NBCSN's New Automotive Reality Series Proving Grounds Promises to Test Drive All the Cars—Yes, Even Mom's Minivan

Illustration for article titled NBCSN's New Automotive Reality Series Proving Grounds Promises to Test Drive All the Cars—Yes, Even Mom's Minivan
Photo: JF Musial

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a US broadcaster debut a halfway decent reality show about cars. If you want to see some decent television about the automobile, we usually turn to classics like Top Gear, rather than some of the cringier programs that interpret “reality” to mean “very terribly scripted pseudo-reality”. Well, NBCSN is out here to change that.


On October 21, they’ll be launching a new show called Proving Grounds. The concept is pretty simple: a group of folks who know a thing or two about cars will test drive just about everything they can get their hands on—from your average minivan to luxe European sports cars. They’re out here to push these cars to their absolute limit and run ‘em through an obstacle course, just to see what the hell will happen.

It’s going to be hosted by NASCAR driver and NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman and automotive journalist Sam Smith. Sports Car Champion driver Leh Keen will get behind the wheel of twenty different cars on a custom-built track in Southern California. We’ve got some familiar names here, so we know we’ll be getting some good competition and car knowledge we can trust.

The series is intended to shift us away from the current trends in automotive television and instead give us some rad, fun-loving vibes of the action/adventure shows of the 80s—a vibe you definitely get from watching the trailer. Kligerman sounds appropriately stoked about the whole thing in the official press release:

Proving Grounds combines a few of my favorite things in life, automobiles, adrenaline and some friendly competition in everything from minivans to supercars. It’s ridiculous in all the right ways.

The first season is going to be composed of five half-hour episodes where the hosts test out twenty cars. Among them are a McLaren 720S, a Hellcat, a police cruiser, and the pickup trucks you’d expect to see on any sorta-rural road. It sounds like it’s going to be a pretty good mix of high-performance vehicles paired with your everyday drivers, because who doesn’t want to know how their Prius compares to a Porsche?

It’s debuting on NBCSN on October 21 at 7:30 PM, but the air time differs week to week. For you NASCAR fans out there, they’ll be going on directly after the playoff races in Kansas, Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. For those of you who could care less about NASCAR, well—set your TV up to record it, just in case.

Proving Grounds looks like it’s going to be one hell of a good time. You’re definitely not going to want to miss it.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.


Matt Hardigree

I got to drive that electric baja bug when we were filming, AMA.