Sunday, January 22, 2012

Top Gear US Season 2 Episode 7 "Beating Tanner"

On this episode of Top Gear US, Rutledge and Adam put Tanner through a series of car-related challenges in order to beat Tanner, and Bridget Marquardt moves out of the Playboy Mansion and into the Suzuki SX4.

Segment 1: Video Game Racing vs. Real World Racing

Tanner is a professional driver and is very competitive. He has done donuts in a truck, did a powerslide in a Lambo, and has shown off every chance he gets in front of Adam and Rutledge. Adam and Rutledge have gotten sick of Tanner's attitude and have decided to put Tanner through three challenges.

The first challenge takes place at Infineon Raceway, a tough course with several corners, elevation drops, and a wall very close to the track. Rutledge and Adam will be driving around a virtual version of Infineon in Forza Motorsports 4 and each will set a lap time. Tanner will be driving around the real course and has to beat Adam's and Rutledge's best lap time. Since Adam and Rutledge picked the course, Tanner got to pick the car, the Lexus LFA.

Lexus LFA
The Lexus LFA is a $375,000 front-engine supercar. Tanner asks if either have played Forza before. Rutledge says he is the biggest dweeb on the show. Adam says that they can reset and Tanner can't. He asks, "How hard can it be?" Tanner confesses that he has done drifts on a few corners of the track, but has never actually completed laps before. Everyone gets an hour for practice. After Tanner drives off, Adam and Rutledge both confess that they have never played Forza before. At the real track, Tanner shows of the LFA. Tanners says the LFA is the first true Japanese supercar. The LFA tops out at 202 mph and 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. The front-mid mounted 4.8L V10 engine that pumps out 552 hp gives it the perfect balance for handling and since it is a Lexus, it will have no problems starting up in the morning. The engine revs from idle to 9,000 rpm in just .6 seconds. Back to Adam and Rutledge, Rutledge is impressed with all the different cars available in the game. He is happy that the Volkswagen Rabbit GTI is in the game. The guys have to use the LFA. Rutledge goes with a red LFA and Adam goes with the blue LFA. Tanner's confidence grew the more he drove the LFA. Tanner is impressed with the transmission of the LFA. He is happy that Lexus went with a single-clutch semi-automatic transmission instead of a dual-clutch because he can feel the gear changes. Rutledge is sweating and Adam drives in to the grass. Tanner sets off for some practice laps. Tanner is not afraid of Adam, but he is worried that Rutledge has played video games before. Adam drives into walls. He is struggling with the game, but Rutledge is having difficulty with Forza as well. Tanner says the LFA is made for the track. As Adam drives into the wall, the show goes to a commercial break. The laps will be shown latter on in the show.

Returning from commercial break, we see Rutlege and Adam struggle driving the virtual world. The guys all Rutledge and Adam put the video game settings to the most novice-friendly setting with all driving aids on. Even with driving settings on easy, Adam still drives onto the grass. Adam then hits the wall. Tanner drives into the garage and is out of breath. Tanner notices that the game is telling them the perfect driving line and when to break. Tanner sees that traction control is on. The guys agree to a three lap shootout. Adam and Rutledge start their virtual laps and the show makes its first stop to the Top Gear US Studio. Rutledge says the Tanner is so competitive that he will never say no to a challenge. That got Adam and Rutledge to think of challenges that Tanner could fail to complete. The two challenge Tanner to break the indoor speed record, which is held by the Stig in a Toyota TF105 F1 car which was done during Top Gear UK Series 8 Episode 6.

Segment 2: Indoor Speed Record Attempt

Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
Audi R8 V10

Tanner Foust's Ford Fiesta Rallycross Mk VII

Tanner accepts the challenge to break the indoor speed record. The record to beat is 82 mph. Tanner would try to beat the record in a Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, the fastest accelerating car ever built by GM. It has 638 hp coming from a supercharged 6.2L V8. Tanner is in a 1 million square foot building. He needs to hit 83 mph to get the record. Tanner has to be careful because any out of control driving and he hits a pillar or could crash into a wall. Since it is a world record attempt, a radar gun will confirm the speed of the car. Tanner launches and could not get pass 77 mph. The floor was just too slick to get any good traction. Tanner's next attempt will be in a $160,000 Audi R8 V10. The R8 has a V10 engine from Lamborghini that puts out over 500hp and is all wheel drive, where as the ZR-1 is rear-wheel drive. Tanner sets off and hits 81 mph. He goes again and reaches 83 mph in the R8, a new indoor speed records. Tanner says that the record seems not right. He says that if the world record is to be American, the car has to be American as well. Tanner decides to go with his Ford Fiesta Rally Car. The Fiesta has over 600 hp, goes from 0 to 60 mph in 2.2 seconds. The normal Fiesta costs $14,000, but Tanner's Fiesta costs $500,000. Tanner sets off. After a commercial break, we find out that Tanner reached 87 mph. 

Back at the studio, Rutledge congratulated Tanner on setting the new indoor speed record. The guys give Tanner's Fiesta to the Stig. The Fiesta had a lap time of 1:19.5. That is a new lap record for the Top Gear US test track. Tanner was very happy because his Fiesta is the fastest car to do a lap around the test track. Now Adam and Rutledge have another challenge for Tanner, this involves drifting.

Segment 3: What can't Tanner Drift

Adam and Rutledge decided to make Tanner do something ridiculous. Adam says Tanner is a pain in the ass. Adam says that Tanner believes that Tanner can drift anything, something Tanner denies. Adam and Rutledge have a bunch of vehicles to see if Tanner can drift them or not. 

Lincoln Towncar Stretched Limo
The first vehicle is a Lincoln Towncar Limo. Rutledge will be in the back and Adam will check to see if the drift is legit. Tanner starts while Rutledge tries and fails to buckle his seat belt. Tanner succeeds and does a second run to make Rutledge sick. Adam says that counts. Rutledge almost throws up. Rutledge brings in car number two.

Grumman-Olson Kurbmaster Foodtruck
The second car is a foodtruck. Tanner sets off. As he is attempting to drift, items in the back are flying everywhere. He did a partial drift before fully drifting a foodtruck. Now for car number three. Adam and Rutledge noticed that Tanner struggled to drift the foodtruck, now they bring in an RV.

Dodge Sportsman
Tanner now has to drift a Dodge Sportsman RV. Tanner notices that the guys are picking out cars that are more top heavy. Tanner tries and gets one wheel off the ground. Tanner second attempt did not fair so well either. He got one side of wheels of the ground. Tanner was two for three, and the guys give him one more shot in a big and long vehicle.

Adam had to drift a bus and Adam was in the back. Tanner attempts to drift the bus and the bus almost tips over. Tanner failed to drift the bus. Tanner went 2 for 4. He says that he was wrong and they were right. Not everything is driftable.

Segment 4: Video Game Racing vs. Real World Racing Part 2

Adam and Rutledge are driving in the game. Tanner is standing, watching the two drive in Forza. Tanner was just being annoying, saying that sometimes there are bugs as he puts his hand over Rutledge's eyes, causing Rutledge to hit the wall. Adam goes speeding into a wall. Rutledge manages a virtual lap time of 1:52.5. Tanner has an option. He can crash one time and try to be Adam's time of 1:57 or beat Rutledge's time of 1:52.5 without crashing. Tanner has three laps to beat Rutledge's time.

Segment 5: Playboy Playmate in a Suzuki
Bridget Marquardt
Heading back to the studio, it is time for "Big Star Small Car." This week's guest is Bridget Marquardt from Girls Next Door. Rutledge open's the car door for Bridget. Bridget started out slow. She crosses the line and drives into the hanger. Bridget says she drives a Porsche Cayman S. Her first car was Chevrolet Camaro Z28 T-Top. The fastest she went was 110 mph on Highway 5, when she sped past a slow moving truck. She says she gets pulled over not for speeding, but for not having a front license plate. She says the license plate ruins the look of the car. She says she would want a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. Rutledge reveals her lap time of 2:06.9. That is over 10 seconds slower than Buzz Aldrin. Bridget has the slowest lap time among the special guests.

Segment 6: Video Game Racing vs. Real World Racing Part 3

It was Tanner's turn to drive the LFA, except he had to drive it around the real course. Tanner's first lap time is 1:56. His second lap time is 1:53.8. His final lap time is 1:44.0. He beat Rutledge and Adam. Back at the studio, Adam says that it is harder to do something in video games than it is in real life. In Adam and Rutledge trying to prove Tanner wrong, Tanner set a new record for indoor speed, he did a fast lap in one of the nicest tracks in the world, and his car is atop the power lap board. 

Overall, this was a good episode by Top Gear US standards. Top Gear UK has most of the challenges. Jeremy Clarkson compared real world racing to virtual world racing during Top Gear UK Series 7 Episode 6. He drove around Laguna Seca in a Honda NSX in the virtual world and then try to beat the virtual lap time in a real Honda NSX around the real Laguna Seca course. His real world time did not match his virtual world time. Also The UK Stig set the indoor speed record during Series 8 Episode 6. Tanner beat the UK Stig's record twice. Also The UK presenters tried to do powerslides in a Semi. They all fail. So this Top Gear US episodes loses points for trying stuff already done in Top Gear UK. Still, it was cool to see Tanner drift a Limo and a foodtruck.The presenters were annoying, especially Tanner. Tanner set a new indoor record, drifted a limo and a foodtruck, and did a fast lap around Infineon. But when he was not competing, he was very annoying.  Tanner distraction was not funny. It was very annoying.  Adam did very little in this episode. Rutledge interviewed Bridget, Tanner kicked ass, and Adam crashed multiple times in Forza.

Final Verdict: 7 Stigs out of 10. The challenges were cool, but Top Gear UK has already did them. The indoor speed attempts were cool. Tanner drifting attempts were entertaining to watch. His laps were fun to watch as well. Points lost for no car reviews, missed Stig opportunities, and the presenters were not funny. It would have been cool to see the Stig drive the LFA and R8 around the track. The celebrity guess segment was decent.

Pics taken from, Wikipedia, and my own camera.
If you see any CarJunkie articles on another website, it has been STOLEN!


  1. Hi there do you know what the all the music clips that were used in the Top Gear US Season 2 Texan challege

  2. As far as I can tell American top gear is a complete rip off of BBC top gear.not as entertaining either.