In a narrow vote on Wednesday, the BBC reports that a local council in Surrey, England approved plans to redevelop Dunsfold Aerodrome and build 1,800 new homes. That name may sound familiar, because Dunsfold Aerodrome is the site of the test track used by Top Gear.
Waverley Borough Council voted 10-8 in favor of redeveloping the airfield, with arguments for the redevelopment being the new jobs and the more affordable homes that would be created on a site that the BBC reports already houses over 100 businesses.
According to the BBC, the airfield will close its runways to be redeveloped as a business park—a plan that’s been whispered about for several years. The Top Gear test track includes the airfield’s main runway and taxiways, meaning that this could be bad news for the show and its leaderboard.
If you’re unfamiliar with Top Gear—or The Grand Tour, since the former Top Gear hosts carried that aspect over to their new show—you may be thinking that other than some television nostalgia, losing a test track isn’t that big of a deal. But the problem is that all of the cars are tested by the same driver on the same track for experimental control, and losing the track where the show has tested cars for nearly two decades really throws that control out of whack.
Top Gear has been using Dunsfold Aerodrome since the beginning of its first relaunched season with Jeremy Clarkson in 2002. For the reasons above, the show kept using that same test track when its new group of hosts came into the studio.
Jalopnik has reached out to both the Waverley Borough Council and the BBC for comment on redevelopment plans and the plans for the show, and will update if we hear back. Since it is nearly midnight in England at the time of this writing, expect it to be a few hours.
Hat tip to Grand Tour Nation!