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Confirmed: Matt LeBlanc will host the next series of Top Gear (without Chris Evans)

Matt LeBlanc will host the next series of Top Gear (without Chris Evans)

Confirmed: Matt LeBlanc will host the next series of Top Gear (without Chris Evans)

Actor Matt LeBlanc has signed a deal with the BBC to host the next two series of Top Gear – without help from Chris Evans, who stood down from the show after just one series.

Chris Harris and Rory Reid will continue to front BBC Three show Extra Gear, while Eddie Jordan, Sabine Schmitz and The Stig will still make regular appearances.

In a statement issued this morning, BBC Two’s channel editor, Patrick Holland, said: “I am thrilled that Matt LeBlanc is returning to Top Gear. He’s a huge talent whose love of cars is infectious. I can’t wait for the series to return to BBC Two next year.”

The show – dubbed Flop Gear by some disappointed fans – saw ratings drop during the last series to an all-time low of 1.9 million viewers.

“Matt was hugely popular with Top Gear viewers last series with his humour, warmth and obvious passion for cars and for the show,” added Mark Linsey, BBC Studios director.

“I couldn’t be more delighted that he’s agreed to come back and do more for us.”

LeBlanc, who is known for playing Joey in Friends, caused outrage earlier in the year when he was spotted doing donuts in a Mustang close to the Cenotaph in Central London.

At the time, Chris Evans had to issue an apology for the stunt.

The show will be taking on Jeremy Clarkson’s new show, The Grand Tour, which is due to air on Amazon Prime’s on-demand service in November.

Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?In November, we’ll finally get to see Clarkson, Hammond and May in The Grand Tour. Which got us thinking: if the relative merits of Top Gear or The Grand Tour were judged on the strength of the cars owned by the current presenters, which one would win? Forget ratings, this is what matters. We selected four cars for each presenter and formed a list.

Jeremy Clarkson: Ford Escort RS CosworthTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

“One of my all time favourite cars”, is how Jezza summed up the Ford Escort Cosworth, a car he did “most things in and with” in the early 90s. “Why doesn’t Ford make stuff like this today?” questioned Clarkson at the turn of the millennium. Sixteen years on, it’s fair to say Ford does: the Fiesta ST and Focus RS are up there with the best of them.

James May: Rolls-Royce CornicheTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

You might remember James May’s 1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche which appeared alongside Jezza’s Mercedes-Benz Grosser in an episode of Top Gear. “Frankly if you have £25,000 to spend on classic luxury and you don’t buy one of these, you’re an imbecile,” is what May said at the time. And, right on cue, Clarkson wafts into view in a huge slice of Stuttgart.

Richard Hammond: Morgan AeromaxTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

The Hamster bought his Morgan Aeromax in 2009 and said “I can’t stop looking at it, driving it and thinking about it.” Later that year, he was involved in an accident in which he drove into the back of a Nissan. Hammond sold the Aeromax in 2011, before it was put up for sale again in 2014.

Chris Harris: Ferrari 512 TRTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Chris Harris has owned not one but two Ferrari 512 TRs, breaking one of his own car-buying rules by revisiting an old motor. Of his second purchase in 2013 – a 56,000-mile 512 TR – Harris said on PistonHeads: “you buy it with your eyes open and, frankly, hope for the best”. This will chime with anyone who has bought a secondhand performance car.

Matt LeBlanc: Porsche 911 GT2 RSTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Matt LeBlanc famously set the fastest time around the Top Gear Test Track, with 1:42.1 making him the fastest star in a reasonably priced car. Strong credentials when you’re in the running to take over as host of the world’s most popular motoring show. In a radio interview, LeBlanc said the Porsche 911 GT2 RS is the best car he has ever owned, but did claim the car scared him. For him, “nothing comes off the apex like a rear-engined car”.

Eddie Jordan: BMW M235iTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

In an interview with the BBC, the man with the loud trousers said his current car is a BMW M235i. When asked what car he’d buy to last the rest of his life, Jordan said: “Actually, I adore my little 235i, I think it’s the greatest car I’ve ever had.” Praise indeed.

Sabine Schmitz: Porsche 997 GT3 RSTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

As you’d expect, the ‘Queen of the Nurburgring’ has access to some of the fastest track cars on the planet and is a huge fan of all things German. Of all the cars she has owned, we reckon a hot lap in her Porsche 997 GT3 RS would be the most exhilarating. Schmitz admitted that thousands of people have thrown up after being in her ‘Ring Taxi.

Rory Reid: Hyundai Sante FeTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Social media sensation turned Top Gear hero Rory Reid has owned some rather interesting cars, but his current motor is a tad more sensible: a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe. Reid told us it’s “fully murdered out: black paint, black alloys, black windows”. He said he bought it because he “needed something sensible for the family – I have two young children and a third on the way”.

Jeremy Clarkson: Ferrari F355Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

“This is the nicest car I have ever, ever driven”, said Clarkson when reviewing the Ferrari F355 on Top Gear. Little wonder, then, that Jezza spent over £90,000 to order one new from the factory. It arrived six months later and, during an episode of Clarkson’s Car Years he said “it can still electrocute every nerve ending… in my body”.

James May: Porsche 911 3.2 CarreraTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Having decided he wanted something “a bit more fruity” than his Bentley and Range Rover, James May went out and bought a Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera. The screen price was £16,955, although he managed to knock £1,250 off the price and negotiated a pair of new inner arches. He claimed it was the first 911 he saw and buying it “was easy”.

Richard Hammond: Ford Mustang GT 390Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Of his Ford Mustang GT 390, Hammond said: “The thing simply looks good and makes me feel a bit warm in the trousers”. Of the noise, he said “you either love the sound of a V8, or there’s something oddly wrong with you”.

Chris Harris: BMW M5 E28Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

“It’s the best money I’ve spent on a car,” said Chris Harris when waxing lyrical about his 1986 BMW M5. He loves the engineering, the fact that it was hand-built and the fact that it feels as quick now as it did in 1986. What makes his M5 all the more special is that it’s “a bit scruffy around the edges” and is certainly no trailer queen.

Matt LeBlanc: Fiat X1/9Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

When asked about his biggest mistake he’s made in a car, Matt LeBlanc told Top Gear: “I put the wrong plugs in my Fiat X1/9 and it ran like s**t. Took me a while to realise why.”

Eddie Jordan: Saab 99Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

We know that Eddie Jordan rates the BMW M235i as the best car he has ever owned, but what about the worst? That honour falls to the Saab 99, about which he said: “It didn’t have a brake pedal as such, it had a little ball, and if you put your foot on the ball, it slowed. It was the most ridiculous thing ever.” It’s fair to say he didn’t like the 99.

Sabine Schmitz: Ford Ranger WildtrakTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

When Sabine isn’t terrorising people on the Nurburgring, you’ll find her looking after her horses on her huge farm in rural Germany. For this she uses her “very practical” Ford Ranger Wildtrak.

Rory Reid: 1988 YugoTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

We said Rory Reid has owned some ‘interesting’ cars. He told us his 1988 Yugo was “reddish orange” in colour and that it “broke down all the time”. It featured a “very loud” Beetle exhaust and, when the car wasn’t working, he simply jumped in his 1984 Volkswagen Polo. His worst car? According to Reid, that would be a 1995 Hyundai Accent.

Jeremy Clarkson: Mercedes-Benz 600 GrosserTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

In 1963, the Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser was the most expensive car in the world, driven by only the wealthiest and the most powerful. According to Clarkson, the Grosser cemented Mercedes’ reputation for engineering integrity. Of all the cars Jezza has owned, this one could be the best.

James May: Ferrari 458 SpecialeTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

James May ordered his Ferrari 458 Speciale before the infamous ‘fracas’ led to the downfall of the what we now refer to as old(ish) Top Gear. Having failed to cancel the order when he became ‘suddenly unemployed’, he pressed ahead with the purchase of the last ever Ferrari 458 Speciale, in dark blue. But then, in a last minute change of heart, he ordered it in bright orange.

Richard Hammond: Dodge Charger R/TTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

In case you haven’t guessed, Richard Hammond loves a classic American car. Along with a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, he also bought a 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 during series 18 of Top Gear.

Chris Harris: Citroen AX GTTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

You might associate Chris Harris with big, powerful supercars, often accompanied by a cloud of tyre smoke. But he’s also a bit partial to small French cars, owning the likes of a Peugeot 205 XS, Citroen 2CV and a Citroen AX GT. His “completely standard” AX GT was purchased from a fellow motoring journalist.

Matt LeBlanc: Ferrari 360 ModenaTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

In a radio interview with Chris Evans, Matt LeBlanc said that although Ferraris are “great cars”, he much prefers to drive a Porsche, claiming the cars are “the most practical, real-world supercars”. LeBlanc bought a 2000 Ferrari 360 Modena and immediately added black five-spoke alloy wheels. Later, he traded it in for a Ferrari 458 Italia.

Eddie Jordan: F1 teamTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Does this trump them all? Why restrict yourself to cars when you can own an entire F1 team? Eddie Jordan Racing was founded in the early 1980s and raced in F1 from 1991 to 2005. In 2014, Jordan sold his collection of racing cars and memorabilia to raise money for charity.

Sabine Schmitz: John DeereTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Sabine Schmitz posted this photo on Facebook, saying: “Warm up for the WTCC on my John Deere, I didn’t use 4 wheel drive today.” Turns out Sabine’s life is one of horsepower and, er, horse power.

Rory Reid: Vauxhall Astra GTETop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Rory Reid has owned not one, but two Vauxhall Astra GTEs, including a 1987 Mk2 16v. It was “modified with an aftermarket exhaust”, but the ABS didn’t work, a fact Reid found out the hard way when an attempt at an emergency stop resulted in “me careering straight through a junction”. Fortunately for Reid, he didn’t hit anything.

Jeremy Clarkson: Lamborghini Gallardo SpyderTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Jeremy Clarkson is a big fan of the old Volvo XC90, having owned three of them. He also owned a Ford GT, which he sold to buy a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.

James May: BMW i3Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

James May’s ownership of a Fiat Panda has been well documented and was often referenced during episodes of Top Gear. Sadly, ‘Captain Slow’ has since sold his Panda, and can now be seen pootling about London in an electric BMW i3.

Richard Hammond: Opel KadettTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Richard Hammond fell in love with ‘Oliver’ the Opel Kadett during the filming of the Botswana special. He drove the Kadett A across the spine of Africa, with the only problem occuring when he drove the car into a river. Once filming was complete, Hammond had it shipped over to the UK.

Chris Harris: BMW M3 E30Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Chris Harris has an enviable back catalogue of motors past and present, including a 1990 BMW M3 E30. Other gems include a ‘soft dash’ first generation Range Rover Vogue SE, a Mercedes-Benz W124 E320 convertible and a Range Rover 5.0 Autobiography.

Matt LeBlanc: Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMGTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Quite clearly, Matt LeBlanc likes nothing more than hooning about in a Porsche or Ferrari, and he’s certainly got the skills required to drive them properly. But when a little more comfort and practicality is required, LeBlanc climbs aboard a Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG.

Eddie Jordan: Sunseeker 155Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

In 2014, Eddie Jordan took delivery of a Sunseeker 155 for a reported £32 million. The yacht, named Blush, was the biggest project undertaken by the famous luxury yacht builder. It can cover 4,500 miles on a tank of fuel, although you’ll need deep pockets to fill the tank.

Sabine Schmitz: Fendt tractorTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

From a yacht to a tractor – the current presenters of Top Gear have eclectic tastes. Sabine Schmitz owns a Fendt tractor.

Rory Reid: Ford Focus EcoBoostTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Rory Reid says the Ford Focus EcoBoost is a great car with a great engine, but is quick to criticise the “terrible fuel economy”, claiming “you’d be lucky to get 30mpg.” Having watched the last series of Top Gear, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Rory Reid behind the wheel of a Focus RS. Or maybe a Mustang. The V8, of course.

The Grand TourTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

Which brings us to the end of this Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour special. We’ve selected a small number of cars for each presenter and it’s hard to pick a winner. We’ll let you be the judge of that…

Top GearTop Gear vs. The Grand Tour: which presenters had the best cars?

The Grand Tour will premiere on Amazon Prime on 18th November 2016, while Top Gear will return to our screens without Chris Evans at the helm. Let the ratings war commence.

 

James May caught speeding within minutes of buying new motorbike

James May caught speeding minutes after buying new motorbike

James May caught speeding within minutes of buying new motorbike

Ex-Top Gear host James May has revealed that he was caught speeding on his new motorbike, just moments after picking it up from a London dealership.

May, who was given the nickname ‘Captain Slow’ by fellow presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, collected the Honda CBR600RR from a main dealer in West London last month.

The 599cc bike was clearly too much for the presenter to handle – as he was snapped by a speed camera exceeding the 30mph limit just down the road from the dealership.

Unashamed by the blunder, May tweeted a map of the location where he was caught – and mocked a customer testimonial for a speed awareness cause that described it as ‘excellent’.

The Honda CBR600RR will hit 62mph in less than 3.0 seconds and can hit more than 155mph.

It’s not clear how fast May was going when he was caught by the camera, but speed awareness courses are only usually offered if you’re caught driving over 10% plus 2mph of the limit, but below 10% plus 9mph. That means, in a 30mph limit, May must have been travelling below 42mph.

It’s believed he blamed the error on the road previously having a 40mph speed limit – but he reportedly was braking by the time the speed camera caught him.

May will be starring in his new series, The Grand Tour, alongside Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson from autumn.

It’s not known whether his Captain Slow nickname will remain – there are rumours that it remains trademarked to the BBC.

Begging, blackmailing and flirting: how US fans are trying to get Grand Tour tickets

Begging, blackmailing and flirting: how U.S. Grand Tour fans are trying to get tickets

Begging, blackmailing and flirting: how US fans are trying to get Grand Tour tickets

As part of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May’s new show, The Grand Tour, the ex-Top Gear trio will be touring the world and presenting in front of live studio audiences.

On Friday, The Grand Tour announced it would be filming in Southern California – and all fans had to do was apply via this link and answer a few simple questions to be in the crowd.

Over the weekend, Amazon was bombarded with applications to see the show, with applications received from all 50 US states.

But many fans are taking to Twitter to try to convince the hosts to give them tickets… with some taking extreme measures.

Some are trying to bribe Clarkson with wine, and US presidency nominations…

While others are even resorting to flirting:

And some went a step too far:

But a lot of Canadians are feeling left out:

Amazon Video EU’s VP, Jay Marine, said: “The anticipation is definitely high for The Grand Tour. We knew Jeremy, Richard and James had a large following in America, but the response has far exceeded our expectations. We could film a show every day for the next 6 months and would still not have enough tickets to satisfy the demand.

“Chosen US customers will be contacted over the coming weeks with ticketing details, and all Prime members can look forward to seeing The Grand Tour this Autumn when it launches exclusively on Prime Video.”

The £160 million show will be available to watch exclusively on Amazon Prime, with fans having to pay £79 a year to watch it.

Jeremy Clarkson: "I had the worst hangover ever..."

Jeremy Clarkson: "I had the worst hangover ever…"

Jeremy Clarkson: "I had the worst hangover ever..."

A teaser clip for The Grand Tour has been released showing Jeremy Clarkson talking candidly about the time he was a rally co-driver with ‘the worst hangover ever’.

The Grand Tour: what we know so far

In the clip, which shows Clarkson, Hammond and May chatting in a quarry, the ex-Top Gear host describes praying for something to go wrong with the rally car to get him out of the race.

As the flag was lifted, there was an almighty bang and Clarkson diagnosed the problem as a failed driveshaft – something he has ‘no idea’ if true.

The clip is the third in a series of short teasers for the new Amazon Prime show, set to be launched in the UK this autumn.

Other clips show Jeremy Clarkson discussing Richard Hammond’s underwear, and laughing at a seemingly-broken hired Range Rover.

Clarkson is no stranger to controversy, including an incident in 2008 when he was shown drinking a G&T while driving a truck during a polar special.

Jeremy Clarkson: "I had the worst hangover ever..."

Jeremy Clarkson: “I had the worst hangover ever…”

Jeremy Clarkson: "I had the worst hangover ever..."

A teaser clip for The Grand Tour has been released showing Jeremy Clarkson talking candidly about the time he was a rally co-driver with ‘the worst hangover ever’.

The Grand Tour: what we know so far

In the clip, which shows Clarkson, Hammond and May chatting in a quarry, the ex-Top Gear host describes praying for something to go wrong with the rally car to get him out of the race.

As the flag was lifted, there was an almighty bang and Clarkson diagnosed the problem as a failed driveshaft – something he has ‘no idea’ if true.

The clip is the third in a series of short teasers for the new Amazon Prime show, set to be launched in the UK this autumn.

Other clips show Jeremy Clarkson discussing Richard Hammond’s underwear, and laughing at a seemingly-broken hired Range Rover.

Clarkson is no stranger to controversy, including an incident in 2008 when he was shown drinking a G&T while driving a truck during a polar special.

50 Cent: 'I could save Top Gear... but it would cost them'

50 Cent: 'I could save Top Gear… but it would cost them'

50 Cent: 'I could save Top Gear... but it would cost them'

US rapper 50 Cent has revealed he wants to replace Chris Evans on the new Top Gear – but has said it would come at a price.

Speaking to the Daily Star, the car enthusiast said: “I would love to work on Top Gear, I could save that show for sure, but it would cost them.

“There ain’t a car I haven’t owned over the years, my car collection is as good as anybody’s out there.”

The 41-year-old, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, owns a number of Lamborghini Murcielagos, a Ferrari FF and a Bentley Mulsanne.

It seems that the In Da Club singer is missing the old Clarkson, Hammond and May trio, adding: “Top Gear was one of the world’s iconic shows and it’s a shame it came to this.

“The show since the old team left has been unrecognisable and if it don’t get back to where is should be soon then it may never recover.”

Chris Evans quit Top Gear when ratings slumped to a record low of 1.9 million at the end of his first series.

BBC bosses are not expected to replace the lead presenter, with the rest of the crew, including Matt LeBlanc and Sabine Schmitz, carrying on as before.

50 Cent: 'I could save Top Gear... but it would cost them'

50 Cent: ‘I could save Top Gear… but it would cost them’

50 Cent: 'I could save Top Gear... but it would cost them'

US rapper 50 Cent has revealed he wants to replace Chris Evans on the new Top Gear – but has said it would come at a price.

Speaking to the Daily Star, the car enthusiast said: “I would love to work on Top Gear, I could save that show for sure, but it would cost them.

“There ain’t a car I haven’t owned over the years, my car collection is as good as anybody’s out there.”

The 41-year-old, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, owns a number of Lamborghini Murcielagos, a Ferrari FF and a Bentley Mulsanne.

It seems that the In Da Club singer is missing the old Clarkson, Hammond and May trio, adding: “Top Gear was one of the world’s iconic shows and it’s a shame it came to this.

“The show since the old team left has been unrecognisable and if it don’t get back to where is should be soon then it may never recover.”

Chris Evans quit Top Gear when ratings slumped to a record low of 1.9 million at the end of his first series.

BBC bosses are not expected to replace the lead presenter, with the rest of the crew, including Matt LeBlanc and Sabine Schmitz, carrying on as before.

Top Gear Stunt Team 2016

Top Gear Stunt Team returns for summer 2016 tour

Top Gear Stunt Team 2016Top Gear may have finished for now on TV but fans of the show will still be able to get their TG fix this summer with the return of the Top Gear Stunt Team.

Performing as part of Top Gear Live for the past decade, the bespoke show itself may be on hold but the stunt drivers will still be carrying the Top Gear brand to events across the UK over the summer.

> More car news on Motoring Research

The first stop-off will be at former Top Gear presenter Chris Evans’ CarFest North on 29 July, before heading north for Glasgow’s Ignition Festival of Motoring, then back south for the Beaulieu Supercar Weekend before finishing at Carfest South in late August.

Stunt driver and Goodwood regular Paul Swift will be again leading the stunt drivers and is promising both routines and specialist cars that fans have never seen before.

And there’s predicted to be a fair few fans watching on: 120,000 of them across 11 show days in two summery months.

Adam Waddell of BBC Worldwide said: “We’re delighted to be launching the Top Gear Stunt Team as a new Top Gear-branded live entertainment proposition and we look forward to the team thrilling visitors at the four events which make up the Summer Series”.

Top Gear Stunt Team 2016 dates

  • 29-31 July: CarFest North, Bolesworth, Cheshire
  • 5-7 August: Ignition Festival of Motoring, Glasgow SECC
  • 20-21 August: Beaulieu Supercar Weekend
  • 26-28 August: CarFest South, Laverstocke Park
Top Gear's Chris Harris lands new presenting gig on BBC America

Top Gear's Chris Harris lands new presenting gig on BBC America

Top Gear's Chris Harris lands new presenting gig on BBC America

One of the few people to have done well out of the Evans-led Top Gear, Chris Harris, has bagged a position presenting his own international car show on BBC America.

Top Gear: the five best Chris Harris video reviews
This is how Top Gear’s Chris Harris was BANNED from driving Ferraris

It comes days after Chris Evans quit from the BBC2 TV show after ratings nosedived in the wake of Jeremy Clarkson’s sacking.

The new show will be a spin-off from Harris’s Youtube series, Chris Harris on Cars. The motoring journalist has developed a huge base of car enthusiast fans, with some videos attracting millions of views.

The new show will air on BBC America in the US and on the BBC Brit channel in Australia, south America, South Africa, Poland and Scandinavia.

In the seven-part series, Harris will explore the ‘technical complexities’ of the world’s fastest cars including the Aston Martin GT12, McLaren 650S, Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Honda NSX.

Despite landing the new job, it’s thought that Harris will continue presenting Top Gear – which is set to continue without Evans when the new series airs in 2017.

The new Chris Harris show will appear on American TVs as soon as Monday 11th July – although there are no plans to show it in the UK.