James has it all. He’s intelligent, classically handsome, articulate and wealthy. Then there’s the career he’s carved out for himself driving the world’s best and most powerful supercars.
We’d almost hate him if he wasn’t so damn charismatic and nice. Something many others agree with if the recent campaign on Twitter, to see him replace departing Top Gear presenter Matt LeBlanc, is anything to go by.
Walker, or to go by his better-known handle @MRJWW, is part of the new school of content creators, or vloggers, disrupting media industry. Uploading his first video to YouTube in October 2016, he’s amassed an impressive 360,000 subscribers.
What is immediately striking about his presentation style is the sheer glee and joy he takes in driving — and who wouldn’t take pleasure in racing a Porsche GT3 across a Welsh beach.
Who better then to kick off our new ‘perfect road trip’ series? We grilled the 31-year-old Brit on his greatest adventures and sought some hints and tips for those wanting to follow in his burnt rubber tracks.
GJ: What was your greatest road trip experience?
I was invited by the government of Ras Al Khaimah — a neighbouring emirate of Dubai — to film a video to promote tourism in the country. I asked them if they had any good roads in the area, what they showed me was beyond my wildest dreams. It was a mountain pass called Jebel Jais. Imagine your quintessential Alpine pass but widen it by three lanes and put it in the baking hot mountains of the Middle East.
To this day I haven’t seen anything quite like it, but what topped it all off was the tourist board allowing us to close the entire road for a whole day of fun and filming. The video reached 2.5 million views so I guess other people shared my enthusiasm for the incredible day and the outstanding road.
GJ: Which car did you take this trip in?
We actually took 3 cars: my friend Ollie Webb in a Ferrari 488 Spider; myself in a McLaren 650S Spider; and Benoit from W Motors in the Lykan Hypersport. The Lykan is the crazy Hypercar from Fast & Furious 7 that jumps through multiple skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi.
GJ: Do you have any travel tips for a road trip?
Good music, good company and great cars. Something magical happens when a strong convoy of special cars is formed, you slip into a bubble, it’s an intangible and difficult feeling to describe but the camaraderie between everyone involved is awesome as you embark on the same adventure together in machines that stimulate every sense, it’s an amazing feeling.
GJ: What is the greatest road you have ever experienced driving?
There is a road just over an hour north of Monaco, deep into the Maritime Alps, called the D2202. It’s not exactly the catchiest name in the world so I christened it the ‘Red Rock Road’ because at the exact moment this stretch of wonderful asphalt gets interesting, the strata and colour of the surrounding rocks and cliffs becomes red.
The construction of this road is breathtaking, it’s predominantly carved out of a monumental gorge, but begins by following a wide river bed flowing with ice blue glacier water. As the road rises up into the mountains it becomes relentlessly tight and twisting but thanks to a unique construction of one-way tunnels, you never encounter on-coming traffic in the pinch points — allowing you to enjoy the beauty and flow. To top it all off, cliffside walls and tunnels are aplenty, so you can constantly enjoy your exhaust tone resonating off the rocks and back into your ears.
GJ: Is there any essential gear you would recommend to anyone planning a road trip?
I swear by Waze as my sat nav, it’s an app on my iPhone and is socially connected so other users alert you to traffic and any other issues way before most other services. It’s also handy because I’m in a different car every day of the week and so my sat nav is the one consistent interface I don’t have to waste time learning how it all works.
If you’re in a group — definitely take Walkie-talkies/radios — not only is it hilarious chatting in a group on ‘walkies’ but they are just so much more convenient than a phone to get a quick message to everyone.
This may sound obvious but a phone charging cable and dash/screen mount for your phone. All that sat-nav usage and inevitable photo taking and social media sharing will kill your battery and most of these awesome roads are in the middle of nowhere.
One last thing, if you’re travelling through France on the main motorways — get a Sanef toll tag, this will save you a lot of time messing around at toll booths and if you’re in a right-hand drive car from the U.K. it will save you the big hassle reaching over your passenger seat or even getting out of the car to collect your ticket!
Worked up a thirst for road trip inspiration? Here is the glamorous Gentleman’s Journal Cannes Festival adventure done in style, and Rolls Royces.