The most-watched television show in the world is about to meet the America’s Cup 45, but only because the BBC was able to Beeb their way past a permitting process to close a Maori beach, at least according to this Daily Mail story. We did some digging and found evidence that Top Gear’s awesomeness will pit a winged AC45 helmed by Ben Ainslie and crewed by OTUSA boys against a rally car hauling ass across 50 km of famous sand dunes on the poorly named Ninety Mile Beach in the Far North of New Zealand. Local tribes, many of whom weren’t consulted, are pissed. But the show must go on…to an estimated 350M people each season…over 200 km of sand, swamp and forest…and this one films this coming week.
That’s the special NZ project Sir Big Ben mentioned the other day, and we’re told that after the challenge, Sir Big Ben will cram his body into a reasonably priced car back on the Top Gear UK track to try to prove as Dame Ellen Macarthur famously did on Top Gear that, when you live by the power of the wind, motors are damned easy.
In the meantime, the Season 19 show – we assume it will air sometime this May or June – will earn more worldwide publicity for the America’s Cup than any other plausible source could ever hope to, and it’s either a brilliant stroke or a stroke of luck for the team’s PR and sponsorship folks. But Ben: Please make sure you capsize with Clarkson at least once. We have GOT to see what editors that good do with that kind of footage.
NOTE: We reached out to ETNZ, and learned that Dalts and the ETNZ boys were asked to race the AC72 against the Top Gear rally car first, but they were too busy with their practice schedule and couldn’t spare the boat or the bodies; fortunately OTUSA has extra of both.
Know more or you grab a pic of the crew on location? Post it here.