The World's Best Taxi Race was featured in the second episode of series twenty of Top Gear. It was staged by Richard Hammond in order to find the world's superior taxi. Seven iconic taxis from seven different nations were assembled for a winner takes all race at the Lydden Hill race circuit. Unlike previous 'scientific races' the winner was the first to cross the finish line instead of the last car standing.
|Great Britain||1997 Fairway Driver||Richard Hammond|
|Mexico||1970 Volkswagen Beetle||Paul O'Neill|
|United States||Ford Crown Victoria||Tom Chilton|
|India||Hindustan Ambassador||Gordon Shedden|
|South Africa||Toyota HI Ace||Matt Jackson|
|Germany||Mercedes E-Class||Matt Neal|
|Russia||Streched Lincoln Town Car||Anthony Reid|
Lining up on the start line, Gordon Shedden lit a incense stick in the cabin of the Hindustan Ambassador next to a figurine of a Sikh god. As the other racing drivers became impatient, beeping their horns in frustration, the race start was signalled. Immediately, Richard Hammond in the black cab lagged behind. Up the front the South African was ignoring Hammond's strict 'no body contact' rule, smashing into the German, American, and Indian taxis.
Hammond becomes further and further behind as the Russian limo struggles for grip in the corners. Hammond takes a shortcut on the hill putting him squarely in the lead. The other drivers were displeased with this tactic and after catching up to Hammond the German driver shunted him off the track and into a demountable building.
With the race at the halfway point, at with no clear winner emerging, the drivers became more violent. The Russian limo rammed the South African taking off his rear door. Richard Hammond was again rammed by the German taxi who pushed his black cab into the door of the Mexican beetle; it's door fell off. The German pushes the Russian limo which causes it to spin out of control. Now parked across the track the American taxi slams into it's side, breaking it in half. The impact destroyed both the Russian limo and the American yellow cab, both out of the race. The South African became unhappy with the relatively unmarked German taxi and pushed it off the track and into a bollard. The taxi spun and landed on it's roof meaning Germany was now out of the running.
Now into the final lap of the race, Hammond takes another shortcut putting him in the lead with only a few corners to go. On the final straight Hammond is overtaken by the remaining drivers with the Hindustan Ambassador in the lead. India's fifty-five year old taxi crosses the line first, officially crowning it as the best taxi in the world. "Nevertheless, the crucible of motorsport has once more given us the answer. As it turns out, the greatest taxi in the world is the Hindustan Ambassador."