Richard Hammond’s harrowing crash in a Rimac Concept One electric supercar while filming The Grand Tour lit up the internet, but now the new hosts of his old gig have encountered dangerous situation of their own. Top Gear hosts Chris Harris and Eddie Jordan escaped from a burning car while filming a segment for the show. Harris and Jordan were uninjured, but the car was a total loss.
The car in question was a pre-production version of the A110 sports car from revived French automaker Alpine. Harris was driving on a stretch of the legendary Monte Carlo rally, with Jordan in the passenger seat. Upon being informed that flames were coming from the bottom of the car, Harris immediately pulled over and he and Jordan made a swift exit from the Alpine.
“I first realized I needed to get out when I opened the door and the flames went up my arm,” Harris told Top Gear magazine. “Sadly the car was lost and it always makes me sad to see a beautiful car destroyed.” Co-pilot Jordan said the A110 was performing well before it met its untimely end.
“Doing a stage of the Monte Carlo Rally was a dream come true for me. The car was stunning — so light on its toes. It was dancing around the mountain and Chris was driving it beautifully,” Jordan said. “It’s such a shame we didn’t finish the test, but these things happen.”
The cause of the fire is still unknown, but it’s worth emphasizing that the car involved was a pre-production model. A high-profile calamity is the last thing Alpine needs as it tries to stage a comeback. Owned by Renault, the French automaker hasn’t produced a car of its own since the 1990s. The A110 borrows the name and styling of one of Alpine’s most fondly remembered models. The original A110 was built from 1961 to 1977 and claimed multiple rally victories.
The new A110 is being pitched as a French alternative to the ubiquitous Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster. The project was launched in 2012 as a joint effort between Alpine parent Renault and Caterham, but the British firm backed out in 2014. Alpine began building cars for customers in December 2017, and it’s unclear whether the Top Gear fire will affect the delivery schedule. The A110 will not be sold in the U.S.