The BBC announced Monday it will launch a new U.S. version of the motoring show in late 2017. Many initially were interested to learn who the new presenters are, but a less-publicized detail of the announcement also is catching people’s attention.
“Top Gear America” reportedly will use SpeedVegas as its test track — according to Road & Track — unlike its predecessor “Top Gear USA” and the original “Top Gear,” both of which used airfields. You might assume the decision to not use a runway was made on safety grounds, but that’s actually the main concern some have with the new location.
SpeedVegas is a performance driving experience, where people can drive sports cars, such as Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Corvettes, for as little as $39 per lap. In February, the facility gained a lot of attention when a customer and instructor were killed after hitting a wall in the Lamborghini they were driving, causing it to burst into flames.
The fatal crash sparked an investigation by the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration, regarding the crash. While OSHA’s analysis is ongoing, many experts have weighed in on the situation, noting SpeedVegas has a fairly dangerous track layout. The 1 1/2-mile road course has sections with high-speed corners that have little to no runoff area, and barriers extremely close to the track.
Admittedly, as Road & Track points out, the added risk posed by the circuit probably won’t directly impact “Top Gear America,” as The Stig is played by a professional racing driver. The problem lies in what happens at SpeedVegas while “Top Gear” isn’t filming.
After all, fans love to see how they stack up against the tamed racing driver; that’s why the original test track in the U.K. was put in the “Forza” games. Unlike Xbox, though, real life doesn’t have a rewind button, so if people push the limits of their abilities at SpeedVegas, “Top Gear” could find itself in the hot seat.
Thumbnail photo via SpeedVegas