Matt LeBlanc is an American actor who became the lead presenter of Top Gear following his predecessor, Chris Evans, quitting after just one series. He would then take Evans' role from Series 24 through to Series 26, before leaving the show in 2019. His role is to be replaced through the addition of two new hosts, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness.
LeBlanc is best known, outside of Top Gear, for his role as Joey Tribbiani on 90s sitcom, Friends. LeBlanc first joined Chris Evans' new line-up on the twenty-third series of Top Gear. LeBlanc's position in the new line-up was announced on the 4th of February, 2016, about a week before his co-presenters, Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz, Eddie Jordan, and Chris Harris, were announced. However, following Evans' departure from the show in July 2016, it was announced that LeBlanc would not only continue his work on the show but would replace Evans as the new lead presenter alongside Harris and Reid with occasional appearances from Schmitz and Jordan. In June 2018, LeBlanc announced his intention to leave the series after the twenty-sixth series had aired.
LeBlanc first appeared in the second episode of Top Gear's eighteenth series as the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car. His lap time of 1:42.1 beat previous record holder Rowan Atkinson's time by 0.1 seconds, and earned him a top spot amongst all celebrities and the fastest times of all four cars used for the segment.
He returned in the fourth episode of the show's nineteenth series to test the new version of the Kia Cee'd, which was shown in Jeremy Clarkson's film entitled the "Thorough Cee'd Test". In it, he posted a fastest lap time of 1:47.0 in the old model and 1:45.2 in the new model, confirming that the new version was faster.
Other Top Gear Work
In 2016, LeBlanc hosted a BBC America special, Top Gear: The Races, which highlighted the best races that aired during the first twenty-two series of the show.
Work as Host of Top Gear
LeBlanc was a prominent figure in the shooting of the twenty-third series of Top Gear. During this series, he was seen in London with Ken Block, in Morocco to test the Ariel Nomad, filmed a USA v UK segment with Evans in Blackpool, and went to South Africa and Lesotho with Evans and Eddie Jordan. He would star in 26 episodes of Top Gear, 24 of them as presenter.
- He, along with Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan, are the first non-British hosts of the show since its revival in 2002. LeBlanc is American.
|Cast of Top Gear|
|Present Cast||Chris Harris | Freddie Flintoff | Paddy McGuinness | The Stig|
|Former Cast (2002 format)||Sabine Schmitz | Eddie Jordan | Rory Reid | Matt LeBlanc | Chris Evans | James May | Richard Hammond | Jeremy Clarkson | Ben Collins | Top Gear Stunt Man | Top Gear Dog | Perry McCarthy | Jason Dawe|
|Former Cast (1977 format)||Andy Wilman | Jason Barlow | Tiff Needell | Vicki Butler-Henderson | Adrian Simpson | Quentin Willson | Kate Humble | Steve Berry | Julia Bradbury | Brendan Coogan | Tony Mason | Michele Newman | Jon Bentley | Chris Goffey | Janet Trewin | Nicky Fox | Steve Lee | William Woollard | Sue Baker | Beki Adam | Tom Boswell | Vic Allan | Frank Page | Peter Burgess | Bob Friend | Judith Jackson | Stewart Woodcock | Noel Edmonds | Mike Dornan | Gill Pyrah | Barrie Gill | Angela Rippon | Presenters with less than 5 appearances|