Friday, 23 September 2011 12:36 PM
STOP THE PRESS - Our competition is now closed, but you can still catch the show at ExCel, London from 24th - 27th November. See the Top Gear Live show website for details.
STOP THE PRESS - Free ticket competition!
Win tickets to Top Gear Live at Excel London!
TotallyMotor has teamed up with Top Gear Live, which comes to ExCeL London this November (24-27), to offer three lucky readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to this supercar extravaganza.
Hosted by Top Gear presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May and also featuring The Stig, this superb live action show brings the TV Series to life.
Billed as “The Ultimate Top Gear Experience”, visitors can expect all the on-screen, supercharged excitement of the TV show rolled into one event, with the famous Top Gear Live action arena now spilling out into the rest of the event.
At the centre of the new format is the Top Gear indoor track featuring highlights from the TV show including Stig power laps and “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” as well as the Top Gear Stunt Team, head-to-heads and supercar parades.
Other highlights will include a re-creation of the famous Top Gear studio, special tributes to Top Gear’s greatest challenges and some of the more creative and famous machinery featured in the programme over the years.
To win tickets to Top Gear Live simply follow us on @TotallyMotor and @TopGearLiveUK and watch out for our special Top Gear Live tweets; get involved and retweet them to your pals!
Top Gear Live comes to Birmingham’s NEC from the 11-13 November and ExCeL London from 24-27 November.
Tickets start at just £49. For more information about the show or to book tickets visit www.topgearlive.co.uk or call 0871 230 5588.
... and you might recognise another star from the Top Gear TV show... here's our exclusive interview with the Queen of the 'Ring, Sabine Schmitz, who will be appearing live at Top Gear Live...
As the nights grow longer; the frozen potholes get deeper, and the windscreen ice gets ever-inch-thicker; there’s one famous petrol-powered car show to truly warm to cockles come cold November. Top Gear Live is back and it’s bigger, faster and louder then ever.
Billed as “The Ultimate Top Gear Experience”, visitors can expect all the on-screen, supercharged excitement of the TV show rolled into one event, with the famous presenting trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May previously seen in the Top Gear Live action arena now spilling out into the rest of the event.
At the centre of the new format is the new Top Gear indoor track featuring highlights from the TV show including Stig Power Laps and “Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car” as well as the Top Gear Stunt Team, mouth-watering head-to-heads and supercar parades.
And we at TotallyMotor – being friends with the bloke that knows (vaguely) Clarkson’s postman’s niece’s cat – have been granted exclusive access to one of the fastest stars of the show; the ever-smiling, ever-Nurburgring-lapping, Clarkson-thrashing, Queen of the ‘Ring… Sabine Schmitz.
Pro-racing, 42-year-old German Top Gear TV veteran, Sabine, will be hooning at high velocity at this year’s show and here’s what she had to say about the most dangerous track in the world, hamsters, potatoes, and beating Schumacher…
Sabine Schmitz. You’d be happy too!
TotallyMotor: Hi Sabine. A bit about you, then a bit about Top Gear Live. So, what is the secret of your Nurburgring success?
Sabine: After 30,000 laps it’s no secret anymore! It takes a lot of practice to learn and understand this track – it is alive and constantly changing with different weather and track conditions to be found even during just one lap. It’s an exciting track – not like Silverstone (big laugh!) – with big elevation changes and so much unpredictability.
TM: How many laps are you on now?
S: About 30,000 now, and up to 1500 per season. When I was driving the BMW M5 ‘Ring taxi for a full season I would cover over 1200 laps, and then there’s all my racing there on top of that.
TM: You must get dizzy! So what’s your best time to date?
S: My best time this year was in my Porsche 911 GT3 RS during a race, with 180 other cars on the track! I did a 7:04secs best time, but that was in a “standard” GT3 RS with quite a heavy fuel load and “standard” race tyres. In the perfect car – set up for one hot lap – on qualifying tyres and light fuel, I could hit 6:45secs.
TM: What is it about the Nurburgring that grabs people’s attention and imagination?
S: It is the most beautiful and dangerous (much laughing!) racetrack in the world! And there is so much history with the old circuit.
TM: Is it a good track for car manufacturers to test road cars?
S: It’s the perfect place to develop a road car – no other track is harder on the bodyshell and suspension - 1000km on the ‘Ring is like 10,000km on a normal road. It’s very good publicity to set a fast time there.
TM: So is there anyone that can beat you at the ‘Ring?
S: There are many good drivers that come to the ‘Ring but I get pole position much of the time, even against works teams in factory cars. The works team drivers get very mad at that! I competed in a recent race in my GT3 RS and was only beaten into second place by a full factory team. I had my boyfriend driving with me and he is not fast enough!
TM: Are you still driving the BMW M5 ‘Ring taxi?
S: No, now I have my own taxi ride service in my Porsche 911. I have done 18 years as a ‘Ring taxi driver and have driven people from every corner of the world. My GT3 RS is fast on the track with specially-developed ‘Ring-ready suspension from KW (German aftermarket suspension firm used by many racers).
TM: The new BMW M5 is turbocharged; superceeding the current naturally aspirated V10 M5.
If you built your own ‘Ring car with tuning would it have turbos or not?
S: I prefer the sound of naturally aspirated engines over turbocharged engines, but turbos are probably the future, as many automotive manufacturers are now using them. Natutally aspirated engines are, for me, better for racing. I love the sound and quick throttle response of the (N/A) Porsche flat-6 Boxer engine, or a BMW V8.
TM: What was your first car?
S: It was a VW Polo. It only had 55bhp, but it had a full roll cage, for racing. It was so slow that I could take my time to learn the track (Nurburgring) in it. I learnt to be as smooth as possible to keep up momentum and carry as much corner speed as possible. You have to in a slow car!
TM: And your current car?
S: I have my Porsche 911 GT3 RS and a 5-year old Range Rover V8-diesel. I have had my Range Rover since it was new and I love it!
TM: Dream car?
S: A Porsche Carrera GT V10, in matt black.
TM: Classic cars or modern motors?
S: I am too young for classic cars!
TM: Can you put your finger on why German car-makers do so well globally?
S: Over many generations we have learnt to build good quality cars, here in Germany. The auto-workers work very hard on the cars and many are tested exhaustively at the Nurburgring. They last a long time, too.
TM: What do you think of electric cars?
S: I have tested many electric cars for my TV show but I think they are a little way from being completely ready. They have to work on the range and quicker charging.
TM: Will the ‘Ring still be as important when all cars are non-petrol-powered?
S: It is hard to say; I guess new things will have to come. There is a lap record for electric cars at the ‘Ring and it is quite fast, but the car was totally flat after one lap!
TM: What is your favourite motorsport?
S: VLN, for me, is the best in the world. I won it in 1998 and keep coming back for more. There are so many different types of cars on the track – fast, slower, old and new – that it makes the racing very exciting for the drivers, and the spectators. F1 and DTM (German Touring Cars series) are boring for me!
TM: Sebastian Vettel or Michael Schumacher for dinner?
S: I would have Michael to dinner; he is more my age! In fact I took him to a football match in my chopper, just a couple of weeks ago.
TM: Who would you most like the beat in a hot lap of the ‘Ring? Vettel or Schumacher?
S: I would beat Michael quite easily – he is not very fast at the ‘Ring! (much laughing!)
TM: Is Schumacher the greatest F1 driver of all time?
S: Yes, he has won the most, but Sebastian Vettel is coming. I am not sure that Michael’s return to F1 this year was such a good idea…
TM: Is successful racing in the wet the true measure of a racer’s skill?
S: Oh yes, it is very hard to drive well in the wet. You need a clean and smooth driving style, and a good memory for where the grip is and for the best lines to take.
TM: If you weren’t a racer, you’d like to be…?
S: Well, I am a helicopter pilot, an hotelier, a stable owner, TV host, and I have a farm with chickens. I also own the Frikadelli Racing Team with my boyfriend. Frikadella has been his nickname for years – it means “meatballs” and his food company make 1000 tonnes of meatballs a week.
TM: So, what are you doing at Top Gear Live?
S: I will be part of the Live Action Arena for the shows in Birmingham and London; driving on the specially-made racing tracks. I will be driving lots of fast cars including my Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
I will also be driving the Ford Transit van from the Top Gear TV show – the one I used to race against Jeremy in a Jaguar S-Type diesel. He only beat me by 9secs and he was in a car! I love that Transit van!
TM: Why did Jeremy take such a shine to you?
S: He made my career! Thanks, Jeremy! I think he likes my German sense of humour (more laughing!).
TM: Is Jeremy a good driver?
S: I was astonished by his skills in a Mini challenge we did for the Top Gear TV show (Top Gear series 11). But I think perhaps he was a little unfair at times, for the TV show. But yes, he was very good driving a housewife’s car!
TM: Who is the best Top Gear TV driver?
S: Well it’s never Captain Slow! I guess it is Jeremy…I’m not sure how fast the little Hamster is!
TM: What's your favourite food?
S: Potatoes. I am German; I like potatoes!
TM: How do you relax?
S: I like to ride my horse in the beautiful countryside around the Nurburgring. I sit on my horse and watch races. The horse watches them too.
TM: And finally, are YOU the new Stig?!
S: Well, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you! Come to the Top Gear Live show and perhaps you will see…
Tickets start at £49. For more information about the show or to book tickets visit www.topgearlive.co.uk or call 0871 230 5588.
Top Gear Live runs from 11 – 13 November at NEC Birmingham and 24 – 27 November at ExCeL London.
The Ferrari 458 Italia. One of Clarkson’s favourite cars and no doubt at the mercy of the Stig
Hamster Hammond and Jezza Clarkson pester the Top Gear Live audience
Bansai on bikes too!
Giant balls and Reliant Robins. Two of man’s worst enemies!
By Daniel Anslow
Follow us @TotallyMotor