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Timothy ‘Tiff’ Needell
From the moment his father first took him to Goodwood there was only one thing Tiff wanted to be – a racing driver. But motor racing is a millionaires’ playground and Tiff had to initially settle for a degree in Civil Engineering, before his dream finally came true. Incredibly he won his first racing car – a Formula Ford Lotus 69F in a competition run by the weekly racing magazine ‘Autosport’. From this beginning he worked his way up through the national racing scene to become a Formula Ford Champion in 1975. From there the only way was up: he finished fourth in the 1978 British Formula Three Championship, behind future Grand Prix stars Nelson Piquet and Derek Warwick; and in his debut British Formula One race he came second. A lot of driving followed, including: Le Man, British Touring Car Championship and the Rally of Great Britain. Tiff’s TV career has seen him behind the microphone on Grandstand, a co-host in the original airing of Top Gear, as well as a founding co-host on Fifth Gear.
What’s the best way to train for a get ready for a car racing career? Drive tractors on a farm of course. And this is exactly how Vicki first tested out her love for all things automotive. From her start in 100cc karts at the age of 12 there’ve been many highlights; including being lapped by a much more experienced David Coulthard in her first kart race - wonder what ever happened to him... She's also raced a Porsche 911 in the Carrera Cup and a Renault Clio in the Clio Cup. Vicki became the first woman to win a Maserati race in the history of the marque, in the Maserati Trofeo support race at the British F1 GP. And, in October 2009, she fulfilled the dream of racing a Ferrari: a F430 Challenge car with 4.3-litre V8 engine, and in the two 25-minute races at Brands Hatch, she finished 2nd and 3rd in Class. Vicki has been presenter of Fifth Gear for 10 years. Previously she presented Top Gear and regularly writes for the Sunday Times In Gear motoring section, and has a monthly column in Country and Town House magazine, 'Diary of a Car Girl'.
Jason Plato is a British racing driver currently competing in the British Touring Car Championship for MG KX Momentum Racing. He's won the BTCC championship twice, is the most successful driver with 71 victories and holds the record for the most overall podiums, pole positions and fastest laps in the BTCC. Jason started his career in Karting in 1980 at the age of 12 and was British champion in 1981. He won the Renault Spider Championships in 1996 and was offered a drive by Sir Frank Williams in 1997 in the works Renault Laguna in the BTCC claiming pole position in his first three races. He was also voted the World’s Best Touring Car Driver by the fans of Touring Car Times.
There’s nothing like a bit of persistence and a handy dab of work experience to get your foot in the door, which exactly what Jonny did to get his first staff writer job at VW magazine. Within three years he was editor. He has written for the Sunday Times, Max Power and Car Magazine. As well as spending six years on Fifth Gear, Jonny has also appeared on Industrial Junkie and Movies’ Greatest Cars.