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Top Gear TV – Q&A: Meet Rory Reid!

Rory Reid is the least known presenter on the new series of Top Gear which returns to TV later this month, but we’ve got a Q&A with him…

WHEN THE NEW line-up of Top Gear presenters was announced one name made many Australia sit up and say, ‘Rory, who?’ Yep, Rory Reid might be arguably the least known presenter on the new series of Top Gear which starts on May 30 at 8.30pm on BBC Knowledge, but he’s no stranger to the camera. Reid will also be hosting Extra Gear, the companion show, airing after Top Gear each week.

A quick Google search of Reid reveals his automotive work prior to making it through the public audition process to get onto the telly. And he’s good. His presenting style is cheeky and effortless, and that’s exactly what you want in a Top Gear presenter, right?

When the call went out for auditions, Reid, the former editor-in-chief of website, Recombu, packaged up and posted off a 30-second video of him talking about the Alfa Romeo 4C. Lead personality on Top Gear, Chris Evans, said Reid’s audition “blew him away”. You can watch the full video he cut down for his audition here:

“When I submitted my 30-second audition tape, I knew the odds were very firmly against me, as the auditions were open to absolutely everybody,” he said. “To be the only person to make it through the open audition process makes me immensely proud.

“I’ve been a Top Gear fan for decades, but more than that, I live and breathe cars, and I’m looking forward to bringing my brand of knowledge, energy and humour to what promises to be a very exciting new series.”

Get to know the least-known member of the Top Gear team a little better with this Q&A: 

Q: Who would you say is your racing legend?

A: I love Ayrton Senna’s style. But I’m also a huge fan of Lewis Hamilton. Both drivers share an aggressive, sometimes all-or-nothing approach and have a huge desire to be the best. I like anyone that likes to race on the edge and those two represent that philosophy so well.

Q: What is the first car you learnt to drive in?

A: A 1978 Ford Fiesta. It was blue, I think, but had more dents and rust than actual paint.

Q: Fastest you’ve ever gone in a car and when? What does it feel like when you’re going that fast?

A: 186mph in a Jaguar XKR-S on the air strip where they filmed Top Gun in the USA. I had the top down. Top speed’s OK, but I get more joy from cornering – that’s where the real fun is.

Q: What is the best car you’ve ever driven?

A: I think Range Rovers are the best cars as they’re capable of just about everything; on or off road, high or low speed, and they’re practical.

Q: What car are you driving on a daily basis?

A: A BMW i8. It’s a plug-in hybrid sports car. I commute to work in it every day. It’s incredible.

Q: What is your earliest car memory and your age then?

A: Being in a minor car accident. I think I was about 5 or 6 years old. Until that point it hadn’t dawned on me that people could be good or bad at driving. I vowed from that day that I was going to be one of the good ones that never got into accidents. So far, so good.

Q: What is the first car you bought for yourself?

A: I was given several (very rubbish) cars as a teen – hand-me-downs, basically. But the first car I bought with my own cash was a Vauxhall Astra GTE 8V. I wanted it because it was fast-ish and had a digital dashboard. I love anything high-tech.

Q: What is your all time dream car?

A: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Astronauts drove them, and I always wanted to be an astronaut.

Q: What is it about cars that fascinates you?

A: I love the freedom they give you. I love the way they look, and the way they make you feel. It’s possible to have an emotional connection with a car and to form a bond with it. I also love the way they make other people react. The smile on a kid’s face, for example, when he or she sees me driving something nice warms my heart. I do what I do partly because I want to spread that kind of joy.

A: What was your first thought when you heard you’d got the gig on Top Gear? Who was the first person you’d told?

I was a ball of emotions. I was ecstatic, and a little apprehensive. I didn’t know what they had planned for the new series, but I was convinced I was the right person to help drive it forward. I wanted to get started straight away making the best car show even better.

Q: What was your very first day of filming like for Top Gear?

A: I was testing the new Ford Mustang up in the Western Highlands of Scotland. It was really exciting, but also really straightforward. I’ve been making car films for years so I felt very comfortable doing the job. Apart from the bigger budget, it was a normal day at work.

Q: Has filming with Top Gear taught you something you didn’t know about cars?

A: The Stig taught me a few tricks behind the wheel. He made me a better driver, so I’m looking forward to showing off those skills on the new series.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober