Chris Evans unveils Matt LeBlanc as Top Gear co-host!

Former Friends star Matt LeBlanc is to be one of the new presenters of Top Gear when the motoring programme returns to BBC Two in May.

The US actor will be the show's first non-British host in its 39-year history.

"Matt's a lifelong fellow petrolhead and I'm thrilled he's joining Top Gear," said Chris Evans of his new co-presenter.

Additional Top Gear cast members will be confirmed shortly, the BBC said.

"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," said LeBlanc. "What a thrill!"

The 48-year-old is best known for his role as Joey Tribbiani in Friends and has more recently been seen, as himself, in BBC Two sitcom Episodes.

"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," continued Evans in a statement.

"We can't wait to share what we've been up to on screen later this year."

LeBlanc has twice appeared on Top Gear on its popular "star in a reasonably priced car" segment and holds the record for the fastest ever celebrity lap.

Alan Tyler, the BBC's acting controller for entertainment commissioning, called LeBlanc "a class act and a brilliant signing".

Image captionLeBlanc has appeared in Episodes alongside Tamsin Greig (left) and Stephen Mangan

Evans was named as Top Gear's new host last year after the BBC opted not to renew Jeremy Clarkson's contract in the wake of his much-publicised "fracas" with a Top Gear producer.

Clarkson subsequently signed up with streaming service Amazon Prime to present a new motoring show with Richard Hammond and James May, his former Top Gear co-presenters.

Tabloid editor turned broadcaster Piers Morgan is among those to have welcomed LeBlanc's appointment, calling him "a brilliant choice [with] huge global recognition"on Twitter.

LeBlanc himself hinted at his new role on Wednesday, telling his Twitter followers he had "very cool news coming in the next day or so".

Last year the actor presented Top Gear: The Races, a stand-alone spin-off made for BBC Store, the corporation's digital download service.

According to the BBC, he will join production of the new series of Top Gear "immediately".

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