James May opens up about 'nightmare' double crash on 'The Grand Tour' (exclusive)

·3 min read
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond star un The Grand Tour presents: A Scandi Flick. (Prime Video)
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond star un The Grand Tour presents: A Scandi Flick. (Prime Video)

James May has revealed his ‘nightmare’ double car crash while shooting the latest Grand Tour film.

The presenter stunned costars Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond who looked on in horror as he smashed a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 rally car into a mountain tunnel wall at a reported 75 miles per hour.

And after narrowly surviving that incident with just injuries to his ribs, May then lived through one of his worst nightmares as his vehicle smashed through the ice and into a frozen lake.

May, Hammond and Clarkson headed to Sweden and Norway for their first post-covid film, and the man once nicknamed ‘Captain Slow’ ensured the trio were back with a bang for the show premiering on Prime Video on 16 September.

Read more: James May admits retirement is 'not far off' for him

May admitted that his first crash, inside a barely-lit mountain tunnel, must have looked 'terrifying'.

“We must have got a bit over excited and not realised what a stupid idea it was. It was alarming, but I didn’t think I was going to hit the wall at the other end.

“I was trying to win to be honest, and I started braking just a half second too late. I knew I wasn’t going to stop, and I just had to try and arrange things so I didn’t hit anybody and didn’t spanner myself too badly. I could have got it a bit more sideways but it’s not something I’ve practised to be honest.”

The Grand Tour presents: A Scandi Flick (Prime Video)
James May in The Grand Tour presents: A Scandi Flick. (Prime Video)

His costars were genuinely shocked by the accident, but May admitted that was news to him: “Apparently so. Other people have said that. I didn’t notice at the time and they certainly never inquired after my health.

"They certainly took the p***, which is what I’d expect from them.”

After patching up his seemingly invincible vehicle, May then led the trio on a charge across a frozen lake, and admitted that going into the frozen water was scarier than the tunnel smash: “You have time to panic about that — the idea of going through the ice is the stuff of nightmares.

Read more: Jeremy Clarkson leads celebs accusing weather reporters of scaremongering

“I find that quite scary. I wouldn’t say I’d rather drive into a wall, that hurts more, but I think the prospect of going through the ice is worse.”

The Grand Tour presents: A Scandi Flick (Prime Video)
The Grand Tour presents: A Scandi Flick (Prime Video)

While he wouldn’t have chosen these particular incidents to showcase the resilience of his favourite rally car, the legendary Evo, May admits that he certainly proved its worth across the mix of madcap and death defying stunts.

“It did provide us with some good moments of tension, and the star of the show is definitely the Evo.

The Grand Tour presents: A Scandi Flick (Prime Video)
James May tries to escape the ice in The Grand Tour presents: A Scandi Flick (Prime Video)

“In the world of rallying, the cars crashed all the time, rolled over and hit trees. They’d literally have to hammer and crowbar them back into shape, which is what I did with the Evo.

“We are forced to conclude that I did a more thorough test than the other two, who just drove around pontificating.”

The Grand Tour presents: A Scandi Flick launches on Prime Video, 16 September

WATCH: James May 'hospitalised after crashing at 75mph.