Top Gear America taping

COCSD members Tom Kelly, Greg Magill, Craig Moya and Randy Standke were joined by San Diego Miata Club member Greg Lee on a road trip to Las Vegas to participate in the taping of the new Top Gear America television series.  The group drove up on Sunday, May 14 and were in the audience for the Monday morning taping.  The taping of all 8 episodes were done that week, with two taping sessions each on Sunday through Wednesday.

Tom (with help from Marie) rented a Kia minivan and did all of the driving.  Craig served as navigator and brought along some GoPro video cameras to record the trip.  We weren’t allowed to photograph or shoot video at the taping location, but there was plenty of “interesting” conversation over the 11 hours or so of round-trip travel time.  Watch for the video of the highlights soon!

Craig, Tom, Greg and SDMC’s Greg Lee met up at Randy’s for the trek to Las Vegas. Photo by Randy’s 4-year-old granddaughter, Zoe.
While in Las Vegas, we had dinner with Lisa DiSabatino’s parents, Yvonne and Mike. Mike joined us for the taping.

The taping took place at SpeedVegas, a privately-owned race track, at the end south of Las Vegas.  Greg M. and Craig were among the 20 or so audience members chosen to stand by the track while the guest celebrity and the professional driver (aka The Stig) took their hot laps on the 1.5-mile road course.  The others viewed the laps from a second floor observation deck on the adjacent main building.

The Stig drove a very modified minivan on the track. Greg got a photo of the Stig family decal as we left the taping.

Once the laps were run, all 200 or so audience members were grouped around the taping “studio” – the tall, multi-bay service garage at the track.  If you’ve watched the original BBC Top Gear, taped in the UK, you know that the audience does not sit.  They stand.  And stand, we did, for about 4 straight hours, including the time outside at the track.  At least those of us on our side of the studio got to move around a bit.  We separated and regrouped, as they brought multiple vehicles into the studio from behind us.

It’s impossible to say whether any of us will make “cameo” appearances, once the episode is broadcast sometime this summer.  Regardless, it was fun to participate, learn a bit about what happens during a series taping, and just hang out with fellow car nuts.

Back in San Diego, everyone paid Tom their share of the car rental and gas cost. Contrary to rumors, we did not pay with “leftover” singles.


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