James May: 5 surprising facts about The Grand Tour presenter

Get to know the car enthusiast a little better ahead of the new series.

It won’t be long before The Grand Tour returns to Amazon Prime for its third season, with Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond at the helm.

As we eagerly await the new episodes, we take a look at some fascinating facts about James May.

[Read more: First look at The Grand Tour season 3]

He was sacked from Autocar over a prank

One of James’ early jobs was as features editor for Autocar magazine, which came with the onerous task of putting together the Road Test Yearbook.

James decided to liven things up by including a cheeky acrostic - over the supplement’s pages, the first word of each article spelled out “Road Test Year Book. So you think it's really good, yeah? You should try making the bloody thing up; it's a real pain in the arse."

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Unfortunately, James’ bosses didn’t see the funny side when readers began calling in to ask if they’d won a prize for spotting it, and he was sacked.

He’s a proud cyclist

It might seem strange for someone who is employed on the basis of his petrolhead status, but James is equally keen on vehicles of the two-wheeled variety.

He has spoken about how he has always owned at least one bike since childhood, and likes to use his Brompton folding bicycle for commuting in London – despite the disdain his co-star Jeremy has for cyclists.

James told Bikeradar.com: “I’ve always loathed road sectarianism. We have enough common enemies — potholes, for example — and the roads are a model for a successful, tolerant and liberal society. So I think we should all make an effort to accommodate one another. A lot of ‘motorists' own bikes and a lot of 'cyclists’ also have a car.”

[Read more: The must-watch Amazon Prime originals]

There’s no love lost between him and his co-stars

James, Jeremy and Richard may come as a package deal on TV, but that doesn’t mean they live in each other’s pockets off-camera.

Having called the other two presenters some pretty rude names following the end of their Top Gear gig, James has explained why the chemistry is still there for The Grand Tour.

Talking to the Guardian, he said: “We work because we hate each other. That’s the magic formula. It doesn’t work for bands. I think it works for groups of TV presenters. We get on each other’s t**s massively.”

Asked if they socialised in normal life, he added: “We try not to. That’s a no.”

He’s allergic to his Rolls-Royce

Although he is the proud owner of a 1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche, James can’t often drive it – and when he does, he needs a long, hot bath for the itching to stop.

Explaining his allergy to the Financial Times, he said: “It’s got something to do with the seats. I know someone who’d happily reupholster them but that wouldn’t be very proper. It wouldn’t be as its makers intended.”

He was livid about Clarkson’s ‘fracas’

When Jeremy effectively ended the trio’s run at the BBC by punching a producer after filming one day, James was not the first to jump to his co-star’s defence.

In fact, he was pretty angry, not least because he had just spent nearly a quarter of a million on a bright orange Ferrari thinking that a three-year deal still to be signed with the BBC would pay for it.

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When asked if he was very cross with Jeremy, James told the Daily Mail: “Well, to be honest, yes. Exactly. ‘You daft t*****, have you seen the size of the bill coming my way?’

“Then it all fell apart, but by then I was sort of obliged to have it. The order books were closed but they had squeezed one more in for me, a 458 Speciale.”

The Grand Tour is expected to return to Amazon Prime for its third season later in 2018.

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(Photos: Rex)

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