Although no release date has been officially set by the BBC, it's safe to say that both gearheads and fans alike have been anxiously waiting for new episodes from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, and the Stig ever since Top Gear last aired the Burma Special on March 16.
Anticipation for the new series has been building up thanks to news and rumors on social media sites dedicated to the quirky car show, which has a passionate global fan base. According to contributor Virnelli Mercader of the Christian Post, the hosts have been seen in Argentina filming an epic road trip that would take them across the Patagonian highway, known locally as Route 40, with a Porsche 928 GT, a Lotus Espirit V8, and a Ford Mustang Mach 1.
However, Top Gear's plans to film a Christmas special in Argentina went terribly wrong and made international headlines. Both the hosts and the crew swiftly left the country and abandoned their cars after an angry mob descended on them, thinking that one of the license plates had an insulting reference to the 1982 Falklands War; executive producer Andy Wilman denied that the plate was not an intentional joke.
"The truth is, however, this is most definitely not the sort of stunt we'd pull," Wilman wrote in a Top Gear blog post. "For starters we would not base a joke around soldiers in conflict. Anybody who knows Top Gear knows how much work the presenters and the show does for Help For Heroes, and in our eyes soldiers are soldiers whatever the uniform."
Wilman later wrote in the blog that Top Gear apologized about the existence of the Porsche license plate in question - H982 FKL - and removed it before entering an Argentinean town.
Controversy in Argentina aside, Carter noted that Clarkson and Hammond had a camera crew with them in Venice, Italy. An unofficial Top Gear fan site called Topgearbox.com stated that Clarkson and Hammond drove from Siena to Rome in an Alfa Romeo 4C and C7 Stingray respectively, which Clarkson later confirmed on Twitter with a photo of his car.
According to an article in the Latin Times, Clarkson confirmed on Twitter that there would be a Top Gear special comparing a McLaren P1 vs. Porsche 918 Spyder. He also wanted to test the LaFerrari as well, but Latin Times noted that the iconic car company is "very particular about offering its halo car to anyone."
Other reports from Topgearbox.com have shown May testing the new Porsche 911 Turbo S at the Top Gear Test Track. The hosts have also been spotted in Darwin, Australia driving a Bentley Continental, a Nissan GTR and BMW M6, quite possibly filming another road trip down under.
Based on photos posted on Topgearbox.com, Clarkson tested both the new C7 Corvette Stingray and the BMW i8 Hybrid, Top Gear shot some film in Russia, and the hosts drove "homemade ambulances" in London. There are even photos of a stage car crash by Clarkson and May in Oxfordshire.
Once the BBC confirms an actual airing date (which is projected to be around Jan. 2015 according to Clarkson on Twitter), UK viewers can start watching new episodes of Top Gear on Sundays at 8 p.m. on BBC Two or online via BBC iPlayer. American fans can find the latest Top Gear episodes airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America.