Former Top Gear Stig Perry McCarthy recently opened up about his adventures on the show, recounting wild moments with Jamie Oliver and a harrowing drive in a Pagani Zonda. These stories, revealed in an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated’s Alex Harrington, give fans a peek into the off-camera antics and challenges of the legendary automotive show.
- Jamie Oliver’s Hilarious Episode: In a memorable episode, McCarthy and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver tackled the track in a unique Volkswagen Campervan, equipped with a Porsche engine. The high-speed lap resulted in a comical mess, leaving Oliver with a literally “tossed salad” and a scenario brimming with laughter.
- Pagani Zonda’s Steering Challenge: McCarthy faced an unusual challenge while driving a Pagani Zonda on a wet track. The steering wheel mechanism malfunctioned, moving unpredictably, which McCarthy likened to “playing an accordion at 160 miles an hour,” adding an extra layer of difficulty to the drive.
- Behind-the-Scenes Insights: These anecdotes provide an insider’s look into Top Gear, showcasing the blend of automotive expertise and entertainment that defined the show. It highlights the unpredictable and often humorous situations that arose during filming.
In a candid conversation with Sports Illustrated, Perry McCarthy, the original ‘Stig’, reminisced about his time on the iconic BBC series, Top Gear. His tenure, marked by anonymity and exceptional driving skill, was filled with high-octane excitement and unforgettable experiences.
One standout story involved celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Following Oliver’s turn in ‘A Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’, they embarked on a lap in a peculiarly modified Volkswagen Campervan. McCarthy humorously recalled the chaos that ensued:
“There were a couple of funny moments, actually. One of them was involving ‘A Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ when we had Jamie Oliver on…But afterward, we did a bit of filming in a Volkswagen Campervan that Jamie had brought down.”
This Campervan, however, was no ordinary vehicle. Outfitted with a Porsche engine, it transformed into a comedic scene of high-speed culinary chaos:
“But it was a special one, because this Volkswagen Campervan had a Porsche engine fitted in it, and we did a bit of filming where I took him around the track as fast as possible while he made a salad in the back. And believe me, by the time we got back, that was one tossed salad, I tell you! He was upside down, food everywhere, and we slid the door open at the end and it was just all in hysterics. It was pretty funny.”
Another memorable moment involved the high-performance Pagani Zonda. Despite its speed and elegance, McCarthy faced a unique challenge due to a faulty steering mechanism:
“The other one was actually with a higher powered car called the Pagani Zonda…But the biggest problem I had with it was that we were on a wet track…Well, that had broken. So I’m now going around in this thing, flat out, and not just steering it, but with the steering wheel going in and out and up and down. It’s like playing an accordion at 160 miles an hour.”
After two decades since the reboot of Top Gear, the show has concluded, leaving behind a legacy of automotive thrills and laughter. McCarthy’s reflections not only celebrate the show’s past but also leave fans longing for more of its unique blend of cars, challenges, and humor.
Special thanks to OLBG for facilitating this insightful interview.