Top[ Gear
Friends star Matt LeBlanc has been confirmed as a new present er of Top GearBBC

The BBC has made a surprise choice as to who will join Chris Evans as one of the hosts of the new series of Top Gear: Friends star Matt LeBlanc. The 48-year-old, who holds the record for the fastest celebrity lap of the Top Gear track in their Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment, said he is excited to be part of the "iconic show's new chapter".

Top Gear is set to return to the BBC in May in a new format after its previous main host, Jeremy Clarkson, left when the BBC decided not to renew his contract after he punched a producer over a row about a steak. His co-stars James May and Richard Hammond also decided to leave the show following Clarkson's departure.

LeBlanc's appointment marks the first time the show has ever had a non-British host in its 39-year history. However, the actor best known for playing the part of Joey in the popular NBC sitcom did previously present the standalone spin-off Top Gear: The Races, where he led fans through some of the most memorable racing moments from the previous 22 series.

Evans said of his new Top Gear presenter: "Matt's a lifelong fellow petrolhead and I'm thrilled he's joining Top Gear. Acting out our craziest car notions on screen is a dream job and I know we'll both be debating some epic road trip ideas. We can't wait to share what we've been up to on screen later this year."

LeBlanc commented: "As a car nut and a massive fan of Top Gear, I'm honoured and excited to be a part of this iconic show's new chapter. What a thrill!"

Alan Tyler, the BBC's acting controller for entertainment commissioning, said: "Matt is a class act and a brilliant signing for Top Gear. He is a self-confessed car fanatic with a passion for the programme. I'm really looking forward to watching Chris and Matt bring the all-new show to our audiences."