Recombu Cars gives the lowdown on exactly who will be presenting Top Gear alongside Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc.
In case you hadn’t heard, Series 23 of Top Gear will be a bit special. It will be the first since the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.
Clarkson punched a producer and once the news reached the press his days were numbered, putting Top Gear‘s survival into jeopardy.
But then just as Clarkson, Hammond, May and Wilman were snapped up by Amazon to create a 36-episode, three-season motoring show, the BBC announced Chris Evans was taking the lead role for three years. Top Gear is about to have another fresh start in its 39-year history.
So just who is Chris Evans? What do we know about the other presenters? Given Evans officially announced who will join him on the new Top Gear during his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show, we decided to investigate.
Chris Evans (Clarkson’s replacement)
Not to be confused with the Hollywood star who plays Captain America in the Marvel movies, Chris Evans is famous for the talk show TFI Friday, which was recently brought back to life, and his radio show The Big Breakfast that made him a regular fixture on radio and TV.
The 49-year-old, who was born in Warrington in the North West of England, owns a collection of white Ferraris among many other exotic machines. He reportedly became a millionaire at the age of 33, largely thanks to his production company Ginger Productions, which produced TFI Friday. He also bought Virgin Radio from Richard Branson and made himself a tidy profit of £75 million when he sold it three years later.
In a Top Gear interview, Clarkson said to Evans: “You’re not going to get my old job, just so you know.” Funny how these things turn out. To be fair, Evans himself categorically ruled out the new Top Gear presenter role.
Will Evans be any good?
There’s no disputing his ability to present and his upbeat, chatty nature has earned him a legion of fans, plus he really likes his cars.
Matt LeBlanc (not Joey)
Matt LeBlanc really only needs an introduction if you spent the nineties under a very large, immovable rock. He played ladies’ man Joey Tribbiani in the NBC sitcom Friends, which was endlessly repeated on Channel 4 for many, many years.
There was an attempt to continue his character in the spin-off Joey, which crashed and burned, but he bounced back in the BBC series Episodes, in which he plays himself as a has-been actor. He ended up winning a Golden Globe for Best Actor in the show, which is in its fifth (and potentially last) season.
Evans brought in LeBlanc to give the new Top Gear worldwide appeal, but he’s not the only person sniffing around, as the 48-year-old has been linked to an American comedy show called I’m Not Your Friend.
LeBlanc is no stranger to Top Gear as he was a Star in the Reasonably Priced Car segment. He actually posted the fastest lap time and is still the current record holder, putting Blackadder and Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson in second place.
Will LeBlanc be any good?
He’s a charismatic, supercar-collecting chap who loves cars as much as Joey loved female attention and his presence will make Top Gear more appealing for the ladies out there who are forced to spend their Sunday watching a show on cars. Could be a winner.
Rory Reid (the Recombu guy)
Recombu regulars will know Rory Reid, as will anyone who watched Gadget Geeks on Sky. The 36-year-old journalist, broadcaster and presenter from South London started Recombu Cars, which is the newest part of Recombu (an portmanteau of Read, Compare, Buy). Reid was also a presenter of the YouTube channel Fast, Furious and Funny.
The father of two likes hummus (for some reason) and described himself as the lovechild of Idris Elba (famous for his role in the BBC show Luther) and Jeremy Clarkson (you know who that is).
He actually started out his career in journalism on a computer magazine, before heading to technology website CNET and later had a stint as a technology correspondent on BBC Radio 5 Live. Reid actually applied for Top Gear as part of the public auditions. His daily driver is a pink Ford Focus. Okay, so we lied about the colour.
Will Reid be any good?
If you like his videos on Recombu Cars or any of his previous work, the answer is a resounding yes. He’s a smart cookie, clearly loves cars and knows his stuff.
Eddie Jordan (the F1 dude)
Eddie Jordan is the oldest Top Gear presenter, at 67 years old, and is said to have been a friend of Evans for decades. He is a former Formula One team owner ─ Jordan, if you hadn’t already guessed ─ and a BBC Formula One pundit (before they sacked off the coverage to save money) so his expertise of motorsport will be second to none.
His first sniff of petrolhead life came when he moved to Jersey. Here he became hooked on karting, which led to his involvement in Formula Ford, Formula Atlantic, Formula 3, Formula 2 and then Le Mans. In 1980 he setup his own team, which gave the late Ayrton Senna and Damon Hill their first drives ─ both of whom went onto become world champions.
In more recent times he was given an honourary OBE for his charity and motor racing contributions. He owns a £32million yacht and a collection of loud shirts.
Will Jordan be any good?
He knows his stuff, but there’s more to Top Gear than car knowledge, as Quentin Wilson proves. If his tenure covering the F1 proved one thing it’s the fact he always speaks his mind — something the Top Gear audience will appreciate.
Sabine Schmitz (the pro driver)
The Beeb has employed just one woman on Top Gear, going against rumours Suzi Perry would be another regular. Luckily the one lady we will get is more than capable of making grown men cry with her driving skills. Or at least make them very car sick, as Evans found the hard way when filming the new Audi R8.
Schmitz is aged 46 and became famous in the UK after driving around the Nurburgring in a Ford Transit van in just over ten minutes on an episode of Top Gear. Besides being a driver of the ‘Ring Taxi’, Schmitz has been a host on a number of German motoring shows and was the overall winner of the 24 hours Nurburgring in 1996 and 1997.
Will Schmitz be any good?
She’s a beast behind the wheel, seems comfortable on camera and, dare we say it, easy on the eye for male viewers (come on, it’s acceptable if girls can say it about LeBlanc, surely?).
Chris Harris (Monkey)
YouTube regulars will know Chris Harris (AKA ‘Monkey’). After stints on some of the UK’s biggest motoring publications and a series in partnership with /Drive, the 41-year-old started his own YouTube channel, Chris Harris on Cars, which shows him putting various supercars through their paces.
He once risked financial ruin when he decided to buy a Ferrari FF (the finance repayments were £1,500 a month and the deposit was a mere £45,000) and calls Wales his home. He’s NOT related to Rolf Harris, in case you were going to ask. But he is a self-confessed fan of the YouTube video model, going as far as saying “I don’t really want to move to the ‘other’ platform: television”, except, it seems, if the show was Top Gear.
Although loved by many petrolheads, some car manufacturers have been less keen. He ended up getting himself banned from reviewing Ferraris after calling the Italian brand “profoundly irritating” because of its need to be the best in any car test. He also upset Lamborghini, calling them ‘the perfect cars for people who can’t drive’, adding that the future of the company was ‘bleak’. Ferrari has since made up with Harris. Lamborghini, on the other hand…
Will Harris be any good?
Almost certainly. His videos on YouTube are watched and loved by many and his enthusiasm and knowledge of cars most can only dream of owning is second to none.