Johannesburg – Motoring journalist and YouTube star Chris Harris is part of the all new Top Gear team.
Don't expect the 23rd season of the world's most popular car show to be like its predecessor when it makes its debut on Wednesday, 1 June at 20:00 on BBC Brit (DStv 120).
Chris recently visited South Africa to attend the BBC Winter Upfront to promote the new season and took some laps around Kyalami with The Stig.
Love Kyalami. Beautiful, special race track. pic.twitter.com/jTSBM2xGiy— chris harris (@harrismonkey) May 16, 2016
Love Kyalami. Beautiful, special race track. pic.twitter.com/jTSBM2xGiy
"I'm not going to tell you what's in the show. They've had to steer away from the three amigos doing their thing; those guys were the best at what they do. To try and imitate them would be a massive mistake," says Chris.
He continues: "The strategy defined by Chris (Evans) is to bring on more people with more specialities that give us hopefully a show with broader appeal. Of course there's some hardcore car reviewing, some celebrities and twists on the theme. You're not going to have a revolutionary product of what went before but rather an evolution of what went before."
Chris, who himself is an avid fan of the show, feels the enormous weight of the show's legacy.
"I have watched the show since I can remember. Top Gear has a long history in the UK. It started in the 1970s and I started watching it when I was about 5 or 6. It's a big part of my beginning borderline obsession with cars. Of course I feel pressure but what a great opportunity. I want to make sure that I am a good enough custodian of the brand," says Chris.
About that team chemistry.
"I think over time we will develop chemistry. Already there are chemistry between us, but we haven’t all shot together yet as there has been no need for us all to be together. We'll be doing our first in studio shot and then we'll see how things go."
He continues: "We know of each other, we've all worked in bits and pieces with each other. It's a massively talented bunch and I feel in awe of being with them. I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised."
Who's faster him or Sabine?
Chris chuckles, "Sabine and I haven’t shot anything together yet but we know each other. I have raced against her before and she's fast and a good racer. We have been asked in interviews together who's quicker and we don't agree on an answer."
Top Gear has a big fan base in South Africa and Chris says the fever is as big here as it is in the rest of the world.
"The fever here is as big as anywhere which is great. And I get that through my social media feed. There is an open-mindedness about the new iteration of the show that's refreshing here."
He continues: "You're more open-minded and you realise that the car is the star of the show. As long as we shoot it in a beautiful way that is entertaining to you there is no reason why Top Gear can't only be as good as before but why not better."
Catch Top Gear on Wednesday, 1 June at 2o:00 on BBC Brit (DStv 120)
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