Just as Jeremy and Richard depart South Africa from the MPH/Top Gear Live shows with the whiff of petrol and denim still hanging in the air, Season 13 of the BAFTA-winning television show skids, roars and explodes its way back onto screens.
This 13th season includes everything viewers have come to expect of the show and more - man versus machine experiments, exhaustive road tests of the latest models, some serious car journalism, a look back at the history of motoring, weekly power tests featuring the world's most exotic super-cars... and a surprise revelation.
Hot on the heels of their epic challenge in Vietnam, which saw Jeremy, Richard and James travel the entire length of the country in just eight days, the boys are no less ambitious for Season 13.
Richard goes to Abu Dhabi to test the new Lambo Murcielago LP640-4 SV; the boys buy three £1,500 rear-drive sports cars and somehow find themselves entered in a terrifying French ice race.
Elsewhere, Jeremy and James attempt to understand what makes a great Volkswagen advertisement – and then try to film one of their own. Rather predictably, it doesn't go well.
And in a television-first, the mysterious Stig takes off his helmet to reveal just who he really is...
The tried-and-tested Top Gear favourites are also back, including 'the news'; and 'The Star in the
Reasonably Priced Car' feature, in which The Stig puts the rich and famous through their paces out on the test track.
Celebrities include Michael Schumacher, Olympic Gold sprinter Usain Bolt, actress Sienna Miller (who has just passed her driving test), AC/DC's singer Brian Johnson and American chat show host Jay Leno.
Irreverent, witty and unbiasedly honest, the Top Gear team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard (The Hamster) Hammond and James (Captain Slow) May take cars to the limit and beyond to find out if they are any good or not. If you want to know how big the boot is, look elsewhere.
Full of stunts, challenges and special features, Top Gear is self-deprecating, inclusive and passionate – there are no boring statistics and impenetrable conversations about camshafts and tyre pressures. Instead you get authoritative information, entertainment and no little style.
Awarded Most Popular Factual Programme for the second year running at the 2008 National Television Awards in London, and with local versions now licensed to Russia and Australia, Top Gear continues to gather pace both at home and abroad.
Meanwhile, the identity of Top Gear's ace driver The Stig (an anonymous figure clad in white, with his face obscured by his white helmet) was recently voted the UK's greatest mystery of the century.
The show often features the following segments, amongst others:
The show has featured a number of races where Jeremy Clarkson races a car against other forms of transport, usually involving Richard Hammond and James May taking the same journey by any combinations of plane, train, ferry or bus.
Top Gear normally reviews one new car, or group of cars, each week. It's became hugely influential with motor manufacturers, since a critical word from the Top Gear team could have a severely negative effect on sales.
The Top Gear reports are not based on facts or figures, but the opinions of the presenters. Group tests normally involve the three presenters debating the merits and weaknesses of each car.
Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car
In each programme, a celebrity is interviewed by Jeremy Clarkson, and focuses usually on car-related topics and often on cars owned by the celebs themselves.
The guest is whisked off to the Top Gear race track where he/she tries to get the fastest lap time in a Chevrolet.
The fastest lap time is held by The Stig, and guests who have attempted to beat his time have included Simon Cowell, Jamie Oliver and Sanjeev Bhaskar.
In the Power Laps segment, The Stig completes a lap around the Top Gear test track to determine the performance of various cars. The car tested is usually the car that's been reviewed in that episode, but occasionally it can be a car from a previous episode.
The Cool Wall
The Cool Wall is a board where Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond decide which cars are cool, and which aren't, and has nothing to do with how good or bad a car is. The categories are Sub Zero, Cool, Uncool and Seriously Uncool.
Initially, part of that "coolness" factor rested on the extent to which the presenters believed each car would impress English actress Kristin Scott Thomas.
BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce replaced Kristin as their notional judge, after Kristin stated in an interview that she owned a Honda, which was deemed to be "Uncool".