After an exhaustive search, we’re proud to announce the hosts of Top Gear America, coming exclusively to the MotorTrend app in spring 2020: Dax Shepard, Rob Corddry, and Jethro Bovingdon. Or, as they tell it: two comedians, a guy who’s actually British … and the Stig.
“If we’re ever given a script, I promise the viewers that I’m going to light it on fire and throw it away,” Corddry said. “So you can count on me for that, at least. I really think that the strength of this show is going to be an honest interplay between the three of us.”
Corddry, like Shepard and Bovingdon, is both a lifelong car enthusiast and big Top Gear fan.
“I feel like that’s the one prerequisite the host should have,” Shepard said. “Cars are my full-time hobby. It’s the only reason I act: to acquire money to buy s–t that you put gas in.”
Bovingdon, who doesn’t own a ranch to fill with 17 different vehicles and trailers like Shepard does, is all about the driving.
“I love cars, I love driving cars, and I love doing stupid stuff in cars,” Bovingdon said, “and if we get to do all of those things, I don’t see how it can’t be fun and fun to watch, really.”
Bovingdon is well known among MotorTrend subscribers as the cohost of Head 2 Head, where he’s pitted some of the greatest sports cars, trucks, and SUVs in the world against each other. Off camera, he’s been found on the pages and websites of MotorTrend, Automobile, CAR, and evo. In between all that, he occasionally finds time to win his class at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring endurance race and set lap records around the world.
“One of my first cars was an E36 BMW M3 GT,” he said. “I’d read it had done an 8:23 lap or something, and I foolishly—having never been to the Nürburgring—was like, ‘Well, we can probably get that down to eight minutes.’ I spent two years trying to make it do that. The first attempt, I think I did an 8:12, and then every time I went back after that, it broke. One time, it got stuck in fourth gear and I had to drive it back from western Germany to my home in Northamptonshire, north of London.”
Shepard, known for shows like Parenthood, Bless This Mess, and the movie CHiPS, is no stranger to a racetrack, either.
“Road America is my favorite track,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. The fact that you could hit a deer out on the back straightaway is always thrilling. I think that track is spectacular. There’s so much going on.
“I also really like Road Atlanta,” he continued. “It’s certainly a fun track, too. I got to race in that Lamborghini Super Trofeo series at Lime Rock, and the last turn into the straightaway, the downhill right-hander is a very precarious turn. It’s surreal. You’re all in or you’re all out. And then Fontana, which is basically you’re racing in a parking lot and then the huge bank oval, which is an incredible feeling, as well. And then of course Laguna (Seca), which is basically if you live in California, the track. That’s the track I probably am on the most frequently.”
With two racers on the show, you can bet there will be rivalry between them whenever they get behind the wheel.
“I think there’ll be a lot of competition between Jethro and I, in a loving way,” Shepard said, “Obviously, he’ll win, and sometimes I’ll win, and it’ll be devastating when I lose, and I think that’ll be fun for everyone to watch. Jethro’s definitely got the seat-time advantage on me, and I’ve not driven any of these cars. I’ve never driven a McLaren or half the (cars) that he’s driven.”
Whatever contests Jethro, Dax, or the producers cook up, you can be sure Corddry will be stirring the pot.
“It’s not going to be my role to talk about the technical (stuff),” Corddry said, also working blue, “as much as it’s going to be to just go, ‘Ooh,’ and ‘Aah,’ and then pit Jethro and Dax against each other, because I want to watch those nerds fight it out.”
Corddry is far more than the setup man, though. He knows his cars. Long before he was driving exotics on HBO’s Ballers and traveling through time in a hot tub, the four-time Emmy Award winner cut his teeth on a ’75 Ford Pinto Wagon with no floorboards. These days, it’s a Porsche 911 Carrera S.
“Early on, in my experiences with cars at a young age,” he said, “I made a choice to not get all bogged down in the details. And just get psyched about cars, in general. Yeah, I know what the different sizes of engines are and I understand why, but I don’t bug myself with that.
“I told them, when they called me, you know, I was a big fan of Top Gear, the original,” he continued, “and I said, ‘Look, I’m none of those guys. I’m an enthusiast. I’m, if anything else, the audience.’ But I’m not gonna say no to something like this. I’m just gonna fool them for as long as I can. And then they’re finally going to be like, ‘Wait a minute, this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Let’s get some boring dude in here. ‘”
Even if he’s not a walking automotive encyclopedia, Corddry won’t be boring.
“They gonna want me to wrestle the Stig?” he asked. “I’ll wrestle the Stig. I’ll Greco-Roman wrestle the Stig.”