After 22 seasons of high-end publicity, the trio of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond left the BBC 2 TV show, Top Gear. When the show was renewed for its 23rd season, not many fans had high hopes for the new hosts to fill up the boots that were left behind by the trio.
The dismissal of Clarkson in 2015 prompted the subsequent departure of his co-hosts, May and Hammond. Then the helm of the show was handled by Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, who were occasionally joined by three co-presenters, Sabine Schmitz, Eddie Jordan and Rory Reid. However, just after one series, Evans resigned and then a new trio was born, including Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid and Chris Harris.
Rather quickly, Harris became more of a centerpiece of the show than his two co-hosts, with his driving ability, enthusiasm and immense knowledge of cars. It didn’t take a long time for him to prove that he was in a completely different league than Evans and LeBlanc.
Even though Harris isn’t a familiar face on prime-time television, he is a famous automotive journalist. He has written for big auto magazines and publications like Autocar magazine and worked as an official road-test editor. In fact, he got the exposure of his automotive flairs through his YouTube Channel, Chris Harris on Cars.
Apart from his sterling career in motor journalism and hit YouTube Channel, there is something more that fans may not have known about him.
Racing Family Background
In case you were wondering where his enthusiasm about cars comes from, just take a closer look at his genealogy. Chris Harris was born on January 20, 1975, to an accountant and an autocross racer. His mother was a professional motocross racer in the 50s. His mother’s career is believed to have influenced his love for cars. He said in a 2017 interview that his mom was the first person he called after getting the job as a presenter on Top Gear. You can probably say that Chris is still a bit of a mama’s boy and that’s really sweet.
Harris has a nickname, Monkey
If you are a fan of Top Gear, you have probably noticed that the guys are addressed with their nicknames once in a while. Among the former trio, Clarkson earned the nickname Jezza, Hammond was called “The Hamster” and James May was known as “Captain Slow.” Similarly, Harris also has a nickname, but that didn’t originate from the show. He actually got the nickname, Monkey, when he was at school. While he was working for Autocar magazine, a staff member actually knew him with the nickname rather than his original name.
So are you wondering how did he get the name? Apparently, it came from the character, Monkey Harris, from the long-running British TV show, Only Fools and Horses.
Dream location for Top Gear
Recently, in an interview with BBC 2 cars and motors section, he was asked about his dream location to shoot Top Gear. He didn’t take too long to mention Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, UAE as the perfect place for the show’s taping. The reason he liked the site is that there is a “great circuit for oversteer.” He also said that the light system in that location would make it easy to film the show the whole night. Well, Harris isn’t the first person to think about filming in UAE. A quick flashback! Richard Hammond reviewed the Porsche 918 Spyder at Yas Marina.
Feuds with Ferrari and Lamborghini
When it comes to reviewing cars, he doesn’t hesitate to express his feelings. He once wrote for Jalopnik, “the joy of driving a new Ferrari is now almost removed by the pain of dealing with the organization often.” Afterward, he was banned from driving Ferraris from 2011 to 2013.
His virtue of being an honest car reviewer landed him in a feud with another company. While getting expressive about the Lamborghini Asterion based on his own experience of driving Lambos, he said, “perfect car for those who can’t drive and want to be seen.” But this time he went way too far stating that the future of the company was “bleak.” And the consequence was obvious! He was banned from reviewing Lamborghini cars. In 2017, however, he drove a Lambo in Top Gear unofficially.
While in Belgium in 2017, Harris narrowly escaped death when a racing crew member injured him. When he was waiting in his paddock, a car wing which was carried by the crew member accidentally sliced Harris’s head. He tweeted about the incident after getting patched up, “solid race preparations: nearly getting brained as a result of a man carrying a poorly located F3 wing through the paddock”. He even posted a picture of the back of his head showing the stitches he acquired. Lucky Harris!
Do you like Top Gear with the new hosts or should the original trio never have been let go by BBC? Let us know in the comments.