The 5 Fastest Celebrity Laps In Top Gear History

British car enthusiast show Top Gear made its name by driving and reviewing various cars all the way back since 1977. Along with the show's format over several decades, the hosts have changed over the years with stints from Andy Wilman, Jason Dawe, James May, and Richard Hammond. But the most familiar returning host with the longest tenure on the show was Jeremy Clarkson.  One tweak to the show's format in the early years involved incorporating car-loving celebrity guests to come on the show to talk about their history with cars and to take a stab at going for quick times on Top Gear's test track. What's surprising is which of these stars was the fastest around the track.

It's worth noting that the show's format changed in the final three seasons to allow for a more powerful car. As a result, the stars listed below were all from the final three seasons.

Without further ado, here are the top five celebrities to ever compete on the Top Gear test track!*

5. Matt Baker: 1 minute 38.6 seconds

Matt Baker, who is known for being a British television presenter, wasted no time on the Top Gear test track in 2018 turning in a blazingly fast lap driving the Toyota GT86. The former Blue Peter presenter who worked on the famous children's show from 1999 to 2006, seemed at home on the track as he navigated the carefully designed curves and straights designed by Top Gear to give drivers a true challenge.

In Baker's professional life, he also had stints on BBC One's Countryfile, a popular magazine show, and later went on to cohost The One Show with Alex Jones. He even spent time on the British dancing show Strictly Come Dancing in 2010, coming in second with his professional ballroom dancing partner, Aliona Vilani.

It's surprising to learn that an affable TV presenter could tear it up on the dancefloor and also the Top Gear test track, but that's exactly what he did. 

4. Ross Noble: 1 minute, 37.5 secs

This English stream-of-consciousness comic is known for being all over the place during his stand-up acts, often switching topics on a whim or taking inspiration from random audience members for his jokes. His "crowd work" is top-tier, but his natural inclination to switch subjects sometimes has the crowd begging him to finish stories he's already moved on from. To his credit, when he visited the Top Gear set and test track in 2017, he put all of that away to focus his efforts and lock down a great driving performance to pull off a quick time.

Noble, while being known for his off-the-wall stand-up comedy, has also spent time on panel-style shows like Have I Got News for You and later performed in the comedy horror mashup film, Stitches. As if that wasn't enough, he also won an award for his performance in the West End stage adaptation of Young Frankenstein. Clearly, whether it's on stage, on television, or racing around a track, Ross Noble has what it takes to perform at the top of his game.

3. Stephen Mangan: 1 minute 37.2 seconds

As an actor, comedian, and writer, you might not expect Stephen Mangan to be able to navigate the sharp corners and fast straights of the Top Gear test track, but if he's on this list, you already know he's one of the best celebrities to ever do it. Coming in at one minute 37.2 seconds, he was blazingly fast driving the Toyota GT86 in 2017.

Mangan's list of television and movie credits is long and he's performed with the likes of Nicole Kidman, Keira Knightly, and several other top-tier stars. For four years in a row, he hosted The Evening Standard British Film Awards and also hosted three times for the British Academy Television Craft Awards.

In 2023, Mangan cohosted a British TV series called Worlds Most Dangerous Roads, in which he and cohost Laura Ricote drive through tricky terrain in Australia's outback. Though it wasn't really about driving fast as he did on Top Gear, it gives you an idea that Mangan is not afraid of thrilling driving on difficult terrain.

2. Jay Kay: 1 minute 36.1 seconds

Jay Kay formed the band Jamiroquai back in 1992. As a result of his success with the band and an obsession with driving, it is said that he's owned over 70 cars, many of them exotic and likely very fast. It's no wonder that Kay would join up with Top Gear to talk about his vast car collection and take a stab at going for the best time on the test track in 2017. In fact, he's appeared on the show four times, and got the number one time driving the Suzuki Liana during the earlier iteration of the show: "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car."

A couple years later he returned to the Top Gear track to try his luck with the Chevrolet Lacetti and managed to get the best time again. Top Gear used the Lacetti for the popular segment from 2006-2010 and never once, through 58 drivers, was Kay's time ever beaten in that car. It's no wonder he would be a top competitor on "Star in a Reasonably Fast Car!"

Kay's best time of all came in this latest iteration of the show in 2017. Like all of the drivers in this list, he was driving the Toyota GT86, which put him in the top tier of all celebrities who have ever driven on the show.

1. Chris Hoy: 1 minute 35.4 seconds

Chris Hoy has won 7 medals (6 gold, 1 silver) as an Olympic cyclist for Scotland, so you might wonder how those skills translate to a motor speedway. For Hoy, it obviously translates well with his blistering time on the Top Gear test track in 2017 driving the Toyota GT86. Don't be fooled though, he's spent a lot of time in his post-cycling years on the racetrack, racing in several competitions including the 2015 European Le Mans series and the 2015 Race of Champions.

In 2016, Hoy raised the level of his game and drove in the grueling 24-hour Le Mans race famous the world over for its full day of driving time at high speeds down blocked-off public roads and sections of a racetrack in France. His team only managed to get 18th place, but it's easy to see why Coy had the thirst for trying his luck on the Top Gear track with all that racing experience under his belt. Clearly, the thrill of racing has been a huge part of Hoy's life and we're lucky to have seen him race on Top Gear.