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Old 11th February 2005, 23:17   #1
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Default 5th gear presenters!!!

I just watched an episode of 5th gear and couldn't help but marvel, at the kinda car control these people showed and how driver like, their comments were..

So, i just made a quick check on these people and, it seems that 5th gear has some serious talent.

Here they are.............

Tiff Needell :



The characteristic drawl of Timothy "Tiff" Needell has become well-known not only to British TV viewers, but also to millions of others all over the world who are able to watch the Top Gear show on BBC World. He has been a popular sidekick and track tester in the show for quite some time now. Anyone who has seen Top Gear has witnessed his really exceptional car-control skills. His looong powerslides are almost legendary! But maybe not everyone watching Top Gear knows he had a brief GP career as well. Already in the early 1980s Tiff began to develop a parallel career path into the media world. He is currently a columnist and feature writer for Top Gear Magazine as well as doing his work for the TV show. Tiff has almost driven everything on four wheels. The majority of his racing career he spent in various forms of sportscars.

Born on October 29, 1951 in Havant, Hampshire, England, Tiff Needell attended the City University where he achieved an Honours Degree in Civil Engineering. Hegot hired by George Wimpy & Co Ltd and had his day job as Structural Design Engineer.

His racing career started in 1970, when he attended a drivers course at Brands Hatch. His first results came in the the 1970 Daily Mail Stars of Tomorrow FF1600 when he finished fourth. In a somewhat unusual way he was able to continue in Formula Fords for 1971. He actually won the car through a competition in Autosport magazine!

He used the Lotus type 69 for two seasons and despite little funds he was able to forge himself into a front-runner in the category. In 1973 he switched to an Elden chassis and due to financial struggles he was not able to score any results until 1975 when a friend loaned a Crosslé 25F to him. With this car Tiff won the Townsend Thoresen Brands Hatch Challenge. And he ended the year with a "special commendation" Grovewood Award.

Progression to FF2000 followed in 1976, with Tiff finishing second in the APG Championship. He also won the Dunlop Award which was based on his qualifying performances. At the end of the year he was awarded the premier Grovewood Award. This meant further progression during 1977 and 1978 when he took seat in the crack Unipart Formula Three team. The Triumph engines they were using were not on par with the rival Toyota engines so they were not able to compete on equal terms. In 1978 at the twisty Cadwell Park in the wet Tiff was able to stay on the gearbox of a certain Nelson Piquet all the race, so when power was not paramount then his driving skills shone. Tiff actually did a brief appearance in Formula Two late in 1977 but for 1979 Tiff decided that time had come to take a further step.

He was contracted to drive the unique Chevron B41 Formula One car in the Aurora Championship, with sponsorship from Durex condoms. Ensign also approached him to race in the British GP, but Tiff was not awarded the necessary superlicence needed for the seat. The Unipart Ensign team asked for his services again in 1980. This time the Tiff had the superlicence so finally, at the age of 28, he was now able to put the job of Grand Prix driver on his business card.

He did his debut at Zolder (our picture) and qualified the difficult car in 23rd spot but retired from the with a broken engine. He was given another chance at but didn't qualify the car. Only 20 spots were up for grabs so the chances for making the grid were remote at the best. He was 1.5 seconds from the 20th place. But he was in good company on race day, because neither Keke Rosberg, John Watson, Geoff Lees nor Eddie Cheever made the grid.

Needell's involvement in Formula One came to an abrupt end and he commented: "I had the satisfaction of reaching the ultimate formula, but was frustrated at being replaced by a supposedly more experienced driver, having failed to qualify at Monaco. Undoubtedly the highlights were qualifying 19th fastest in the first wet session at Monaco, ahead of drivers such as Mass, Jabouille, Patrese, de Angelis, Cheever, Lees, Zunino and Kennedy and 12th fastest in the second wet session at Zolder."

He finished the year in Japanese Formula Two and the Selangor Grand Prix driving a Formula Pacific.

Exiled from single-seaters Tiff now moved on to sportscars. He also took on his media role from now on. The rest of the 1980s were spent in various Group C cars, mostly driving for Japanese teams. He began his long Group C career in the unloved Nimrod-Aston Martin. At Le Mans this car gave Tiff a wild ride when a rear-end failure sent Tiff into the barriers on the long straight at high speed. He was back at Le Mans in an another Aston Martin powered car, the EMKA. This car looked more purposeful, and it had a Tickford-prepared Aston V8. During the race itself the team cleverly engineered a ploy in which Tiff made an early "splash-and-dash" stop for fuel only. When the leading cars came in for their scheduled stops the EMKA was able to stay out and in due course actually inherited the lead! The first Aston Martin powered car to lead at Le Mans since 1959! Their moment of glory lasted for 20 minutes… After a losing 43 minutes in the pits due to clutch problems they finished down in 11th place.

Tiff also drove for the Dome team during 1983-'85, sharing the driving duties with James Weaver and Eje Elgh. In 1984 this became a painful experience for Tiff! After engine-cooling troubles early in the season, Dome re-located the water radiators from the sidepods to the front of the car. This meant some replumbing of the associated pipes. They were not properly insulated so they fried poor Tiff's behind…

In 1986 Tiff jumped onto the abortive Lamborghini foray into Group C. Financing came from Unipart, Tiff's faithful backers. The car was an old Tiga GC83 chassis rebuilt during 1985-'86 into what was entered as a "Lamborghini Countach QVX". The bulky engine originated from a Countach road car, being a 5.7-litre 60-degree V12 developing some 650bhp. The initially promising three-year and rumoured £4 million programme looked attractive on paper. As in many cases over the years the project ultimately came to nothing. Tiff appeared in the car just once. This was in the non-championship invitation race held at Kyalami late in 1986. It would never had raced at all if it hadn't been for the appearance money from the isolated South African apartheid regime. Tiff drove the 500km singlehandedly and the device was reliable enough to actually see the chequered flag at the end. A fifth place was his reward.

For 1987-'88 Tiff was back in Japan driving for the TOM'S Toyota team. During 1989-'92 Tiff mainly drove Porsche 962 cars for various teams. He finished a fine third at Le Mans in 1990 with the Alpha Porsche 962.

Tiff was back in a GP car in December 1991 at Estoril when he was able to sample a current Williams FW14. His track test was featured in many motorsport magazines.

Tin-tops followed in 1993-'94. A time when the British Touring Car Championship began to grow stronger and stronger. No results were gained in either year while driving an Ecurie Ecosse Vauxhall Cavalier in 1993 and a Nissan Primera 2.0 eGT in 1994.

Again partnering James Weaver in 1995, Tiff drove a PCA Jaguar XJ220 in the Le Mans 24 Hrs. Their engine expired on lap 135. From 1996 and onwards Tiff was a member of the Lister team. They fielded the Lister Storm powered by a massive 7.0-litre V12 in the front. The engines were infact surplus units from the heydays of the Silk Cut TWR Jaguar team. His showed his versatility in 1996 by driving the tail-happy TVR Tuscans and also entering the Network Q RAC Rally driving a Skoda Felicia! He finished a lowly 54th…

Mainly driving Lister Storms in the British series in 1998, he scored two wins at Snetterton and in the October 4 meet at Silverstone. Tiff also was invited to drive a Nissan Primera for Ray Mallock in the BTCC race at Brands Hatch in August.


Vicki Butler Henderson :



Born on February 16th 1972, Vicki grew up on a farm ( arable / pigs ) in Hertfordshire. She made her Top Gear debut in 1994, racing a Ford Fiesta at Brands Hatch. She was educated at The Perse School for Girls, Cambridge, where she achieved nine GCSEs and three 'A' Levels in English, French and biology.
Behind the wheel since she was 11 with her first driving lesson in a 100cc kart, by the age of 17 she started her career as a racing instructor at circuits such as Brands Hatch and Silverstone, as well as spending a year living and working at Knockhill, Scotland. She has competed in series such as Formula First and the 2000 Pentel Ginetta Championship ( which she has guested in on several occasions since ). She has also raced in a number of other events, such as the Porsche Cup, Radicals, the Speyside Stages Rally, a combine harvester race, a 24 hour 2CV race and, on two occasions, as navigator for ITV's Formula One pit reporter Louise Goodman in the Rallye Sunseeker. In 2001 she raced a Honda Formula Four-Stroke speedboat off of France.
At the 2004 British Grand Prix meeting at Silverstone, Vicki and her co-driver, Matthew Marsh, won the Maserati Trofeo race, an event described by VB-H as "one of the best moments of my life".
She made her television debut in 1994, racing a Ford Fiesta at Brands Hatch in a one off piece for BBC2's Top Gear and was a regular presenter from 1997 until December 2001, during which time she also presented Top Gear GTI for UK Horizons. In 2002 she moved to Five's new Fifth Gear programme, as well as presenting coverage of the BTCC ( British Touring Car Championship ) for ITV.
At the end of 2002 she co-presented the Virgin Radio Breakfast Show and has guested on other programmes, such as Radio 4's Woman's Hour, XFM's Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show and Radio 2's Steve Wright In The Afternoon.
Other than presenting TV programmes, her journalistic career in print has included Car Mechanics magazine, Carweek magazine, Auto Express magazine and What Car? She helped launch Max Power magazine and was a regular contributor to Top Gear Magazine. She has also written for a string of national newspapers, such as The Daily Telegraph and The Times.
She has voiced advertisements for, amongst others, Wrigleys Extra Thin Ice and features in the Playstation 2 game Gran Turismo 4 Prologue. You'll also find Vicki in Jeremy Clarkson's DVD, At Full Throttle.
Vicki's drives a Honda S2000, a VW Golf GTi Mark 2 and rides a Ducati Monster 750.
Vicki's racing career continues a family tradition. Her father, Guy, raced in the British Karting team and her late grandfather, Lionel, regularly raced in the famous Hill Climb at Brooklands. Her younger brother, Charles (Charlie), has also raced since the age of eight and competed in the 2004 BTCC.


Jason Plato :



Jason Plato was born in Oxford, England in 1967, educated at Kings School, Tynemouth in the North East. Jason started Karting age 12 and made the transition to cars in 1989. A summary of his racing achievements are detailed below.
2002 Ascar Championship, finishing the series 3rd Overall and winning the Mintex Most Popular Driver Award.
2001 British Touring Car Champion, BRDC Silver Star Winner.
BTCC Manufacturers and Teams Titles with Vauxhall and 888 Motorsport.
Nominated Autosport National Racing Driver of the Year.
8 Wins, 17 Podiums, 7 Poles, 11 F/Laps.
2000 British Touring Car Championship with Vauxhall 888 Motorsport.
5th Overall. 3 Wins, 5 Podiums, 2 Poles.
1000kms Bathurst with Holden Racing Team. 10th Overall.
1999 British Touring Car Championship with Williams Renault Nescafe Blend 37.
5th Overall. 1 Win, 3 Podiums, 1 Pole.
1998 British Touring Car Championship with Williams Renault Nescafe Blend 37.
5th Overall. 1 Win, 6 Podiums, 2 Poles.
1997 British Touring Car Championship with Williams Renault.
3rd Overall. 2 Wins, 9 Podiums, 4 Poles.
Standing Record Pole Position for 3 debut races.
1000 kms Bathurst with Williams Renault Merpati ANZ, retired from the lead.
Fastest Lap and Standing Super Touring Lap Record.
Nominated Autosport National Racing Driver of the Year.
1996 Elf Renault Spider UK Cup Champion.
Winner European Renault Spider Race.
Nominated Autosport Club Racing Driver of the Year.
11 Wins, 2 Podiums, 13 poles, 9 F/Laps.
1995 3 Races Formula Renault Sport European Championship.
1994 British Touring Car Test Driver - Nissan Old Spice Racing
1993 British Formula Vauxhall Championship - Martin Donnely Talking Pages - 5th Overall
1992 British Formula 3 Championhip - Works Duckhams Van Diemen
1991 European Formula Renault Champion - Works Duckhams Van Diemen.
British Formula Renault Championship - Works Duckhams Van Diemen 4th Overall. Nominated Autosport Club Racing Driver of the Year.
10 Wins, 9 Poles, 11 F/Laps.
1990 Car Racing Debut - British Formula Renault Championship - Manor Motorsport.
5th Overall. 1 Win, 3 Podiums, 1 Pole, 4 F/Laps
1989 Winfield Pilote Elf School - 2nd Place Graduate
1980 thru 1987 Karting. Internationally from 1983.
1983 Junior World 'Grand Prix' Champion
Multiple British Kart Champion
Multiple British Kart Team Member

There's one more name (Tom Ford) tagged to this TV Series but, unfortunately, the only Tom Ford i could find info on, happens to be a fashion designer.

Shan2nu

Last edited by Shan2nu : 11th February 2005 at 23:40.
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Old 12th February 2005, 14:16   #2
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How did you watch the fifth gear episode here? Did you you download it?
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Old 12th February 2005, 14:29   #3
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great.... it was a good article to read on... thanks Shan2nu.
i used to watch most of the fifth gear episodes and i love it. tiff is a very good driver and its really enjoyable to watch his presentation.. but the problem with him is that whenever he reviews, his importance is for how good is the vehicle to drive and is less bothered about its comfort or many other aspect. but still i love his reviews.... and about vicky, isnt she great!! girl driving supercars.... even vicky drives very well.. and i could normally see many more persons in fifth gear.
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Old 12th February 2005, 15:09   #4
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Quote:
but the problem with him is that whenever he reviews, his importance is for how good is the vehicle to drive and is less bothered about its comfort or many other aspect.
Why do you think i like his reviews so much. LOL

You can't expect race drivers to comment on comfort and fuel economy. For all that, you have people like Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. Hehe

5th gear is more like a sportier version of Top Gear. What Top Gear can't give me, 5th gear does. And if you've watched some of their recent episodes, you'll see that their presentation and camera work has improved drastically.

But then again, 5th gear isn't all about on track performance, in one off the episodes, they test the incabin noise levels, driver's view and the braking stability of a couple of MPVs, which happens to be a pretty practical test.

Then they have their own safety section where "high speed camera" footage from crash tests are show. They have all sorts of crashes, cars with cars, cars with bikes, cars with ATVs, cars with human dummies...... the lot.

And i just love their test track, unless you're a pro, you just can't afford to throw your car around it, cos there's absolutely no run off area, anywhere. One mistake and you're "GONE".

Here's the track shoot out list (so far).

Vehicle - Lap Time (secs)

Mosler MT900S - 48.82

Ducati 999 - 49.25

Lamborghini Gallardo - 49.69

BMW M3CSL - 50:08

Lotus Elise 111R - 51.89

Vauxhall VX220T - 51.96

BMW M3 - 52:08

BMW Z4 3.0 - 53:03

Vauxhall Monaro V8 - 54.06

Porsche Boxster 2.7 - 54.60

Old Honda Civic Type R - 54.90

MG ZT V8 - 55.60

Seat Leon Cupra R - 56.0

Citroen C2 GT - 56.5

Mini Cooper S Convertible - 56.37

Ford SportKa - 57.0

Skoda VRS - 57.03

Mini Cooper - 58.03

Smart Brabus Roadster Coupe - 58.15

Ford Transit - 61.90

Mercedes Sprinter - 67.2

Shan2nu

Last edited by Shan2nu : 12th February 2005 at 15:24.
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Old 12th February 2005, 15:51   #5
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Which channel are u watching 5th Gear on?
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Old 12th February 2005, 17:03   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shan2nu
You can't expect race drivers to comment on comfort and fuel economy. For all that, you have people like Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. Hehe

5th gear is more like a sportier version of Top Gear. What Top Gear can't give me, 5th gear does.
Shan2nu
I agree with u on that its sportier version of Top Gear. but then, when a review is not made on the whole of a car people tend to move away from it and that hapenned after their starting seasons, and now i think, they learned from it and i can see the improvements they have made these days... cant wait for the next season.

...and speaking of sporty car reviews theres always motor vision, which is one of the best reviewers, they take the nuts of the car when they test it , beleive me, that is too good.
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Old 12th February 2005, 17:05   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S600BENZ
Which channel are u watching 5th Gear on?
back home i watch it in channel five, dont know if its available here in india.
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Old 12th February 2005, 18:10   #8
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Quote:
Which channel are u watching 5th Gear on?
It comes on channel five, but i download them from the net.

Shan2nu
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