Why Matt LeBlanc is the perfect choice for Top Gear
The Friends star is a surprising – and smart – choice to join Chris Evans on Top Gear, says James Gill
The fastest ever celebrity round the Top Gear track, a committed petrolhead and a name that will get people talking on both sides of the Atlantic – Matt LeBlanc is the perfect man to join the new Top Gear family.
It's a surprising choice, brave even, but no one can say that the Friends star isn't qualified for the job.
In 2012 he topped the leaderboard for the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, with a devil-may-care attitude that even got Jeremy Clarkson purring. "Just don't use the brake as much," said LeBlanc, whistling as he flicked his way round the Hammerhead. With a lap time of 1.42.1, he clearly knew what he was talking about.
On the same day, he took the Stig for a spin in a McLaren MP4-12, with Iggy Pop's The Passenger playing over the car stereo.
Now, LeBlanc's in the driving seat.
Even post-Clarkson, LeBlanc's kept in close contact with the Top Gear family. Since January this year, he's been presenting "a series of compilation shows" for BBC America.
RadioTimes.com understands that LeBlanc is going to be just one of a number of new Top Gear presenters joining Chris Evans, each offering a fresh take after the triumvirate of Clarkson, Hammond and May left the BBC.
In LeBlanc's case, the choice seems an effort to turbo charge the BBC show's audience in the US, where it will soon have to compete with Clarkson on Amazon.
Even during his Friends days, he still had a need for speed, as these clips of him racing in a 'Celebrity Grand Prix' in 1995 prove.
Eat your heart out Stig.
He may have spent his past couple of years laughing at himself on comedy Episodes, but when it comes to driving, LeBlanc is deadly serious.
Watch out Chris: your new Friend might just show you up.