Three Men go Digital

Ex Top Gear hosts to launch DriveTribe

The motoring trio embrace the digital age with DriveTribe

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May – better known as the trio who formerly presented “Top Gear” - have partnered with tech entrepreneur Ernesto Schmitt to create DriveTribe, a digital media platform for car enthusiasts.

Commenting on the new venture, Richard Hammond said: “We know we can do, and are doing, and always will do the high-production value long-form TV stuff. That’ll never change, that’s us at heart. But we are doing that, of course, in a world that has now allowed a whole raft of different ways for people to consume their media, not just sitting down and watching beautiful, delicious TV but also bite-sized chunks of media in whatever form many, many times a day, and obviously given our subject being motoring, which is incredibly broad and exciting, especially right now, we figured, well, it’s time to do this, it’s not been done, let’s do it, let’s do it first and let’s do it really, really well: pull the whole subject together for a whole bunch of people all over the world.”

DriveTribe is intended to become the go-to resource for motoring fans the world over and is broken into “tribes,” each with their own identity. Contributions to each tribe will be made by a variety of creatives – including stars, bloggers, writers and videographers, including of course, Clarkson, Hammond and May. Customisation is key and users sign up to those tribes which match their own motoring interests.

“What we are looking to do is build a next-generation vertical that is dedicated to motoring, and that really combines content, social and commerce,” Schmitt said. The content will be produced both by professional content creators, and the users.

Schmitt, who serves as DriveTribe’s CEO, is a serious tech entrepreneur in media and entertainment with previous projects including Beamly - second screen and social television platform - as well as being executive chairman of Invision, which was sold to Intel in 2012.

Interaction is key to the success of the venture and the popular motoring trio are expected to engage with DriveTribe users on a daily basis – similar in many ways to other social media platforms. “We are very excited just to get to grips with this thing. We can’t wait to see it,” Hammond said. “It presents an opportunity to get to a whole lot of people about a subject about which we are incredibly passionate, occasionally knowledgeable, and often quite stupid. Everything we’ve learned about it means we have the opportunity to connect with people many times and in many different ways.”

The platform would be for everybody, he said, just as “Top Gear” appealed to all types of people, young and old, male and female.

DriveTribe currently has an online holding page plus Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, and is set to launch this autumn.

Now – if only the name for the new Amazon TV show was as forthcoming...

By Tracey McBain