Exclusive: The real reason Clarkson, Hammond and May have been filming at Goodwood

It wasn't what you think

Clarkson, Hammond and May Top Gear

JEREMY CLARKSON, Richard Hammond and James May have been spotted back together in front of the camera for the first time since the BBC suspended Clarkson over a so-called fracas with a Top Gear producer – but Driving can reveal that they were not hatching plans for a new motoring TV show.

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The trio were spotted at Goodwood, West Sussex, with a fleet of cars, which has prompted speculation that they have begun work on a successor to Top Gear.

Clarkson was seen in a green Lamborghini Huracan, while May arrived in a yellow Ferrari 458, which is due to be replaced (as he discussed in Driving on Sunday).

Associates tweeted pictures of a long line-up of supercars, including the new Mercedes-AMG GT S  and the McLaren 650S , as well as Suzuki Swifts prepared for a game of car football.

Chris Evans stoked the rumours by announcing, on his Radio 2 show, that the presenters were holding talks at Goodwood about “a very secret thing”.

But Driving can reveal the real reason for the reunion: they are filming video footage for their upcoming live shows.

The shows were previously branded Top Gear Live and were scheduled to run until the end of the year. However, with the presenters now out of contract with the BBC, the shows have been renamed Clarkson, Hammond and May Live and will no longer feature BBC content and properties, including the Stig and footage from the TV shows, which were part of the running order.

“It’s left a big hole in the shows,” said a source close to the production. “They were going to show the audience some of the best bits from Top Gear, to fill the time while they set up the next stunt, so they’ve had to come up with some new ideas and film them before the first show starts.”

Rowly French, creative director of Top Gear Live and now Clarkson, Hammond and May Live, posted several tweets, showing the cars that  will appear in the shows. As well as supercars and Suzuki Swifts, they included a monster truck and a souped-up bus.

The first Clarkson, Hammond and May Live show will be in Belfast on May 22. The tour continues to Sheffield and London and will also take in Stavanger, in Norway, Johannesburg in South Africa and the Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney.

For more information, visit the Clarkson, Hammond and May website.