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Coronavirus (almost) killed a northern Russia episode of 'The Grand Tour'

A man on a snowy street in Yakutsk, Siberia, 450 km south of the Arctic Circle, in the former Soviet Union, December 11, 1965.

Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The team of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond were set to head off on their next grand adventure in mid-March. A new interview between Clarkson and "The Grand Tour" executive editor Andy Wilman pulls back the curtain on that next act, which was cancelled because of COVID-19.

Ahead of any shoot for an episode of "The Grand Tour" the show's production company, Expectation Entertainment, expends hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing. That includes expenditures for finding the shooting, driving, and lodging locations; shipping cars to the location; and paying fixers among other things.

During the chat session, Wilman described how the team was in the thick of it with planning for the latest episode featuring a drive in northern Russia when the first reports of the coronavirus came out. "There's no word in Russian for 'I'll give you refund'," joked Wilman. "It just doesn't exist."

Jeremy Clarkson & Andy Wilman discuss why it takes so bloody long to put a Grand Tour film outwww.youtube.com

Soon, the team began hearing about closing borders, not just Russia's, but England's.

They had to make a decision. "We had to call it. It was the right move," Wilman confirmed, jokingly adding later, "The people only want us to do globetrotting and boy have we picked the right moment to do that."

Clarkson says that they will still do the episode, but that there will be another one in-between.

An episode shot in northern Russia would be an extreme climatic change from the last episode the trio filmed in Madagascar. That episode has been held up in the editing process due to social distancing guidelines set forth in England over the last few months.

Most of northern Russia is above the Arctic Circle. It's bordered by the Arctic Ocean and Bearing Sea.

This wouldn't be the first time they've been to the Arctic Circle. In 2007, an episode of "Top Gear" starring Clarkson, May, and Hammond aired and featured the group's successful attempt to be the first people to reach the 1996 position of the North Magnetic Pole (in Canada) in a motor vehicle. It was the first "Top Gear" episode ever aired in high definition and featured Richard Hammond on a dog sled.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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The new Type R set a Suzuka Circuit lap record.

Honda

The new Honda Civic somehow improves on the formula laid out by its numerous predecessors and does so with style, refinement, and value. The Civic Si built on that foundation with a potent turbocharged engine and solid handling, but Honda's not done with the Civic. The automaker just teased the new Civic Type R, and it set records at Japan's Suzuka Circuit during a recent testing session.

The All-New 2023 Type R Achieves Track Record at Suzukawww.youtube.com

The Type R lapped Suzuka Circuit in 2 minutes, 23.120 seconds, a record-breaking lap for a front-wheel drive car. The video features neat telemetry information on-screen during the lap as well, but the real excitement comes later when full specs are revealed.

Honda's been understandably mum on details on the new Type R's powertrain and performance numbers, but the car is expected to carry the same powertrain with its predecessor. The 300-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine made that car a force to be reckoned with, so the 2023 Civic Type R will likely continue carrying that torch.

Honda Civic Type RHonda will fully reveal the car this summer. Honda

Honda will reveal the car in all its glory this summer. As for pricing, the previous car started around $38,000, so the new model should be around there to start. That, of course, is before dealers mark it up and other lucky buyers snap them up for insane resale on an auction site.

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