Top Gear Festival has been and gone, leaving behind the memories of two action packed days that were filled with bumper to bumper, side splitting fun.
The festival plays out like any episode of BBC’s beloved Top Gear series, informative car reviews, intelligent and in depth opinions on all things automotive and of course relevant real world tests which help consumers make their next four wheeled purchase, armed with all the facts.
At least that’s how the show would be without the three aging, quirky and downright childish presenters we have grown to love over the last twelve years. The Top Gear Festival packs up this 60 minute motoring TV show into a shipping container along with two of the hosts and a man simply known as The Stig and they get sent all over the world where tears of laughter are sure to follow.
The Australian leg of the tour was hosted at Sydney Motorsport park for it’s second year and once again saw Jeremy Clarkson and James May entertain record breaking crowds at Sydney’s racing circuit. Yes, that’s Bruno Senna strapped into a Nissan Micra bungee as it falls towards the ground!!
They again attempted to speed up the Australian Postal service in a nail biting postie bike race, a true blue Aussie event that saw exhilarating speeds in excess of 30kmh!!! James May hadn’t seen anything quite as exciting before.
Aside from the usual Top Gear antics, there was loads of genuine motoring action and racing all weekend. Australian Rally Champion, Neil Bates, was showing his classic Toyota Rally car still had all the moves.
When Neil is not racing the clock, expect a show! His skills could put some of Australia’s top drifters to shame.
The absolutely stunning Erebus Motorsport AMG SLS GT3 car. This striking piece of machinery was part of the Ultimate Speed Showdown, where six vehicles from a super bike to an F1 car, would go head to head for the fastest lap.
One of the new kids on the block for the V8 Super car series was the Mercedes Benz E63 V8 Super-car. It was another member of the Erebus Motorsport team that joined the fray for the Ultimate Speed Showdown. The team had plenty to prove over the weekend to the huge crowds.
Betty Klimenko nervously watching the Ultimate Speed Showdown unfold after a bet between her Erebus team and Redbull, with the loser having to wash the winning car. We’re not sure if Betty has ever seen an F1 car in action.
As the showdown came to an end, all eyes were on the Erebus E63 and the Redbull RB7 F1 Car…
Who was the winner and who was going to be washing the car?
Not all the attractions were on the track however. There was a massive static display dedicated to the late Ayrton Senna. Recognised as one of the best F1 drivers and still sits as the third most successful driver of all time in terms of overall race wins.
Curating the exhibition, Formula One driver Bruno Senna, nephew of Ayrton Senna.
Bruno gave a heartfelt insight into his Uncles’ life and what inspired him and countless others to pursue racing and even just to be a better person each and every day.
On display was Aryton’s winning McLaren MP4/4, a marvel of it’s time. Winning 15 of it’s 16 races during the 1988 season.
Weighing a mere 540kg and powered by a 1.5l Honda V6 engine, using twin turbo chargers to produce 900bhp!!
Ayrton took pole position 13 times in this car and won 8 races.
Aryton’s iconic helmet was also on show, if you haven’t yet watched the ‘Senna’ documentary, it is a definite must watch and even if F1 doesn’t interest you, this is a film that will move you.
McLaren unveiled the 650s, this was it’s first Australian appearance here at the Top Gear Festival.
The Coupe’s sales brochure announces some pretty impressive numbers. 0-100 in 3 seconds and a full quarter mile in just 10.5 seconds! This performance puts the 650S’ sprint to 200km/h in 8.4 sec, a full second quicker than the iconic McLaren F1
There isn’t a boring line on this car! Taking it’s design cues from the McLaren P1, this car was built to excite!
Huge cross drilled brakes help stop this car when things get a bit hairy.
The Mercedes built AMG engine is garnished with all the McLaren composite trimmings, making it a thing of astonishing beauty.
It seems any excuse will do to invite along Australia’s best drifters to tear it up around Sydney Motorsport Park and as it turns out, the Top Gear Festival is no exception.
Crowds love smoke shows and who better to help make some clouds than SA’s very own Drift Squid. Jake made the journey from South Australia to take part of the Just Car Insurance drift demos.
Sydney’s Hit n’ Run’s V8 powered S15 was showing off some fresh battle scars to the crowds, we still think this is one of the best looking cars around.
The star of the show was Levi Clarke in the Exedy S15. Levi wowed the crowds with some huge entries and massive plumes of coloured smoke.
At one point Levi successfully blocked out sky with the biggest smoke show we’ve ever seen!!
It just wouldn’t be Top Gear without a display of cars I couldn’t hope to be able to ever afford.
The usual affair of bulls and horses.
Now this was as rare as it gets… The only Pagani Zonda Roadster in Australia!!
The Stig put in a couple of hot laps in with the topless McLaren 12C Spider in front of the crowds.
Top Gear invited some of the countries best drag racers out and the deafening drag cars kept fingers in ears, corn farmers in business and onlookers on the edges of their seats.
The Gas Motorsport BMW lost control after a big launch and narrowly missed the walls after hitting the grass and sliding 50+ meters before coming to a stop.
Some tried their hand at power skidding and it seems Agges from the Insane Drifters approved of this Camaro’s efforts.
The weekend was coming to an end, but things weren’t over for Red bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. The team was getting set for another attempt at the lap record for Sydney Motorsport Park.
Ricciardo had already beaten Mark Webbers time from last year by just 500th’s of a second at just 1.13.08 on Saturday. However on the Sunday, Daniel was determined to go back out and smash it!
And smash it he did! Daniel found another 2 seconds around Sydney Motorsport Park with a blistering 1.11.23!!!
The winning car and winning team rolling back to the pits in front of one very happy crowd of spectators.
Jeremy interviewed Daniel on track about the record lap before letting Daniel hop back into the drivers seat to demonstrate how fast drivers celebrate…
With a victory skid of course!!
One of the best events to date, the Top Gear Festival is yet to disappoint. Year after year, it captures the fun that makes the BBC show so special to car lovers the world over and then translates that into a stage show extraordinaire with real cars, real drivers and real action all on a live track.
Don’t miss 2015’s show, we already can’t wait for the next festival!
Thanks for reading,
Images provided by the talented Roberto Mocchetti | Full Motion Photography