Jeremy Clarkson, a man who has never, ever in his life exaggerated about anything ever, threw out a totally believable number today. In a new ad for The Grand Tour, he said that they collectively drove 1,474,546,320 miles over the course of filming the first season.
Because we always accept everything that Clarkson says as gospel—including numbers—we whipped out our TI-84s to break this figure down, since some of you still seem to have the nerve to question Clarksonian claims.
There were a few pieces of information that we didn’t readily have on hand, such as how many people did the driving and how long filming season one went on for.
So, for the sake argument and for science, we defined the range as one year and assumed that the only driving done by anybody during filming was by Clarkson, Hammond and May. All in equal amounts.
365 days in a year and 24 hours a day means 8,760 hours in a year.
1,474,546,320 divided up between the three hosts means each of them drove 491,515,440 miles in that year.
491,515,440 miles ÷ 8,760 hours = 56,109 MPH.
They would have to travel at 56,109 MPH for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for one year, to achieve Clarkson’s 1,474,546,320-mile figure.
For the record, that’s Mach 73.
To put things into perspective, here are some numbers that NASA deals with:
As a spacecraft re-enters the earth’s atmosphere, it is traveling very much faster than the speed of sound. The aircraft is said to be hypersonic. Typical low earth orbit re-entry speeds are near 17,500 mph and the Mach number M is nearly twenty-five, M < 25. The chief characteristic of re-entry aerodynamics is that the temperature of the flow is so great that the chemical bonds of the diatomic molecules of the air are broken. The molecules break apart producing an electrically charged plasma around the aircraft. The air density is very low because re-entry occurs many miles above the earth’s surface. Strong shock waves are generated on the lower surface of the spacecraft.
In other words, perfectly good conditions for a human being driving in a car.
Additional arithmetic performed by David Tracy.