Who Is Tanner Foust?

As part of our coverage of the announcement of the Top Gear USA pilot, we've put together a special feature on each of the three co-hosts. First was Adam Carolla. Next up is Tanner Foust. Nobody is questioning whether Tanner Foust can drive or not; he's already proven himself a pro hot-shoe having won a gold medal at the 2007 X-Games Rally and a championship in the 2007 Formula Drift series. He's also had experience in front of the lens, which is a good start, but will he be able to deliver wit on par with Clarkson, Hammond, and May, or will he be a silent Stig?

Most recently, Foust has been the host of the SPEED Channel's Supercars Exposed, a program all about fast cars. Promising, right? Well, no. The show only scratches the surface of automotive insight, and often comes off as feeling overly drawn-out and tedious. Of course, that's not completely Tanner's fault, but his commentary does lack the spice of his British counterparts. At least he won't be camera shy, as he's also been on ESPN's Import Tuners, and SPEED's Redline TV.

Perhaps it's best to look at Foust as a driver first and foremost — someone who can entertain us by doing big smokin' powerslides. After all, Foust has had most of his professional driving success as someone who can control a car at its limit, and then push it even further. That's what he does as a stunt driver, hooning on the sets of productions such as The Bourne Ultimatum, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and The Dukes of Hazard, as well as on various television shows and commercials. He's probably also got some connections at the rainbow-peacock empire NBC-Universal.

Of course, while doing fancy spins for the camera is all good for paying the mortgage, any serious driver proves himself on the track. Tanner is no exception, having won a gold medal at the 2007 X-Games Rally and a championship in the 2007 Formula Drift series. Okay, so those are both racing series that aren't traditionally considered in the top tier of motorsport, but they demand driver skill nonetheless. Especially when you consider that Foust's X-Games win in his WRX came over the factory Subaru team's Ken Block. Besides, Tanner has raced all over the place, doing open-wheel series, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, winning five Ice Racing championships, competing in the SCORE Baja 1000, setting lap records across the US in time-attack events, and even driving a Scion in the 25-hour endurance race at Thunderhill.

But will this be enough to overcome the cockiness, wit and repertoire we'll expect? We guess we'll have to see.