LONDON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- American actor Matt LeBlanc is to co-host Top Gear, a revamped version of Britain's motoring show, which will return to the BBC in May.
This is the first time in the program's 39-year history that it will have a non-British presenter.
"Matt's a lifelong, fellow petrol-head and I'm thrilled he's joining Top Gear," co-host Chris Evans said in a statement Thursday. "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. We can't wait to share what we've been up to on screen later this year."
"As a car nut and a massive fan of Top Gear, I'm honored and excited to be a part of this iconic show's new chapter. What a thrill!" LeBlanc added.
"Matt is a class act and a brilliant signing for Top Gear. He is a self-confessed, car fanatic with a passion for the program. I'm really looking forward to watching Chris and Matt bring the all-new show to our audiences," remarked Alan Tyler, the BBC's acting controller for entertainment commissioning.
Best known for his portrayal of Joey on the U.S. sitcom Friends, LeBlanc most recently starred in the BBC/Showtime comedy Episodes. The 48-year-old actor has twice appeared as a guest on Top Gear and hosted the standalone special Top Gear: The Races.
Top Gear has been on hiatus since last year when Jeremy Clarkson, accused of verbally abusing a producer, was fired and his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May refused to return to the show without him. The trio is now working on a new car-related series for Amazon.