Top Gear appearance for teenage Crawley racing driver

Teenage Crawley racing driver Charlie Hand will be appearing on BBC’s Top Gear on Easter Sunday, along with nine of his rivals from the Junior Saloon Car Championship.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 11:11 am
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 11:16 am
Charlie Hand (right) with Top Gear presenter Chris Harris. Picture courtesy of Peter Scherer for Charlie Hand Racing

Each of the three Top Gear presenters were instructed to buy a car within a price limit and in turn they would race against the ten Junior Saloon Citroen Saxo’s.

Hand said: “Our parents had a call about two weeks before the planned filming date, but we thought it was a scam or someone playing about, so the BARC’s David Wheadon had to confirm it was real.

“We arrived at Castle Combe in Wiltshire the day before filming to have a look, as we had never been there before.

"The cars were being fitting with cameras and Freddie Flintoff had a TVR, Paddy McGuinness a Toyota MR2, fitted with a Ferrari bodykit and Chris Harris had a V8 Vauxhall Monaro.

On the morning of the filming the ten Juniors went out on track for some filming.

When it came to the racing, it was decided that each of the Top Gear presenters would race separately, against the Juniors.

Hand added: “We were supposed to be in a pack, but my main rivals from last years championship, Lewis Saunders and Alex Solley were at the front with me.”

“They started at the front and we had three laps to try to catch, overtake and beat them."

“Flintoff was first out and we beat him fairly easily, but chasing McGuinness in the second race was between Lewis and I going side by side as we did quite a lot last season.”

Having successfully seen off the first two presenters, it was down to Chris Harris, the third and only real racer of the Top Gear trio.

Hand said: “I was aware that Chris having a V8 compared to my little Saxo was going to be hard to beat.

"We both got away from the others, as I just took off at the start. I had him in the corners, but the V8 power on the straights just let him get away again.”

As they headed for the final flat out corner, Charlie was on the absolute limit of adhesion, but Harris’ Monaro V8 had the nose ahead still over the line.

Hand added: “That was so much fun for us all and great experience wise for all of the Junior drivers.

"It also gave the Junior Saloon Car Championship some good publicity as they talked about it during the programme. Plus I was able to show my acting skills."