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Rob Corddry, Jethro Bovingdon: 'Top Gear' encourages 'stupid adventures'

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Rob Corddry, Jethro Bovingdon: 'Top Gear' encourages 'stupid adventures'
Rob Corddry (left) and Jethro Bovingdon discuss "Top Gear America" Season 2 stunts. Photo courtesy of MotorTrend+

LOS ANGELES, June 29 (UPI) -- Hosts Rob Corddry and Jethro Bovingdon said Season 2 of Top Gear America, premiering Friday on MotorTrend+, continues the show's mission of encouraging car owners to have fun.

"We're really saying, 'This is what cars can do,'" Bovingdon told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "They're just a conduit for you to have all these stupid adventures."

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In each episode, Bovingdon and Corddry team up with Dax Shepard to test the limits of different vehicles. In the season premiere, they attempt to drive a Ford GT Heritage Edition, Lamborghini Aventador SVJ and Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport to their top speeds of over 200 mph.

"Before Season 1, I had never been above 120," Corddry said. "It's a completely different experience."

The producers of Top Gear America booked a closed stretch of road in Butte, Mont., so there would be no other cars on the road for the experiment.

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"Being able to go somewhere, have a closed road and be told to go as fast as you can in someone else's car is definitely a privilege," Bovingdon said.

The season premiere also dispels the myth of the Ford Pinto. Corddry drives a Pinto from the '70s, like the one he once drove, to prove they do not explode.

"The inside of that car smelled exactly like the inside of my first car," Corddry said. "It's got that specific '70s car smell that I love, but that was about the only thing I loved about it."

Corddry is a bigger fan of station wagons. One episode of Top Gear America Season 2 gathers station wagons still in production in Germany to highlight their benefits.

"The next generation of car buyers will potentially warm up to minivans and wagons," Corddry. "Our generation, we grew up in them, they're stigmatized."

Another episode pits the three hosts in a race in electric vehicles. Well, Shepard and Corddry drive electric cars, but Bovingdon takes a helicopter.

Bovingdon said Top Gear America had been contemplating an episode on electric vehicles. The race gave them a way to show what EVs could do and still have fun.

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"They're really impressive already and they're only going to get better and better," Bovingdon said of electric cars. "The truth is the very fastest cars you can now buy are electric."

Another episode takes the trio offroading. They get stuck, and nobody in the behind-the-scenes crew assists them.

"The crew are watching, hoping that it all goes wrong," Bovingdon said. "The crew are out there praying that one of us catches on fire."

Corddry said the cars sometimes get treated better than the human hosts.

"There is one mechanic there who will try and fix a car after we've almost destroyed it," Corddry said. "Other than that, nobody's helping us do anything."

Top Gear America followed 32 seasons of the British series Top Gear. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May were the longtime hosts of the British iteration, which later included Matt LeBlanc and others.

An earlier Top Gear USA ran for six seasons on NBC and History. MotorTrend launched Top Gear America with Corddry, Shepard and Bovingdon in 2020.

Corddry said he previously played "Rob Corddry" as a correspondent on The Daily Show, but said that version of himself was intentionally obnoxious.

Corddry said he's his true self on Top Gear America, and enjoys being able to directly address the camera, particularly the ones in the car filming him as he drives.

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"We're all on radio but you're alone," Corddry said. "Even when you're by yourself, you have to stay involved and remember you're on many cameras."

Actors Shepard and Corddry represent the automotive enthusiasts in Top Gear America. The show enlisted Bovingdon to be the automotive expert of the show.

Bovingdon was a road tester for Evo in 2001 and has written for MotorTrend and Automobile magazines. Prior to Top Gear America, Bovingdon wrote for and appeared on the automotive shows Ignition and Head 2 Head.

Bovingdon said on Top Gear he sometimes has to steer the comedians back on topic.

"My job initially was really to know about cars and try and stop these two making every episode 3 ½ hours long," Bovingdon said. "They can do a 45-minute improv, based around a guitar solo in some Iron Maiden song that I don't know."

New episodes of Top Gear America premiere weekly.

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