Back in August, news broke that James May had a serious car crash while filming an episode of The Grand Tour. Amazon has released said episode, dubbed “A Scandi Flick”, which means everybody now gets to watch Captain Slow smashing the wall at the end of a tunnel in Scandinavia after pushing his Mitsubishi Evo past 75 mph.
The 2000s rally scene produced some of the best AWD sports sedans, and the trio of presenters wanted to find out which was the best one. Richard Hammond picked a Subaru, the 2003 Impreza WRX STI V-Limited, a Japanese special edition. James May bought a bright yellow Mitsubishi Evo 8 and Clarkson brought the oddball, an Audi RS4.
The goal was to see which could best handle “Europe’s last wilderness”, and there were some challenges, of course. The trio discovers a strange tunnel in the mountain and decides to find out who can hit the highest top speed and break before hitting the wall at the end. Jeremy goes first in his quattro Audi. The thumping 4.2-liter V8 pushes him past 70 mph, at least according to their footage.
James May goes second because they believe Hammond can’t drive anything without crashing. That’s ironic considering he’s going to have a crash himself. After taking his brave pill, he pushes his turbocharged Mitsubishi hard. As the end of the tunnel appears it becomes clear that he’s not going to have enough room to stop.
Moments before the impact, Jeremy shows concern as he gets out of the way. James spins the Evo and hits the wall with the side of the car, next to his B-pillar.
How fast was he really going?
Over the past couple of months, this has been described as a 75 mph crash (121 km/h), but Amazon is now saying “70 mph” even though GoPro footage actually showed 78 mph (126 km/h). There’s no way of knowing for sure because car speedometers aren’t accurate and there’s no way of getting GPS data in a tunnel. But let’s be clear about this: if May hit the wall sideways at that speed in a 2000s Mitsubishi he’d be dead. The crash probably happened at about 30 mph (48 km/h), which is still a lot.
May has come out saying that he was worried about hitting the cameraman or Jeremy Clarkson, which is probably why he spun the car. Although the presenter downplayed being taken to the hospital as just a precautionary measure, you can see some pretty serious whiplash action from the camera inside the car, and we know he had at least one broken rib.
Later, the episode reveals that the tunnel is actually connected to a “Cold War submarine base”, and after James gets out of the hospital, we learn the Evo sustained quite a lot of damage. The radiator, oil cooler, intercooler piping, braking system, driveshaft, and exhaust are all damaged. That’s in addition to the destroyed bodywork you can obviously see.