A-Listers Take Turns With Driving Instructor

Drew Barrymore just followed Justin Bell's script on Jay Leno's racetrack.

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Friday, Nov 13, 2009  |  Updated 1:34 PM CDT
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Meet the Driving Instructor to the Stars

He's even taught Rush Limbaugh to turn left.
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If parallel parking and checking your mirrors don't count for much on the driving test, this is the guy you want for an instructor.

He's British race car driver Justin Bell.

Bell, who won the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GT2 class, is the driving instructor for "Green Car Challenge," a new segment on "The Jay Leno Show."

The "Green Car Challenge" places celebrities in a prototype electric Ford Focus. Serena Williams, Rush Limbaugh and Steve Carell are some of the stars who have turned out times on the compact track in Burbank.

It's not a surprise to Bell that the female tennis star served up the best lap at :55.84. Carell finished in :57.8.

"Driving is actually a very sensitive, balanced, gentle thing." Bell said. "Racing's when we kind of get all manly, but driving is actually very delicate. That's why women have proven, in my experience, to become the better drivers."

Limbaugh crossed the line in 1:29. We should note the track is a road course, meaning the driver must go right and left without rambling way off track.

"People rush into the corners to fast," Bell said. "The secret to driving is rushing out of them."

Bell said Drew Barrymore was easiest to teach.

Why?

"She listened," Bell said.

Bell said the segment and its true star -- the Focus -- make a point about performance.

"It's fast, it's sexy, it's fun," Bell said. "I think it's very important. We're running on maybe a dollar a show on energy consumption.
I think we're proving a point."

The segment resembles the show Top Gear. The BBC program/programme places "a star in a reasonably priced car" -- a Chevrolet Lacetti -- to see what they can do on a test track.

Top Gear's driving instructor, the Stig, wears a crash helmet and racing suit at all times. Some say he was "forged out of steel and fire in the devil's own pit garage."

All we know is Leno appeared on a Top Gear segment that featured Honda's fuel cell electric Clarity. He also got behind the wheel on Top Gear's test track.
 

 

And then there's this timely segment titled, "Communist Cars."

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