Chris Evans for Top Gear?
Chris Evans will be the next lead presenter of Top Gear - but no Richard Hammond or James May Reuters

The BBC has announced that Chris Evans is the new presenter of Top Gear, replacing Jeremy Clarkson who was sacked after a "fracas" with a producer.

Evans, who presents BBC Radio 2's Breakfast Show, said he was "thrilled", describing the motoring show as his "favourite programme of all time", and promising: "I promise I will do everything I possibly can to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward."

The BBC announced that there will be an all-new line-up for the BBC2 driving show, meaning that Richard Hammond and James May will not be involved.

Self-confessed petrol-head Evans – who has an impressive collection of super cars – has signed a three-year deal to present the programme. Top Gear is watched by 350m viewers worldwide and is a massive cash cow for the corporation, bringing in an estimated £50m from sales.

The BBC's David Sillito said that while Evans was a household name, Clarkson had a long-running association with Top Gear and his were big shoes to fill.

"Everything about Top Gear was Clarkson, May and Hammond, primarily Clarkson," he said.

"We have no idea who Evans will be filming the new series with. It could be one presenter, two, a whole team, or it could be a different set of presenters every week."

Once the news broke, Evans tweeted: "First tweet as new Top Gear host. I would like to say Jeremy, Richard & James are the greatest. And NO I'm not leaving the R2 Breakfast Show."

And in a statement, he said: "I'm thrilled, Top Gear is my favourite programme of all time.

"Created by a host of brilliant minds who love cars and understand how to make the massively complicated come across as fun, devil-may-care and effortless.

"When in fact of course, it's anything but and that's the genius of Top Gear's global success."

Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four Kim Shillinglaw said she was "delighted" that Evans would be presenting the next series of Top Gear.

"His knowledge of and passion for cars are well known, and combined with his sheer inventiveness and cheeky unpredictability, he is the perfect choice to take our much-loved show into the future," she said.

"Chris is a huge fan of Top Gear and has great respect for the craft and work ethic of one of the best production teams in the world.

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May
James May (left), Jeremy Clarkson (centre) and Ricchard Hammond will present their last Top Gear together on 28 May REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

"He knows the phenomenal attention to detail it takes to make a single sequence of Top Gear, let alone a whole series. He is already full of brilliant ideas and I can't wait for him to get started."

Production on the new series of Top Gear will start in the next few weeks and the BBC said more information would be announced in due course.

Clarkson's final appearance on Top Gear will be shown on 28 June. The episode will be made up of two films shot before Clarkson was suspended, with Hammond and May presenting links from the studio.

The naysayers started an anti-Evans Twitter campaign not long after the announcement.