Following the ‘fracas’ involving Jeremy Clarkson and one of the show’s producers, the line-up of Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May left the show. With the huge popularity over the trio of Clarkson, May and Hammond, there was much debate over who would replace them on the world’s biggest motoring entertainment show. Chris Evans was the first host to be announced in June 2015, with Matt LeBlanc the next to be confirmed on 4th February 2016. The rest of the line-up was revealed on the 11th February which included Sabine Schmitz, Eddie Jordan, Rory Reid and Chris Harris. Here’s what you need to know about the new presenters.
Chris Evans was hotly tipped to become one of the new presenters of Top Gear following the departure of Clarkson, Hammond and May. Being one of the country’s most high-profile presenters, he was seen as an obvious choice by having a well-known interest in cars. Evans was the first host to be announced to little surprise following months of speculation, signing a three-year deal to lead the new line-up. Over the year, he has bought a number of expensive, fast cars, including a 1961 250 GT Spyder California SWB formerly owned by US actor James Coburn, for the then world record price of €6.4 Million.
Matt LeBlanc is known by most people for his role as Joey in the American TV sitcom, Friends. More recently, he has been on our screens with another show called Episodes, in which he received a Golden Globe award in 2012 for his performance as a fictionalised version of himself. However, away from the small screen, LeBlanc has a fierce passion for cars, evidenced by being the fastest celebrity to go round the Top Gear track. Following this, he hosted a standalone spin-off episode, The Races, where he led fans through some of the most memorable racing moments from the previous 22 series. He is the first non-British host in the programme's 39-year history.
Sabine Schmitz is a German professional racing driver for BMW and Porsche. She has previously guest appeared on Top Gear a number of times and became a firm favourite with fans. One episode saw her attempting to beat Clarkson’s N?rburgring track time, set in a Jaguar S-Type diesel, by doing the lap in a van, which she narrowly failed to do. Sabine was the first woman to win the prestigious 24 hours Nurburgring in 1996, and repeated the feat a year later. She currently continues to race and runs her own race team.
Eddie Jordan is an Irish former motorsport team boss. He ran his own Formula One team and founded the Jordan Grand Prix, a Formula 1 constructor that competed from 1991 to 2005 and launched the careers of Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine. Recently, he has been the lead analyst for Formula One coverage on the BBC until 2015, when Channel 4 took over the rights. Eddie will bring a great deal of knowledge and insight from the world of motorsport.
Rory Reid is a motoring journalist and possibly the least known presenter to be announced, winning his place on the new line-up through open auditions where he sent in a 30 second video. He has presented the YouTube channels Fast, Furious & Funny and Recombu, where he publishes reviews of cars, amassing a dedicated online following. Rory promises to bring a mix of ‘knowledge, energy and humour’. Reid has also presented Sky 1’s Gadget Geek, as well as assisting on Saturday Edition on BBC Radio 6, talking about the latest tech and quirky stories on the web. He will definitely bring a new style to Top Gear.
This is another lesser known presenter to be added to the line-up. Chris Harris is a motoring journalist and racing driver. Harris has worked as a writer, reviewer and editor for a number of automotive titles, including Autocar and Evo. Additionally, Chris has presented a number of television and YouTube shows, including DRIVE channel and his own series, Chris Harris on Cars, which has amassed over a quarter of a million subscribers, having only been launched in 2014. He’s also not afraid to be controversial, having been banned from driving Ferraris after slating the company's PR machine, and writing an article titled "Lamborghinis Are The Perfect Cars For People Who Can't Drive." Possibly one to fill Clarkson‘s rather large shoes.