James May crashed his Mitsubishi Evo 8 during the upcoming episode, A Scandi Flick, where the trio travel across Norway with three rally-inspired cars. Travelling down a tunnel at a speed of 75mph, James crashed, broke a rib, and was taken to hospital where he received brain scans and support.
Fortunately, he was only there over night and continued filming almost straight away alongside his co-presenter Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson who had continued without him.
Richard, known for his own crashes during the likes of Top Gear and The Grand Tour, was quick to speak out on his fellow presenter, admitting that it was “flattering” that James would want to impersonate him to such a degree.
He told The Sun that it was “interesting that James [was] taking up the crashing” after already copying him by wearing “vibrant loud shirts” and growing a “little goatee.”
“It is interesting that James is taking up the crashing, because when he joined Top Gear I was always wearing really vibrant loud shirts.
“And then James joined and did the same and I thought, ‘Well, we can’t both do that.’ So I stopped. I just wore ordinary shirts.
“And then he’s recently grown a little goatee.”
“And now he’s taken the only thing I had left, which was crashing.
“It’s very flattering that he would consider that level of impersonation, but I’ll let him have that.
“I might keep my little beard, even though he’s now got one. He can have the crashing.”
Looking back on the incident, he recalled what had run through his head at the time:
“It was a moment of singular lack of judgment on James’ part.”
On being asked about how James held it together after the crash, he said:
“He’s sort of held together with bits of cotton and sponge. So it was a hell of an impact. It’s pretty dramatic. And I was surprised that all his limbs didn’t just fall off.”
Richard hasn’t had the best of luck with cars in the past, with Top Gear featuring his first dangerous incident involving a jet-powered dragster. At speeds of almost 300mph, a tyre blew on the car which pushed the dragster into the grass when it started to roll. The resulting injuries forced doctors to put him in a coma while his brain recovered, and since this, the presenter has had issues with his memory and levels of aggression.
Following this, The Grand Tour saw him crash the all-electric Rimac Concept One as he failed to stop the car at the end of a hill climb route in Switzerland. The car flew off the side of the mountain they were driving up, resulting in the car being totaled and Richard fracturing his knee.
Executive producer Andy Wilman said at the time:
“Jeremy and James both raced down to the scene of the crash as soon as it happened. When they saw the wreckage on fire they thought Richard was dead. It was really bad.
“They were staggered he had got out of it alive, because there was just nothing left. Everyone is so relieved. If Richard had been a few seconds slower getting out, he would have been incinerated.”