Along with Andy Wilman, the Top Gear producer that left the series to work with Clarkson, Hammond and May at Amazon, they've been quietly working on a project called DriveTribe since December.
The idea behind DriveTribe is to create a one-stop shop for automotive enthusiasts. Company representatives recently told The Verge that they envision DriveTribe being what Twitch is for video games or what TripAdvisor is to those who travel. Or in other words, they want to become the single, massive online destination for motoring enthusiasts.
DriveTribe is initially being funded by Clarkson, Hammond, May and Wilman through a Series A round. Funding amounts weren’t disclosed although CEO Ernesto Schmitt told the publication that it was on par with what you’d expect from a typical Series A (likely in the millions of dollars).
The format of the community will mirror the destination’s overall theme, offering up “tribes” that’ll be led by individual content creators. Each of the three presenters will have their own tribe but you can also expect several additional tribes to emerge.
Tribes sound a lot like today’s individual enthusiast sites. For example, there will almost certainly be tribes for Camaro fans as well as those who prefer Mustangs. Other potential tribes could include those for turbo, supercharger and naturally aspirated enthusiasts. Jeep lovers could have their own tribe, as could individuals that prefer Italian exotics. The possibilities truly are limitless.
Trying to bring together so many niche factions seems like an impossibly daunting task (there’s a reason it hasn’t happened yet) but if anyone can do it, it’s the former Top Gear crew – a trio that’s admired by motoring enthusiasts from all walks of life.
The Verge says DriveTribe already has around 20 employees with plans to expand to around 60 by the end of the year, many of which are working to build the site’s backend. In addition to the three presenters, DriveTribe aims to hire up to 30 full-time staffers. Also key to its success will be its ability to attract bloggers, writers and videographers which DriveTribe would like to have create content for their service rather than Facebook or YouTube.
DriveTribe is expected to launch this fall.