The Grand Tour is just full of bombshell announcements this week. First we learn that celebrities will make live (as in alive) appearances for the show’s second season, possibly driving a janky Alfa Romeo that’s been cut in half. Now we get word that “The American” – the show’s fussy and much-unloved race car driver played by former NASCAR pro Mike Skinner – won’t be returning. Actually, that second announcement isn’t much of a bombshell since the news broke earlier in the month from Skinner himself.
While Skinner’s Twitter announcement wasn’t specific on the parting, The Grand Tour’s new video suggests he was fired – and not too happy about it. As with most things from Clarkson, Hammond, and May, it’s tough to separate truth from drama. But with Skinner tweeting his “character wasn’t developed as I was told", we can certainly believe some bad blood might exist.
As for what that character development might’ve ultimately been, we’ll never know. He was cast in a tough position from the get-go, with the shadow of Top Gear (and almost certainly legal retribution from the BBC) guiding his creation as pretty much the anti-Stig. In any case, The Grand Tour now says it’s looking for a new driver that “mustn’t be fat, clumsy or slow.”
With the next season just a few weeks away we’re fairly certain the position has already been filled, but that begs a larger question. How will the new driver fit into the series without drawing too much of a likeness to BBC’s Stig? We suppose there are several other countries the show could stereotype in a racing driver, and there was the recent mention from Ken Block that he and the trio might collaborate in the future. We can easily see “The Hoonigan” as a lunatic driver who constantly wants to drift and spin donuts, corralled just enough to turn a quick lap. That could be a neat idea. The more we think about it, that could be a very neat idea.
We’ll find out how everything shakes down on December 8, when The Grand Tour starts back up for its second season.
Source: The Grand Tour via YouTube