On July 1, “Top Gear America” will return for its second season. The automotive show featuring Dax Shepard, Rob Corddry, and Jethro Bovingdon will include more supercars, more off-road adventures, and a lot of intentional crashes that put the hosts’ chemistry on display.
The first season of “Top Gear America” came to be under unique circumstances. COVID-19 protocols meant that the hosts could only travel to nearby states, and they could only really interact with each other during on-camera segments. The second season was very different. The three hosts could spend a lot of time together, which only helped them build upon their existing friendship.
“Well, we all got along from day one,” Corddry told Heavy ahead of the season premiere. “But I think what I will say for Jethro that… you know, Jethro, everybody knows Jethro was hired because he’s a car expert. And Dax and I are constantly getting pissed off because now he’s funnier than we are. Like, this season is the Jethro season for sure.”
“The first day we filmed season one was probably the fifth time we’d ever actually met and spent proper time with each other,” Bovingdon added. “And then like we say in COVID world, there was only so much we could do. In fact, I think the first time we all went for dinner properly was the Seattle episode for this one. Because we went to Seattle and you could actually go to dinner at a restaurant.
“So yeah, it made a massive difference,” Bovingdon added. “And for me, I guess my making fun of Rob and Dax, it just takes a bit of time before you can do that. You know, they’re funny guys. So you’ve got to make sure if you’re gonna make jokes, it should be a good one.”
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The Season Features Several Unique Locations & Vehicles
The first season had episodes filmed in California, Arizona, and the southwestern United States — out of necessity — which meant that there weren’t many changes in the landscape. The second season, however, had trips to Washington state, Montana, Utah, and multiple other locations.
Big Sky country stood out to Corddry as one of his favorite locations — not just because he tried to hit 200 mph in a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ on the same roads where Evel Knievel once drove. He just found Montana to be a beautiful state.
Of course, exploring picturesque locations was even more enjoyable due to the vehicles that the hosts drove. One episode featured a Bugatti Chiron, the Aventador, and a Ford GT. Another episode had European station wagons roaming through Utah. One standout example was an off-roading trip where the hosts tested unique SUVs.
“I enjoyed hugely the off-roaders, you know, the [Isuzu] VehiCROSS and the [Suzuki] Jimny,” Bovingdon said. “That was mega to me. And it was all the sweeter because Dax made such a terrible decision to get the Hummer H2.
“Rob came back with this really cool cult thing that I almost forgot existed. And then the Jimny. I just knew Dax would get a Hummer. I wanted the opposite of whatever Dax chose, and the Jimny seemed perfect. And that was awesome. And the off-roading was… we did some intense off-roading.”
A Time-Honored ‘Top Gear’ Tradition Returns
There are several factors that make a good episode of “Top Gear,” whether it takes place in the United States or another country. The cars are at the top of this list, followed by the locations, the challenges, and the intentional crashes.
“The crashing into each other, like day one, Jethro and DAX can’t stop smashing into each other,” Corddry said. “That sound when you’re driving in a car and you get into an accident and you… that twisting, awful twisting sound. I’ve gotten so used to that, that I almost enjoy it.”
One of the biggest factors is the cheating that takes place in certain episodes. Past hosts have occasionally found loopholes in the challenge rules, or they have just blatantly broken them. The first season of “Top Gear America” didn’t have any cheating, but it returned for the upcoming slate of episodes.
Bovingdon, in particular, took part in an episode focused on electric cars for high-profile CEOs. Though he didn’t exactly follow the rules. The longtime automotive journalist opted for a Rolls-Royce Ghost with a V12 engine. He then found some other unique ways to cheat during later challenges.
“Well, it was actually really fun,” Bovingdon said. “I felt like we were being too worthy with our electric solutions. So the Rolls-Royce was just like two fingers up to the producers and the whole idea. And then the cheat factor just seemed, it just seemed the right thing to do.
“We were in a place where the CEOs have more money than God, basically. So I thought, ‘Well, the environment is great and I want to save it for my children and grandchildren but in this instance, I need a Rolls-Royce.'”
The first two episodes of the second season of “Top Gear America” will be available on July 1, exclusively on MotorTrend on Demand (MotorTrend+). The price is $4.99 per month or $44.99 annually. The streaming service serves as the home of numerous series including the first season of “Top Gear America,” “Roadkill,” and “Faster With Finnegan” among others.