Former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan is close to joining the Top Gear presenting line-up alongside Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
After weeks of wrangling, the Irish former motorsport boss turned commentator is expected to be named as part of the Top Gear "family" within days. Jordan hasn't yet signed his contract but this is understood to be a "formality" according to sources on the show.
As RadioTimes.com revealed yesterday, the new programme, which is due to begin airing on 8th May, is to have a pyramid presenting structure with Chris Evans at the top.
Below him will be motor racing driver Sabine Schmitz and journalist Chris Harris who are expected to play the parts of semi-regulars with other big name motoring stars and personalities making up a Top Gear “family” alongside LeBlanc and Morgan, and more names due to be announced next week.
It is understood that LeBlanc was a name insisted upon by Evans with the strong backing of the Corporation’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide who are keen to give the show an international appeal.
The 67-year old Edmund Patrick "Eddie" Jordan is set to offer genuine expertise about cars and motor racing, the producers hope.
The founder and owner of Jordan Grand Prix which operated from 1991 to 2005, Jordan was the lead analyst for F1 coverage on the BBC from 2009 to 2015 and, according to friends who spoke to RadioTimes.com, was “bitterly disappointed” when the BBC lost the contract.
Born in Dublin, Jordan is reported to have considered becoming ordained as a priest before life took him in the direction of motorsport after he won the Irish Go-Kart Championship in 1971.
He raced for a while himself but found his metier when he founded the Jordan team, utilising the services of acclaimed drivers such as Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell. Michael Schumacher also raced for Jordan in his first season before he was poached by Benetton.
Jordan is describing by one former F1 broadcasting colleagues as “affable, smart and a really good broadcaster.”
He has strong links to the team bosses and will be able to break big news stories from the world of motorsport as he often did while working for the BBC.
“The team bosses talk to him – he is one of them and he gets on with them all,” said another source.
Another added: “He is quite colourful and if it’s the Top Gear I know he may come in for ribbing – he has quite a flamboyant dress sense and of course a wacky beard.”
He was a fellow analyst alongside former F1 driver David Coulthard who is understood to have been a name that Evans was keen to bring into the Top Gear team, according to a production source.
However Coulthard was then poached by Channel 4 to front their F1 coverage after being given an offer he “couldn’t refuse” according to sources close to the Top Gear production.
Another little known fact about Jordan that may please David Cameron, a friend of Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson: Jordan is also a self-proclaimed supporter of the Conservative party.
RadioTimes.com contacted the BBC, who declined to comment.
Top Gear is expected to return to the BBC on 8th May