Over the three seasons of The Grand Tour, we’ve become accustomed to seeing the latest and greatest performance cars star in the show’s opening segment. In the most recent episode, though, they decided to do something different.
For last week’s segment, Hammond and May took to the show’s test track in two of the greatest supercars built during the 1980s: the Ferrari Testarossa and the Lamborghini Countach.
James May was behind the wheel of the Testarossa, while Richard Hammond jumped in the Countach’s driver’s seat. For a man known for his love of head-turning supercars like the Pagani Zonda, it’s little wonder why Hammond chose the Countach as his ultimate supercar of the ’80s.
Lamborghini introduced the Countach in 1974, but despite the fact that it predates the Testarossa, it had a long run as it was built through all of the 1980s as well. The car driven by Hammond was a Countach LP5000, complete with a 5.2-liter V12 engine producing 449 hp at 7000 rpm and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. Hammond’s Countach was also fitted with the towering rear wing that was a staple of Lambo’s supercar, even though it could be deleted.
The Testarossa is also powered by a twelve-cylinder, only this time it’s a 4.9-liter flat-12 that was first introduced in 1984 and built right through until 1996. It has less power than the Countach but remains one of the most iconic supercars ever.
The duo opted against performing a traditional drag race due to the difficulty of launching these supercars off the line without breaking them. As a result, they lined up for a rolling drag race. The screams of those two twelve-cylinder brutes, which weren’t restricted by today’s noise and emission legislation, are thrilling – and at the same time a reminder of how gloriously uninhibited the much derided ’80s were.