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Top Gear Australia is an Australian motoring television series based on the BBC series Top Gear.

The show premiered on SBS One on 29 September 2008 at 7:30pm AEST,[1] with its first series consisting of 8 episodes.[2] A second series was announced following the release of ratings figures for the premiere and favourable comments from advertisers,[3] and began airing from 11 May 2009. After acquiring the rights to broadcast the UK version in 2009, the Nine Network started airing their own version of Top Gear Australia in September 2010.[4]

Top Gear Australia is also the name of a licensed version of the British Top Gear magazine.


Prior to filming SBS made an open casting call for presenters, resulting in over 4000 applications.[5] The original hosts chosen for Top Gear Australia were cartoonist and motoring columnist Warren Brown, MotoGP commentator Charlie Cox, and race driver Steve Pizzati.

Marketing prior to the first episode stated that the presenters would be joined by The Stig's "Australian cousin",[6] but in the first episode the driver was introduced as just "The Stig". Steve Pizzati suggested that The Stig have an "Australian" name, such as "Stiggo", but the other presenters refused. The series 2 opener clarified that Top Gear Australia's Stig is not intended to be the same Stig from the UK series.

On 19 December 2008, Charlie Cox announced he was leaving the programme as he felt he was unable to offer enough time to the show. SBS subsequently announced that trumpeter James Morrison would be his replacement, joining Warren and Steve for series two.[7] Morrison had previously appeared as a guest in the sixth episode.

For the third series, early reports claimed that former Australian cricketer Shane Warne would take over the hosting of the show alongside original Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson, although the BBC ultimately ruled out Clarkson's involvement in the Australian version.[8] On 20 June 2010, it was announced that actor and comedian Shane Jacobson and Top Gear Australia magazine editor Ewen Page would join a returning Steve Pizzati to present the show for the Nine Network,[9] which premiered on September 28, 2010 with a 90-minute The Ashes special.[10][11]


Mirroring the UK series, the studio segments were recorded at Bankstown Airport in Sydney. An exact copy of the UK studio at Dunsfold Park was constructed in a hangar. The power laps and "Star in a Bog Standard Car" were recorded at Camden Airport with parts of the runways and taxiways used as a test track.

Top Gear Australia uses the same theme music as the UK series, a version of The Allman Brothers Band's "Jessica".


Top Gear Australia features segments that mirror those seen on the BBC series, including build challenges and test drives. A significant difference is that speeds and power are quoted in metric units and prices are quoted in Australian dollars.

Power Lap[]


Reintroduced Camden Airport track from Season 3 onwards.

A test track around Camden Airport is used for power laps. The track includes nine corners lined up in an anti-clockwise direction, the first corner is The Question Mark followed by Clarkson Corner then The Crest and Turn 4 which is followed by the Main Straight before coming to a series of Chicanes then 06 Corner (named after the direction of the runway) then the Short left Hander and the Bus Stop Entry and Exit followed by the finish line.

At the start of Season 3, Top Gear Australia revealed a new test track. Still situated at Camden Airport, the new course built upon the old one by adding a new section, thus looping into a figure of eight. It contains twelve corners, a total length of 2.3 km and moves the Start/Finish line from between the Bus Stop and The Question Mark to the end of the Back Straight, ahead of the Bus Stop. The direction of the course is now clockwise, turning the main runway into the first straight. The first corner leads into a Hammerhead-like corner called The Blowout, followed by another straight which crest a small hill into a couple of Left Handers, turns 3 and 4. Exiting turn 4 leads back to the main runway and turn 5, Brocky's Corner. The track then crosses over The Blowout into a right then left hander called The Flipper. The next turn is the Question Mark hairpin from the old track. Finally, after a short straight, the course reaches the signature Bus Stop which is then followed by two right hand corners (including the old 06 Corner) back into the Start/Finish.

Lap times[]

  1. 1:06.92 - Porsche 911 GT2
  2. 1:07.06 - Nissan GT-R
  3. 1:07.69 - Lamborghini Murcielago LP640
  4. 1:08.80 - Ford GT RHD001 (850 hp)
  5. 1:08:88 - Lotus 2-Eleven
  6. 1:09.46 - Nissan GT-R (180 km/h speed limited)*
  7. 1:10.44 - Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Series
  8. 1:10:97 - Elfin T5
  9. 1:11:18 - Audi RS6 Avant
  10. 1:11.69 - Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK
  11. 1:11.82 - Maserati GranTurismo S

  1. 1:11.87 - Audi R8 (wet track)
  2. 1:12.00 - Walkinshaw Performance HSV Clubsport (with 20" wheels)[12]
  3. 1:12.28 - Lotus Elise
  4. 1:12.56 - HSV W427
  5. 1:12:88 - Elfin MS8 Streamliner
  6. 1:13.40 - BMW M3
  7. 1:13.53 - HSV Clubsport R8 (6.2L) wagon (manual)[13]
  8. 1:13.60 - HSV Clubsport R8 (6.2L) (automatic)
  9. 1:13.63 - Nissan 370Z
  10. 1:13.72 - Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG
  11. 1:14.08 - Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG

  1. 1:14.22 - Jaguar XF SV8 4.2 S/C
  2. 1:14.28 - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
  3. 1:14.90 - BMW 135i Coupé
  4. 1:15.19 - Walkinshaw Performance HSV Clubsport (with 22" wheels)
  5. 1:15.31 - BMW X6 xDrive50i
  6. 1:20.41 - Ford Falcon XT
  7. 1:22.06 - Holden Commodore Omega
  8. 1:22.53 - Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III**
  9. 1:44.66 - Hummer Stretch
  10. 2:31.46 - Ford Model T***

* The Nissan GT-R was listed as 180 km/h speed limited for its run in Episode 1 of Series 1, it was subsequently run without the limiter in Episode 7 of Series 2.

** Pizzati placed it at the top of the board despite being in the bottom three.

*** In keeping with the theme of the car, the Ford Model T's Power Lap was presented in a black-and-white silent film format.

Star In A Bog Standard Car[]

The Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car segment is mirrored with the name "Star in a Bog Standard Car". It is identical in execution. The car used is a Proton Satria Neo.

Lap Times[]

  1. 1:26.31 - Gyton Grantley
  2. 1:26.46 - James Morrison*
  3. 1:26.69 - Brendan Jones
  4. 1:26.75 - Steve Bisley
  5. 1:27.13 - Ian Moss
  6. 1:27.44 - Shannon Noll (wet track)
  7. 1:27:63 - Gary Sweet
  8. 1:28:69 - Leisel Jones
      1. 1:31.10 - Jack Thompson
      2. 1:31.22 - Claudia Karvan
      3. 1:31.75 - Amanda Keller (first time driving a manual car)
      4. 1:34.19 - Vince Colosimo
      5. 1:37.10 - Anh Do (first time driving a manual car)
      6. 1:37.41 - Julia Zemiro (first time driving a manual car)
      7. 1:38.56 - H.G. Nelson

* Morrison was removed from the board after he became a host.

Race Drivers[]

  1. 1:22.47 - Mark Skaife
  2. 1:23.53 - James Courtney
  3. 1:23.60 - Greg Murphy
Season 3: Ford Falcon Ute[]
  1. 1.51.47 Michael Clarke
  2. 2.00.04 Lisa McCune

What Were They Thinking?[]

The presenters discuss "stupid" ideas in motoring history and put pictures of them on a board. The board was later destroyed in the first episode of the second season when the shark cage Mini Moke was dropped on top of it.

Old car commercials[]

Every episode since series 2, Top Gear Australia shows an old car commercial.

  • Episode 1: Holden, "Football, Meat pies, Kangaroos and Holden cars"
  • Episode 2: Chrysler Charger, "Hey Charger!"
  • Episode 3: Chrysler Sigma, "It's a sensation" also known as "New from Japan"
  • Episode 4: Holden, "New Turbo-Smooth"
  • Episode 5: Ford Escort, "Going Ford is the going thing"
  • Episode 6: Ford, "It's the going thing"
  • Episode 7: Holden, "New Torana"
  • Episode 8: Ford, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Cortina" (6 Cylinder)


Aping its BBC counterpart, the show includes features where the hosts undertake various stunts some of which may antagonise members of the public. In October 2008 it was reported that Pizzati and Brown caused a traffic jam in Toorak, Victoria when they drove a tractor through the Melbourne suburb — a reference to the colloquial expression "Toorak Tractor", Australian slang for luxury SUVs.[14] The stunt featured in episode 5 of series 1, which aired on 27 October 2008.


The first episode debuted with an audience of 933,000 viewers,[15] SBS's highest ever ratings for a locally produced television programme. Top Gear Australia came third in its time slot and beat an elimination episode of Australian Idol.[3] The figure was slightly higher than any season premiere of the BBC version aired on SBS, up until that date.[3] However, subsequent episodes have failed to match this figure, and the first season has averaged around 650,000 viewers an episode. In comparison, viewing figures for the previous three Top Gear UK episodes shown in the same timeslot averaged around 903,000 viewers, though during this period Top Gear Australia still remained the highest rating program on SBS.[16]

For the second series SBS attempted to address some of the criticism brought up against the first series.[17] The second series of the show debuted with 689,000 viewers,[18] averaging 576,500 viewers across the series against the high rating MasterChef Australia.[16]. Ratings dropped throughout the second series, leading to speculation that SBS will not buy a third series.

Jeremy Clarkson has commented on the Australian version, saying "We're loving it, even though your funny accents make you hard to understand".[19]


From 2010, the Nine Network will broadcast Top Gear Australia and the UK version after winning the rights from SBS.[4] There were reports that former Australian cricketer Shane Warne would take over the hosting of the show along with Jeremy Clarkson. Neither have been confirmed, however the BBC has denied any involvement of Clarkson in the Australian version.[8]

List of Top Gear Australia episodes[]

Main article: Top Gear Australia (series 1)
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Series # Episode # Title Reviews Challenge Guest Original airdate
Main article: Top Gear Australia (series 2)
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Series # Episode # Title Reviews Challenge Guest Original airdate

Main article: Top Gear Australia (series 3)
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Series # Episode # Title Reviews Challenge Guest Original airdate


An Australian version of Top Gear magazine titled Top Gear Australia (published by Park Publishing, a partnership between ACP Magazines and the BBC)[20] was launched in June 2008 and features an amalgam of original Australian articles together with licensed content from the British and other international versions of the magazine.

External links[]

Template:Top Gear Australia Template:Top Gear

  1. Knox, David (2008-09-29). "Airdate: Top Gear Australia". TV Tonight. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  2. Knox, David (2008-09-19). "Colosimo first guest on Top Gear Australia". TV Tonight. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Field, Katherine (2008-09-30). "Idol left in Top Gear's dust". The Australian.,25197,24425336-12377,00.html. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Top Gear Moves to Nine". EBroadcast Australia. 2009-10-23. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  5. "SBS announces Australian Top Gear presenters". 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  6. "Australian Top Gear presenters revealed". BBC Worldwide Press Releases. 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  7. - Top Gear Australia loses Cox and blows Morrison’s trumpet
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Top Gear Australia Shane Warne & Jeremy Clarkson on Nine". 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  9. "Top Gear Australia’s new hosts". The Spy Report (Media Spy). 20 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010. 
  10. "Returning: Top Gear Australia". David Knox ( September 16, 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  11. "Shane Jacobson gets into Gear". David Knox ( September 27, 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  12. Top Gear Australia Series 2, Episode 2 2009.05.18 – Steve Pizzati: "It's over 3 seconds quicker than the 22 inch wheels... just tyres, nothing else, that's all we did."
  13. Top Gear Australia Series 2, Episode 4 2009.06.01 – Steve Pizzati: "The sedan was an auto and this is a manual."
  14. Top Gear Australia causes traffic jam on Toorak Road Herald Sun, 2 October 2008
  15. Knox, David (2008-09-30). "TEN’s tears for Idol". TV Tonight. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 TV Tonight: Ratings Archive
  17. TV Tonight: Car Tuning
  18. Top Gear Australia takes a second test-drive
  19. "Jeremy Clarkson Gives His Stamp of Approval to Top Gear Australia". eNews by eBroadcast Australia. 2008-10-20. 
  20. "ACP teams up with BBC for Top Gear magazine". 2008-03-13.,26278,23367077-10388,00.html. Retrieved 2008-09-30.