Citroën 2CV Versus The Top Gear Test Track

_Top Gear_ may have announced a headline-grabbing new line-up of presenters, but the first new clip from the show is keeping to the basics: a cool car and the Dunsfold Aerodrome test track. Returning presenter, and some-time racing driver Chris Harris has taken one of Britain’s many racing-spec Citroën 2CVs around the circuit in a video available on the show’s YouTube channel.

More on the Citroën 2CV...

* 70 years of the Citroën 2CV

* Crazy supercharged 2CV at the Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb

* Find a 2CV for yourself from our classifieds

Sadly this segment won’t appear in the main show, as its part of the ‘spin-off’ _Extra Gear_, which is basically the pork trimmings of _Top Gear_. This clip carries Harris’s infectious enthusiasm from the telly set to your computer by sharing ‘the joy’ of the 2CV.

‘Whether it’s a road car, a pick-up, an old one, a new one, or like this one: a racing car. The 2CV is a thing of joy for me,’ starts Harris as he laps _Top Gear_’s test track.

In the space of one lap, which is done at considerable speed and with a fair amount of opposite lock, Harris talks the viewer through the history of 2CV racing in the UK, which covers off mid-race engine changes in 24 hour races, how to turn a base car into a racing machine (including a massive engine upgrade to 45bhp, a change of roof from canvas to metal and lowered suspension), and of course how it is to drive at full pelt.

Onboards and track-based cameras show how much of a handful the car is, and Harris describes the in-car experience in frightening but endearing terms.

‘It has so little grip that on a slightly slippery day like this, it is difficult to describe how little grip it has. But when a relationship can be created between the lack of grip and the fun you have in a car, then that’s a great thing. Look at me, I’m just smiling.’

Cue a smile from Harris, and one mighty slide through the fearsome Follow-through corner.

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