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‘Top Gear’ Hosts’ DriveTribe Nabs $6.5 Million Investment From 21st Century Fox

Digital home for car enthusiasts gets big infusion thanks to lucrative auto ad marketplace

Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate 21st Century Fox has invested $6.5 million in digital start-up DriveTribe, a site devoted to car culture co-created by former “Top Gear” stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May; their producer Andy Wilman; and tech entrepreneur Ernesto Schmitt.

Fox’s investment comes on top of the $5.5 million that DriveTribe raised a mere two weeks ago.

Clarkson was dismissed from the BBC’s “Top Gear” in 2015 after punching a producer in the face, with May and Hammond following voluntarily shortly thereafter.

We knew there was life after “Top Gear” for Clarkson, May and Hammond when Amazon ordered a series from the three — “The Grand Tour,” which will debut this fall on Amazon’s streaming service. But DriveTribe is a more intensive, long-term project.

The site will be like a cross between a social media network and an upscale YouTube for gearheads, with enthusiasts sorting themselves into various “tribes” — similar to YouTube channels — headed up by Clarkson, May and Hammond. Other vloggers, chosen by the founders, will get opportunities to head up tribes of their own.

Clarkson’s “tribe” is called “Alfa Male.” Hammond’s is “Hammond’s Fob Jockeys.” May’s is “James May’s Carbolics.”

“Some of the world’s most endangered tribes — Volvo enthusiasts, for example — will now have a voice as loud as everyone else’s,” May quipped on the DriveTribe site.

Fox knows that there’s big money in car culture. Automakers are some of the biggest ad spenders around: In 2016, U.S. car companies will shell out $8.71 billion on digital advertising, according to eMarketer, a total that will balloon to $14.14 billion in 2020. So creating a digital entity that pledges to serve as a home for people who are already inclined to spend on cars is plain smart business.