Top Gear's Rory Reid has described working on his first season of Top Gear as an "incredibly intense experience".
Such was the scrutiny and passionate opposition to the new look show, Reid told RedBull.com that it was 'like being a soldier parachuted into a war'.
Reid landed himself on the presenting team via a 30 second video clip that he sent into the open auditions. This is an achievement of which he is 'immensely proud', and rightly so, but he wasn't quite prepared for what he had let himself in for.
“I was definitely surprised. I thought that we’d come in, do the job and then be judged according to the job that we did,” he said.
The 37 year old petrol-head understandably wanted a fair crack at the job, but instead he found himself 'very surprised at the level of hostility' that came with it. However, in amongst all of the social media abuse and vitriol there were glimmers of positivity from the pockets of viewers who maintained a modicum of perspective, proving that not everybody was desperate for the show to crash and burn, so they could dance around the fire in Clarkson masks.
A lot of the more favourable reviews made particularly pleasant reading for Reid, who was complimented for his fresh, energetic style and refreshing sense of humour.
Reid - never one to focus too much on the negatives - talked fondly of the moment Chris Evans was visibly emotional after driving the McLaren F1, a highlight that reminded him why he was doing what he was doing, why it was all worth it, and why he has described the job as 'really, really rewarding'.
“I remember talking to Chris and watching the tears build up in his eyes and I’m thinking, ‘Where is this going? How am I going to handle this? Do we cut, do we roll with it, do I keep pressing? Am I going to get fired because I made him cry?’” said Reid.
“But I went with it and people really appreciated that moment because it showed another side to Chris. The cars move him in a certain way, and it’s not all scripted. There’s a passion deep inside him – not just him, but all of us – for the job that we do and the cars that we drive."
Reid - who also fronted Top Gear: Extra Gear - lives and breathes cars. His passion for his job is palpable when he is on screen, as is his appreciation of the fact that he is doing what he loves and essentially getting paid to play with 'fun toys'. When asked by RedBull.com what his favourite cars from the series were he listed the Ford Focus RS as the "most fun", whilst labelling the Tesla Model X - which he drove around New York City - as 'the coolest'.
Reid has stated that he is 'not allowed' to talk about the next series for which he is yet to sign a contract, however, he did say that 'the expectation' is that they will 'continue without Chris' but the format will need to change quite drastically.
“Without Chris Evans, you’d only have Matt LeBlanc to do that, and I don’t know if that’s a route the BBC would go down, to have him on his own. I think they’d incorporate the rest of us to make it like an ensemble piece. We’ll see what happens, but I expect it to be a pretty big change, and that things will be pretty different,” he explained.
Reid, who describes himself as the 'lovechild of Idris Elba and Jeremy Clarkson', has had a pretty fast-tracked rise to one of the top jobs in motoring journalism. RedBull.com wanted to know what extravagances Reid had allowed himself, his response is typical of the man, and it's exactly the kind of down to earth remark that makes him so likeable:
"I've been pretty sensible, man. I bought a seven-seater Hyundai Sante Fe," he said. "I think it’s pretty bad arse."
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