and some of the works of that era.
-And African masks.
The African mask has had an influence on it. It's very angular, it's quite simplistic, it's quite primitive.
-Has it been on fire?
-What does the expert think?
-Well, let's have a look at it in the round. I quite like the welding.
We can repair this, James.
The Mona Lisa of the scrapheap.
The rest of the visit wasn't any better.
-Is there anything here that catches your eye?
-Does that one work?
-Is this no good?
Does it work on any level for you?
-Does it have artistic merit?
-So all of this is terrible?
-Thank you very much for coming along.
I value your opinion. I won't necessarily pay any attention to it.
-In fact, none of us will. But thank you very much for coming, Rupert.
Feeling a bit disheartened, we decided to try and create our own BMW art car.
We need to agree on a light source and a viewpoint.
Our genius plan was to paint the inside of the car on the outside,
with James taking the bonnet, me the side, and Jeremy the boot.
Jeremy, though, didn't quite get the idea.
Right, red for the blood.
It's supposed to be what's INSIDE the car.
How do you know there isn't a horse's head in the boot?
For our final creation, we had to cut a car in half, which meant using a dangerous plasma cutter.
That meant we had to take precautions.
-I could help.
-You can't do this with a hammer.
That's exactly why you're taped to a chair.
This is like a scene out of Reservoir Dogs.
Don't give us ideas.
Guys, where did you find that car?
It was just outside with all the rest of them for this.
It says here, RJO4 RWZ, it's a rental car.
We'll see how that pans out later on,
but now it's time to put a star in our reasonably priced car.
Now, my guest tonight won the 2009 Formula One World Drivers' Championship.
He won the 2009 World Constructors' Championship for Brawn.
And when he was pipped to the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award
last weekend, by Ryan Giggs,
he won the 2009 trophy for the best forced smile.
Let's see if he's still gritting his teeth.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jenson Button!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Hello to you. Well done.
-Jenson Button, Formula One World Champion.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Have a seat. Have a seat.
OK, that's the congratulations over now the commiserations.
Because this time last week...
Did anybody see Sports Personality Of The Year?
I mean, let's be honest, Ryan Giggs, he's 73.
-And he can still kick a football.
-I think you do need an award for this, actually.
We have actually got a clip of the moment. If you want to look away.
Everyone else can see this, here we go. This is the moment.
Well, that is a shock.
That's a big shock.
That is a... That is a rictus grin, that is.
I could be an actor with that, no?
No, you couldn't.
You couldn't because what I loved was when he said I haven't got
a speech ready I thought, no, but the man behind you has.
So anyway, I just want to know because I'm sure loads of people will be interested.
It was actually this time last year, there you were gearing up for a new season.
You had got Ross Brawn on board who's obviously a genius designer
and then the call comes through from Honda that they're pulling out of the sport. How did that feel?
It was difficult. I had just got back from, I was in Lanzarote doing some fitness training.
I was all ready for the new season.
I arrived at Gatwick and I got a message from my manager saying,
Honda are pulling out of the sport.
It was a really difficult thing to take in. Because you know, will
were going to be racing in 2009. We were going to have a competitive car, possibility of winning races.
There was a lot of work that went into that car and
it would have been an absolute tragedy if it wasn't on the grid.
So all I could do was stay focused and try to help the team as much as I could.
And that's what we did, we got through a difficult winter and we produced a car...
-And this was when Ross was able to buy what remained of the Honda team.
Now, you came here last time having not won a race in Formula One and you had done about 140 11.
-And you said you'd cheerfully give up the jets, the lifestyle, the Monte Carlo for that first win.
But the thing is you damn nearly did give up all that lifestyle to go to Brawn, didn't you?
I mean how big a sort of cut was it in terms of everything?
There were 700 odd people working at the factory and they had to scale down the team
so obviously there were some redundancies, which was tough, even for the people that stayed.
But we all gave as much as we could and we tried to help as much as we can.
I suppose it would be impossible to say, "no, I want N-million dollars a year"
when people are being made redundant. Because you went to 20% of your salary or something.
Can't remember the figure at the moment.
But don't feel sorry for me.
But that first test that you did
in what would become the Brawn car, were you surprised how fast it was?
I knew we had built a good car because all the numbers
said so in the wind tunnel but until you actually drive it, yeah, you don't know 100%.
But we bolted in the Mercedes Benz engine in the back because obviously it wasn't made for that engine.
We had to sort of trim the chassis down and make sure the gearbox fitted, just about fitted.
With some spaces and what have you.
And went out and tested it at Barcelona and after five laps I really felt comfortable in the car.
And I came and I said, "Guys, you know, this is all right. This is a good baseline."
Even though it was a last-minute botch job to get the Mercedes engine.
Yes, yep, this fills pretty nice. My engineer came up to me and said,
"Jenson, you are seven tenths quicker than anyone." They had been testing for three months.
-Seven tenths. Which is a lot.
-That's three years in Formula One.
It's massive. Oh, yeah. And then every race people were putting on
big packages and for us to try and keep the advantage was impossible.
So, yeah, it's been a very tricky season.
Leading the championship from start to finish sounds easy.
But it's not.
It's really, really hard.
Cos I have to say, I mean Brazil, I don't know
if anybody was watching Brazil which was the penultimate race.
You had to come fourth and then you were definitely
World Champion irrespective of what anyone else did.
Let's just have a look at these clips of you in that race needing to come fourth.
So that's big John, isn't it?
'Can he do it?'
-'Another stunning piece of driving under pressure from Button.'
-Thank you, Martin.
Look at that again, that's round the outside.
'Wonderful move by Button squeezed in there.'
We're almost doing 200mph there you can't really see it from the camera but it's...
Jesus that's so close.
'Jenson Button through.'
'I have to say, he's been impressive.'
So this is now whatever his name is, the Red Bull.
That was last of the late breakers, wasn't it? Take that.
-That was the drive of a champion that was.
You know when it kicks out...
When I'm driving a car and it kicks out like that, I poo myself.
This might sound really silly and think I'm a bit of a know it all, but
-I did actually do that on purpose a little bit.
-What, kick the tail out?
Because I had to make sure that I could get to turn two first and one of the only way of doing it is
a little bit of oversteer makes the guy a little nervous that you're getting close.
And that is what happened. And the great thing is he backed out of it.
Sorry, I just need to... This is very peculiar. So you have the World Championship riding on
your having to finish the race, obviously to get the World Championship.
And you kick the arse of the car out, ON PURPOSE,
-to unnerve whoever he is.
-Well, it's giving him less room he's got no room to turn on the inside.
Yes but what if you had cocked it up?
-You know for me to win the world championship before the last race was a must.
I really wanted to get it done before so I had to take the risk.
Now, obviously we are looking forward to you versus Lewis.
Are you going to be able to beat him?
That's the aim, I wouldn't be doing it if not.
That's going to be, I tell you it's going to be a fascinating battle.
This is a massive buzz for me. It's so exciting.
I've been in F1 for ten years and having the chance to race
alongside Lewis at McLaren, it's something I'm really excited about.
Can we just talk about your road cars?
-Have you not got a Veyron?
-Yes. I have.
-Can I just ask what's the fastest you've driven it?
Um, 70 times... Less 10%... 77.
-It's actually been here.
-Do you believe him? Has it?
I sneaked in one day and unlocked the bars and drove round your circuit.
Had a bit of a practice. Was it any good here?
It was all right, except for you had... I can't say what I was going to say. Because I want to sell it.
So anyway, obviously you came here into our Liana.
I tell you what,
-I had to change my driving style here.
I think it was the snow, possibly.
You say that, you're such a fusspot.
No, seriously, listen to this. You've got to listen to me, I'm a guest.
Go on, because it would just be a racing driver excuse.
No, it isn't an excuse but I jumped in
and I sat there revving the engine with the heater on thinking, "I'm so nervous.
"This thing is an amazing bit of kit."
I've learnt so much coming here I'm really going to take it into the 2010 season.
Who would like to see Jenson's lap?
There you go. It's obviously the old Liana.
And there it is. We haven't seen that for ages.
-Look how wet it is.
Think like this is for the World Championship, come on JB.
It's more important than the Formula One world championship.
Look at it, it's greasy.
In F1 if it's wet the tyres work, if it's greasy you just slide.
-You're holding on nicely through there.
-A little bit slippery out here.
It is interesting, that first turn.
Yes, I'm impressed, no power understeer.
-First turn you took the wide line in.
-A little bit wild, JB. Come on!
At least I'm not singing.
You're not singing. And Lewis has a different line in that first corner and he's adamant about it.
So there you go, you see, now that's tidy.
I tell you what. I'm more scared driving this than I'm a Formula One car.
I was. This bit here is scary.
-It is. If you go on the red wires, that's quite slippery.
-I think they should put this on the F1 calendar.
This place rocks.
Oh. That was nice and close to the tyres made the move.
Second to last corner here let's have a look.
Yes, that's good.
-Got the back out a bit.
-Yeah, it's fun. Beauty.
Come-on, got the back out again.
There we are.
Across the line.
I thought that looked quite good, that.
So. Here we go. Jenson...Button.
-See that. I didn't even lean forward.
-No, really. Where do you reckon?
-It felt good.
Very slippery but I could slide the car through the corners.
It was fun. I don't think I'm quicker than I was before.
Because it was dry, how would I be?
Well, Lewis was here in exactly the same car in exactly the same conditions.
-They rarely were exactly the same.
-I'm a better driver than I was then.
You did it, he's a 1.44.7, you did it in 1...
-Oh, you're kidding.
-You just missed out.
But give him a huge one.
Wait a minute, I'll give you the wet.
Look at that.
Do you know what it was? It was that showboating in the last two corners.
It was fun, though. That little thing is so fun.
It is. You should try the more powerful Chevrolet Lacetti.
-Well, they wouldn't let me have a go in that one.
-No, because that's the Formula One car.
Anyway ladies and gentlemen, I give our World Champion, Jenson Button.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And actually your face will be
back in a minute because what we're going to do now is pick up our art gallery film.
James and I arrived by aeroplane fresh from the South.
Where do Geordies actually come from?
Geordies are from the North-East.
Maybe they're all Geordies. Then there's others, Foggies, aren't there?
There's the Foggies and the Muggies and the monkey hangers. I don't know what they are.
-Are they all types of Geordie?
-Well, I think so.
-Or are they, maybe they're different.
They all say why-aye so they must all be Geordies.
As our BMW art car was so valuable, I decided to drive it to the exhibition myself.
What I have here is a 3.5 litre straight six painting.
It's art that moves you, quite literally, moves you.
At the Middlesbrough Institute Of Modern Art, Captain Sense of Direction
had decided to make an audio guide to that would steer visitors around the exhibits.
If you turn through almost 180 degrees to your left or even to your right in fact because it of course
makes no difference whatsoever and walk straight ahead towards the wall and rotating to
your right and not quite through 180 degrees but probably about 155.
I, meanwhile was on the road, touring the local radio stations in a bid to drum up some support for our show.
This is fantastic.
I've got a van.
I've got a list of phone numbers and I've got a mission.
I'm a PR agent.
And then walking through the white door we arrive at the upstairs gallery.
Actually, that's not right. You need to come out and turn left or right if you haven't gone through
the white door through the glass door, which you push.
You are then in the upstairs gallery.
The first stop on my publicity tour was Radio Tees.
Who cares about the weather because it's the weekend.
Who cares when Top Gear is in town.
-And Richard flipping Hammond is with us.
Here comes the publicity.
Welcome to Teesside. You of course used to work here many years ago, why are you here?'
Well, it's great to be here. I did used to work here, apparently.
I worked in a lot of radio stations for not very long.
What are you doing!
'So yes, I worked here....'
-Talk about the exhibition.
-And I have fond memories of working here.
Nobody's interested in your bloody memories.
Because I started in Radio York in 1989.
Oh, for crying out loud!
For the rest of the interview Hammond brilliantly publicised...himself.
I've just started something up called Blast Lab, a kids' science show.
Oh, for God's sake. This is ridiculous.
To make matters worse, in the gallery, May was busy
ignoring our instructions to make the audio guide interesting.
As it was codenamed during development, rejecting the complicated hydragas suspension
of its forebear, the Allegro, in favour of a straightforward
steel-sprung chassis with a rear axle derived from a design already used to great effect.
Yeah, I'm doing it. I've just...
Yes, I know it's got to be done by it 3.30. But I can't do it because
people keep ringing me up and asking me if I've done it yet.
As I bore down on Middlesbrough, Hammond's publicity tour was going from bad to worse.
Yes, I did, I started in 1989 at Radio York.
'Yeah, absolutely, I think Total Wipeout has been a tremendous success...'
-I'm going to have a heart attack!
-There's one where people have to climb a platform and
in front of them are four massive red inflatable balls and they have to...
Total Wipeout is just idiots falling over.
Talk about our art exhibition!
The good people of Hartlepool.
Hammond is in town with his PR machine.
At Mima, the other idiot was in the gallery of motor-racing.
A subject about which he knows nothing.
Some pictures of racing cars going around corners...
Hopefully, these cardboard boxes won't be here by the time you arrive.
There's a man on fire.
There's a car going along, erm...
And then I had a problem.
I was coming round the corner doing about 27mph
and a cow was there.
And I just had nowhere to go because of this...
I'd say there was a school bus...well it was a bus full of children, handicapped children,
and I saw some ginger ones on so I just...
I thought, well I'm going to have to miss that, so I'll put it
in the ditch rather than injure the children.
That story didn't wash.
Take a deep breath, Sir. Lips around the tube, constant stream of breath.
Keep going, keep going, keep going. thank you.
The good news was, I scored zero.
The bad news came when the car was towed out of the ditch.
That's not too... It is quite bad. Oh, God.
And my attempts to mask the damage with T-Cut just made everything worse.
This was an important exhibit for us, this car.
I'm casting around in my head for someone to blame but it's just me, it keeps coming back at me.
So, when we met up, I decided to do the honourable thing.
And go on the attack.
Did you hear what he did on the...?
-Yes, I did hear what you did on the radio.
-I've been working my backside off.
You have been and done one interview and you talked about Blast Lab, Total Wipeout...
-He didn't ask the right questions.
-I told you.
I know more about PR than you. I was on top of it.
Listen, none of this detracts from the fact, and I can read it in
your face, that you've been an idiot and you have ruined the whole event.
By the way. Thanks for asking.
-We don't care.
Evidently. No, it has not...
As the exhibition was due to open the following morning, we agreed to stop bickering and get to work.
James went off to rouse the troops.
And Richard relaunched his PR campaign.
My work is complete. One mobile billboard.
But better still, just to really give the message,
what I've done is actually put one of the exhibits from the gallery, on the move, lit and everything,
so that people can see it, I'll leave the door open as I am driving around.
-THAT is PR.
I was with Stephen Wiltshire, the artist famous for creating detailed drawings from memory.
So which bit of New York do you think you're going to put behind the car?
I'm going to put the Brooklyn Bridge.
Brooklyn Bridge, OK.
Out on the streets, the PR machine had adopted a more personal approach.
LOUDSPEAKER: People of Middlesbrough.
Tomorrow morning is your opportunity to soak up some art. Madame, in the black tracksuit.
Sir, in the white tracksuit top, you could visit Mima.
You, young man, in the grey black tracksuit trousers.
You sir, in the blue tracksuit top.
Tomorrow morning, nine o'clock at Mima.
Art is for the masses, art is for you sir.
In the black tracksuit trousers and you young man in the blue tracksuit trousers.
There is a festival of art available for you.
Back at the gallery it was all go. Each of us had chosen what he
thought was the best-looking car of all time.
And Jeremy and I were busy installing them.
Richard had gone for his own, Series 1 Land Rover.
Jeremy for a Ferrari 275 GTS.
No, it is absolutely terrific.
I bet if you turn the radio on it'll just be the beginning of The Italian Job. That music.
And I'd gone for a Lamborghini Countach.
How long have you talked about the Lamborghini Countach for on the audio tape?
Please, tell me it's no more than two seconds.
A few minutes.
It's a very important car. So, this idea that...seriously, James...
Yes, but you're only thinking in terms of numbers of people
-coming through, which I know is an honourable ambition...
-Yes, that's the goal.
Yes, but they have to come to a gallery and experience some art.
OK, what's this James? This is how I want to see the people of Middlesbrough, OK.
On your left, there's a Lamborghini Countach, that's a Ferrari 275 GTS and there's a Land-Rover.
In here, we've actually got some art.
That's the speed I want them to be doing.
If they saunter, if they're standing there, saying, "Oh, look at the wire wheels and the seats..."
The log jam.
There was, however, a more immediate problem. Oh, hang on a minute.
-Is it too wide?
-We cannot not have it.
-Can't it just be there?
-Well, not really.
Eventually, the Countach was bought in on a special giant thing.
And with that done, we went to check on Stephen.
So that's four hours. And it's gone from a blank piece of paper to that James, in four hours.
-That's extremely good.
-How many times have you been to this place.
Twice, in the Brooklyn Heights.
-So you remember the detail on this bridge, just from standing here two times?
That car is astonishing.
-I know. You're pedantic on these things. That is really accurate.
Darkness fell but still Hammond's PR onslaught rumbled on.
We've stuffed the Mima Gallery full of things
that people want to go and see, Obviously, it's automotive themed...
And long into the night, James and I were arguing about where the art car should go.
So what, you want to position it to draw people's attention to the bit you crashed?
-No, I disagree.
OK, it needs to be...
Leave it like that. Please go, get on with your next job.
I'm very happy. Leave it there.
Show day. And amazingly, our exhibition was looking rather good.
We had installed many thought-provoking pieces including, Stig World.
A video installation where visitors get a glimpse of what goes on inside his helmet.
We also had our ground-breaking masterpiece called, What's Europcar
Going To Say About This?, and obviously Our BMW art car.
We knew that all of this would bring in the multitudes and prove that motoring is the way forward
for the nation's art galleries, so we went on to the roof for our first glimpse of the queues.
We'll be able to look at the crowd from over here.
Are you ready, steady...
It's not that big, is it?
It was a disaster.
And the news from the outlying car parks was even worse.
It was like a scene from Omega Man.
It's now 10 to 10. As you can see, we've been open for 15 minutes.
And there is just...
There, officially now, the people looking after
the exhibits, outnumbering the number of people looking at it.
My carefully-prepared personal lectures were a complete waste of time.
For me, the artist has managed to avoid any kind of branding.
It's just simply pure...
To hit our targets, we needed 800 visitors an hour but it just wasn't happening.
I am just doing a rough head count here.
-It's not a lot.
Around 75 people, tops.
By midday the numbers had picked up a bit but instead of following the prescribed route through
the gallery, everyone was all over the place thanks to James' useless audio guide.
'And then walking through the white door, we arrive at the upstairs gallery.'
'Actually, that's not quite right.'
'Into the next room. The door of which should be open.'
HIGH-PITCHED ALARM BLARES
'Yeah, but I can't do it because people keep ringing me up and asking me if I've done it yet.'
'I can't even turn it off.'
Worse still, Hammond had forgotten to do his homework on the exhibits.
That's a Ferrari 275 GTS.
As you can see, the lines are...
-Yes, it is a lovely colour, yes, it is.
We called an emergency meeting.
OK, right, what are we doing, what are we doing?
(We're not very good at this. Can I just point that out.)
Don't skid away, let's just relax.
-What is going to work about it? This is a catastrophe, James.
-It's not a catastrophe...
-It's a catastrophe.
Plainly, Hammond's PR had been rubbish.
So, to bring in the crowds we needed to find one.
And we did.
FOOTBALL FANS CHANT
At half-time, we would make a hearts and minds appeal
for the Middlesbrough fans to come to our show after the match.
Sadly, though, we put Captain Geordie in charge of our outfits.
BOOING AND WHISTLING
Is this not..?
Give us a minute.
People of the North-East.
We apologise for that terrible mistake.
We are here to ask...
Please, we have an art exhibition at the Mima Gallery,
we need your support, we have Ferraris, Lamborghinis,
we have Richard Hammond's Land Rover.
Er, anything else? No. Oh, there's one thing.
Nottingham. You can't come.
The away fans responded with good grace.
# You fat bastard, you fat bastard you fat bastard... #
You fat bastard!
Amazingly, though, our plan worked.
In you come.
If you start shuffling through that way.
Soon the place was packed, which meant I could finally unveil our centrepiece.
Without a doubt, the highlight, the highlight of the show so far.
How much do you have to hate somebody
to sit down with a piece of cloth and then do that to him?
Among the crowd was a learned art scholar who could see James' sculpture for what it was.
-Are you saying it's a bit crap.
-Nothing to see. Nothing to see.
The crowds, though, meant we had a new problem with a James' audio guide.
Not only was it still getting everybody lost but as I'd feared it was also extremely long-winded.
'And latterly, to 5.2 litres, an expansion'
'that was accompanied by the fitment of a new cylinder head...'
This meant the visitors weren't moving through the gallery fast enough.
-Have you been listening to the audio guide?
-How is it?
With bottlenecks springing up everywhere there was no way we'd get the numbers through.
So I was forced to shorten my personal lectures a bit.
Right, everybody, there's only one interesting thing in here
and it's that painting there of the Bentley. Good, you've seen it, off we go.
There we are, that's a BMW, we've done it.
In here's a Formula One car with some paint on it, lovely.
Right, out. Out.
Out, you, you, off you go.
-James, however, simply didn't get the idea of this at all.
-Does he know?
Does a cat know it's a cat?
Does a dog know when its old.
What does he actually know?
What are you doing with them up there?
Well, I'll tell you exactly what's happening.
Everybody's getting into a room where James May is talking and they're stuck.
This called for drastic measures.
-These are stink bombs.
-So in machine terms he's extremely bright but he's inanimate.
Does he have any feelings? Can we transfer our own feelings on to the crash-test dummy?
Rodin's Thinker. He's sort of naked.
-Ooo, bit of an itch.
-The point of art is, you have to interact with it. You don't just look at it.
What's that stink?
Sorry about that, it's unfortunate, but...
OK, if you'd like to move to the exits now, tremendous, thank you for leaving here.
Sorry about the smell. I've no idea how that happened.
Soon the crowds were moving along at a fair old pace, which meant there wasn't much more we could do.
-We've got the best exhibits that we could have got.
We've done the best PR that we can do.
It's now time for us to bail out and let the numbers roll in.
With that. Back to the studio.
I finally got to say that.
I have the figures here, remember...
Remember, we had to beat 30,000.
-And what we actually managed was 50,000.
No, no, 15.
Oh, so, a half of what we needed then.
Yeah, we were halfway there.
But, this is still an all-time record for the Mima Gallery.
-Yes. That is brilliant.
-We did it.
We sort of did it. We did something.
Cars are the future of art.
They are and that is a bombshell and that means we can end.
Have a very, very happy Christmas. Take care. Good night.
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May attempt to prove that cars can be art by taking over an entire modern art gallery in Middlesbrough and filling it with motoring-related works, including some remarkable creations of their own. In their quest to prove that cars can be more popular than traditional art, the presenters set themselves the challenge of attracting more visitors to their exhibition than will visit a more traditional gallery over the same period, a task that forces them to engage in some unusual promotional activities.
Also on the show, Jeremy is on the test track in a new British supercar, the sensationally fast and sensationally expensive Noble M600.