matt leblanc and chris evans for topgear
Matt LeBlanc was a hit with fans when he joined Top Gear earlier this year BBC

After winning over petrol heads across the globe, Matt LeBlanc has signed a two-series deal to front Top Gear. The former Friends star is expected to take the driver's seat following Chris Evans departure after just one series.

"I am thrilled Matt LeBlanc is returning to Top Gear. He's a huge talent whose love of cars is infectious," BBC Two editor Patrick Holland said. "I can't wait for the series to return to BBC Two next year."

According to the Telegraph, the new contract is worth an estimated £1.5m ($1.9m) and the 49-year-old star negotiated the hosting gig himself. The publication adds that his salary paid through the broadcaster's commercial arm BBC Worldwide. As the actor is currently shooting CBS sitcom, Man With A Plan, the BBC have also agreed to work around filming schedule.

The BBC also confirmed the return of recurring hosts including motor-racing journalists Chris Harris and Rory Reid, German racing car driver Sabine Schmitz, former racing boss Eddie Jordan and The Stig.

Evans was named the main presenter of the Top Gear following the departure of Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond, but it proved an uphill struggle to win over fans. The revamped show was blighted with reports of behind-the-scenes drama and plummeting ratings. Sunday's finale attracted just over 1.9m viewers, a drop of nearly 50% from the first episode of the series' 4.3m.

In July, the Radio 2 DJ quit his post, telling fans that he had tried his best at the helm but it "was not meant to be".

"Stepping down from Top Gear. Gave it my best shot but sometimes that's not enough," he told fans on Twitter. " The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best. Full steam ahead then with Radio 2, CarFest, Children In Need, 500 Words and whatever else we can dream up in the future."

The new series of Top Gear will return to screens in 2017.