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Top 10 Best Celebrity Guests on Top Gear

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Aaron Cameron These are the most interesting celebrity lap times... in the world. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrity Guests on Top Gear. For this list we will be looking at memorable guests, noteworthy laps, and general automotive finesse in “Top Gear”'s ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ segment. Laps posted in all four of the series' cars - the Suzuki Liana, the Chevrolet Lacetti, Kia Cee'd, and Vauxhall Astra - will be considered. Guests of all sorts are up for contention, however F1 drivers will be excluded as they are - and were - a list to themselves. Special thanks to our user RedDragon for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Top+Gear+Celebrity+Races
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These are the most interesting celebrity lap times... in the world. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrity Guests on Top Gear.

For this list, we’ll be looking at memorable guests, noteworthy laps, and general automotive finesse in “Top Gear”’s ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ segment. Laps posted in all four of the series’ cars - the Suzuki Liana, the Chevrolet Lacetti, Kia Cee’d, and Vauxhall Astra - will be considered. Guests of all sorts are up for contention; however F1 drivers will be excluded as they are - and were - a list unto themselves.

#10: Jimmy Carr

Revealing himself to be a serial Rover owner, Carr was absolutely reckless during his first Top Gear appearance. With a style that was innovatively bad, Jimmy fluked his way to the top of the leader board - but later learned what The Stig really thought of his driving. Lack of skill aside, Carr remained the show’s fastest man in the Liana until it was retired. Later attempts were much less impressive. Nearly rolling the Lacetti, the 8 Out of 10 Cats host recorded what would be the Chevy’s second worst lap time: 2m 8.91s. Carr almost redeemed himself in the Astra, setting a time of 1:45.6, but proved to be as hopeless as ever when he broke the car and destroyed one of its tires.

#9: Michael Gambon

Many people have nearly rolled, bailed, and slid through the final turn but Michael Gambon was first. Formally named “Carpenters’ Corner,” the turn was permanently renamed in Gambon’s honor when he came through it on two wheels. Looking terrified throughout, the six time Dumbledore set a lowly 1:55 lap time, managed to bust the Liana’s right side mirror on a direction sign and nearly rolled in his now namesake corner... but it wasn’t all bad. On his second appearance, Gambon claimed his new found “turn” fame had dramatically improved his stock with the ladies and that Dame Judi Dench was “after him.”

#8: Aaron Paul

The future Todd Chavez only appeared on Top Gear once but that was all he needed to clench the top spot on the leader board. Promoting a show that never aired in Britain - Breaking Bad - and a movie that wasn’t out yet - Need for Speed - Paul ran a solid, slick, and clean lap of 1:44.7 to overtake then leader Brian Johnson. The former Jesse Pinkman overcame a “brutal start” and received cheers for calling the Vauxhall Astra “bitch.” Yeah, Paul’s Top Gear appearance is likely more memorable for its interview than the actual lap. Undramatic as it might have been, Paul’s time was only beaten twice by the end of the Clarkson era.

#7: Tom Cruise

By series 15 - and possibly due to Jonathan Ross’s dismissal from the BBC - Top Gear had the swagger to pull internationally known A-Level guests. In the fifteenth series, they bagged both Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Although both committed cardinal sins in the court of Clarkson – Cruise was a biker and Diaz, a Prius owner - they made up for it on the track. While he had trouble shifting with his left hand, Cruise drove an incredibly focused lap - until the final corner. Clipping the curve entering Gambon, Cruise took the rest of the turn on two wheels but also took the leader board with a time of 1:44.2 - beating Diaz who had taken the top spot just minutes prior.

#6: Ellen MacArthur

Fresh from the southern oceans, Ellen MacArthur was a guest Clarkson had long vied for, and she did not disappoint. Already the fastest person to sail the around the world, MacArthur became the fastest celebrity to ever post a time in the Suzuki Liana. Not speaking to the in-car camera, Dame Ellen ran a series of smooth, consistent laps. MacArthur, however, had firm doubts about her performance and begged producers for more laps - which they denied her as she had already beaten then-leader Jimmy Carr’s record by two tenths of a second. Despite rarely being on land - let alone in a car - MacArthur’s time of 1:46.7 remained the fastest celebrity lap until the Liana was retired.

#5: Brian Johnson

Jeremy may have never heard the name “Brian Johnson” before, but the AC/DC frontman’s run in the Lacetti made sure he’d never forget it. One of the few times he was seen without his signature newsboy cap, Johnson’s style was described by Clarkson as “smooth and violent.” Johnson ran his motor clean through Bacharach Bend but shook it all night long coming out of Gambon. Scoring slightly behind lap leader Jay Kay, Johnson became an instant friend of the show and was given the honor of “cutting the ribbon” on the Astra in series 20. In the newer car Jonna was even better - nailing a 1:45.1 lap time that was untouched for almost two series.

#4: Simon Cowell

Mr. Nasty’s Top Gear debut was met with boos, but he only gave haters more to hate. During his interview with Jeremy, Cowell confirmed he had just ordered a Maybach and was considering ordering the then-new Aston Martin DB-9. You know, nice simple everyday cars... On the track, however, Clarkson found Judge Dread to be “disappointingly good”- and he was. Cowell’s time of 1:47.1 was enough to take the top spot from Jodie Kidd but was also nearly three full seconds faster than Clarkson’s own time of 1:50. Simon’s later appearance in the Lacetti was even quicker - 1:45.9 - which not only saw him snatch first from Chef Gordon Ramsay, but also earned the praise of the Top Gear camera crew.

#3: Michael Fassbender

With snow on the ground and the crew literally chipping ice off the Penultimate Corner, a solid lap time for Michael Fassbender seemed unlikely. Worse still, Fassbender only owned one car in his life - a diesel Peugeot. But behind the wheel of the mighty Kia Cee’d, Magneto’s younger self proved to be more than capable, with Clarkson describing his run as “smooth as hell.” That smoothness ultimately translated into a 1:42.8 lap time which, while not enough to take the top position, was never beaten for the remainder of the Cee’d’s lifetime.

#2: Rowan Atkinson

Although he had previously lent his McLaren F1 to the show, 16 full series had gone by before Rowan Atkinson finally made an appearance on Top Gear. Promoting the yet-to-be-released Johnny English: Reborn and its Rolls Royce Phantom, Atkinson discussed v16 engines and his own car history with Clarkson. He also confessed that he was worried his driving skills wouldn’t live up to expectations. Turns out he had nothing to worry about. Taking an F1-like line around the track in the Cia Kee’d, the Blackadder did what Clarkson thought to be impossible: he beat John Bishop by over half a second.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Jay Kay

- Usain Bolt

- Lionel Richie


#1: Matt LeBlanc

When Matt LeBlanc arrived early in series 18, Rowan Atkinson still sat at the top of the board with the seemingly impossible time of 1:42.2. When he left, Matt LeBlanc had set a time that went unchallenged for the remainder of the Clarkson era: 1:42.1. On the track LeBlanc was tight, tidy, and consistently matched Atkinson’s lap time until finally beating it in his last attempt. Of the guests that followed, only F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo was able to come anywhere near his lap time – although he was driving the Liana. LeBlanc later took part in a typically unusual review for the newer version of the Cee’d and was eventually made a co-host of the revamped, post-Clarkson version of the show.

Do you agree with our list? Who was your favorite star in a reasonably priced car? For more late-braking Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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