Of all the mysterious figures who are said to have played the Stig in the legendary car TV show “Top Gear” – a list that is quite impressive, by the way – there aren’t many with a more accomplished racing pedigree than Tiff Needell. Dubbed “The Emergency Stig” by Clarkson, Needell has the unique accolade of undercover racing as the Stig, for the same show he hosted years earlier.
After an admirable professional motorsport career in which Needell took the podium at Le Mans, and a handful of victories in the British Touring Car Championship, he became one of the original hosts of Top Gear in 1987, before the series was canceled for the first time in 2001. So you’d think the guy knows what he’s doing behind the wheel, right?
But it turns out that even the great ones make mistakes, something the guys at the “Triple F Collection“learn the hard way once they let Needell take control of their 1,100 horsepower Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG tuned by RENNtech.
The “Emergency Stig” needs its emergency lighting
Hosting Tiff and his current “Lovecars” co-host, Paul Woodman, the guys from the Triple F Collection host the pair at their “FFF Dragway” in Ohio. Having bulldozed their own gate to the property after someone forgot the keys, we quickly realized a misstep wouldn’t be the last incompetent idea of the day.
Because moments later someone suggested to Tiff to turn the dragstrip into a racetrack, simply by turning the corner at the end of the run and speeding back to the start on the narrow service road, barely wide enough for a single car. So when he hits the accelerator to warm up his tires, Tiff says some interesting words — something along the lines of, “I’m not sure the surface is here,” after noting that the decrepit tarmac is in dire need of an update. need.
Donuts are the only way to move forward
Tiff already brings the fear of god into one of the Triple F guys and swings the back end around the end of the drag strip and onto the service road. With a look of sheer determination and focus, Tiff reaches an absurd 136 mph on the small strip of land – but not before losing traction and losing the rear end after stepping on him and crashing into a road sign. A road sign that ironically stated the former 10 MPH speed limit of the spectator area of the defunct racetrack.
So how do you remove the expensive pain of seeing an AMG bumper drag along the sidewalk? By shredding the tires into tasty, smoky donuts, of course.
But on the plus side, the guys at Triple FFF get a free drift lesson from Needell – although we’re not sure about the lesson’s value after nearly collecting a car a few minutes earlier.
This is what Tiff Needell is doing today