Chris Evans recruits a car-studded line-up for punchy reboot of world's biggest motoring entertainment show.
Motorsport guru and Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan, world record-breaking German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, renowned motoring journalist and YouTube petrolhead Chris Harris, and car reviewer and TV presenter Rory Reid are today all confirmed to join Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc for the eagerly awaited return of Top Gear.
The new team will cover the entire automotive spectrum and bring with them their own unique and very individual love of cars that will resonate with every type of Top Gear viewer, from the family who enjoy the entertainment values of the show, to aspirational car lovers and fanatical petrolheads.
Formula 1 heavyweight Eddie Jordan comes armed with a trademark no-nonsense, richly experienced view of the motoring world, and life in general, which is guaranteed to be anything but boring. The colourful Dublin-born entrepreneur has flirted with cars all his life, and as owner of the former Jordan Grand Prix team gave many of the world’s most iconic drivers their first taste of the most powerful and loudest starting grid on the planet, including Michael Schumacher, who made his debut for Jordan in 1991, and Eddie Irvine.
Sabine Schmitz, the legendary Queen of the Nurburgring, re-enters Top Gear folklore by becoming the show’s first female presenter in 15 years. Another familiar face to Top Gear viewers following her unforgettable appearances in series 5 and series 11, she has already completed some filming with Chris Evans in a sequence that will leave even the most hardened speed–demons gasping for breath when it debuts on TV (sick-bags not included!).
Motoring journalist Chris Harris, the man whose very name sends shivers through many car manufacturers' boardrooms, comes armed with a self-confessed determination to cause mischief and tell viewers insightful things about automobiles they probably didn’t even think they needed to know.
And newcomer Rory Reid, who was recruited to Top Gear from the show’s 2015 public auditions, is an award-winning journalist, has launched and presented for CNET’s Car Tech channel, and also had a starring role in Sky 1’s Gadget Geeks series.
Chris Evans said of his new Top Gear gang: “We really do have a bit of everything for everyone. A fellow lifelong petrolhead from the other side of the pond in Matt; a fearless speed-demon in the irrepressible and effervescent Sabine; the encyclopedic, funny and wonderfully colourful character that is EJ; Chris, one of the world’s top no-nonsense car reviewers; and Rory, who simply blew me away in his audition and fully deserves his place on the team."
Eddie Jordan said: “I’m giddy with excitement to be joining Chris and the team. I have such enormous respect for all my fellow presenters and I politely ask that they go easy on these old bones. Cars are in my DNA and although I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish most things I ever aspired to in motorsport, presenting Top Gear is quite simply the icing on the cake.”
Chris Harris said: “Top Gear is the thing that helped shape my life with cars, my perception of cars and my obsession with cars, and I’m raring to give it a go. I’m also quite gobby and happy to get into trouble, so I'm hoping I can underpin the programme with journalistic credibility but still cause some mischief. And if it all goes wrong, well, I can say I was once on Top Gear, and just head back to being that annoying small bloke off YouTube."
Sabine Schmitz added: “I grew up next to the Nurburgring, and have been racing for most of my life, so the chance to combine both driving and filming was too good an opportunity to pass up. I’ve appeared on Top Gear a few times in the past, so I know we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Rory Reid commented: “When I submitted my 30-second audition tape, I knew the odds were very firmly against me, as the auditions were open to absolutely everybody. To be the only person to make it through the open audition process makes me immensely proud. I've been a Top Gear fan for decades, but more than that, I live and breathe cars in a way that is perfectly compatible with the show. I'm looking forward to bringing my brand of knowledge, energy and humour to what promises to be a very exciting new series.”
The Stig, clearly not wanting to be left out of today’s announcement, sent the following reply via electronic communication: “-.-. .... . .-- .. . --..-- / .-- . .----. .-. . / .... --- -- . .-.-.-“
Top Gear returns this May to BBC Two and TV screens everywhere.
Eddie Jordan is an Irish former racing driver, team owner and entrepreneur. A host of drivers owe their breaks to Eddie as a champion of young talent, including Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine. Having suffered a number of major accidents while competing in racing, Eddie retired to set up his Jordan team in 1980. The team went on to be champions in Formula 3 with Johnny Herbert in 1987, Formula 3000 in 1989 with Jean Alesi - and in 1990 Eddie established Jordan Grand Prix and entered Formula 1. He sold Jordan Grand Prix in January 2005 and has since developed a portfolio of business interests as well as presenting the BBC's coverage of Formula 1. He has been inducted into the Irish Motorsport Hall of Fame and in 2012 he was awarded an honorary OBE by Her Majesty The Queen in recognition of his services to charity and motor racing.
Sabine Schmitz is a German racing driver who is already well known to fans of Top Gear. She grew up in her parents’ hotel just 300m from the legendary Nurburgring track and has spent her life surrounded by cars and racing. She became the first woman to win the prestigious Nurburgring 24 hours in 1996, and repeated the feat a year later. Sabine became known as the ‘World’s fastest taxi driver’ by driving passengers around the track in a BMW M5 and has since presented several motoring shows for German TV. She has appeared on Top Gear several times over the years, becoming a firm favourite with viewers. She still races successfully today and runs her own race team.
Chris Harris is probably best known for his popular YouTube channel, Chris Harris on Cars, which he launched in 2014, established with the help longtime friend Neil Carey. It has already amassed over a quarter of a million subscribers and the content has been viewed over 20 million times.
Chris began his career in motoring journalism at UK-based Autocar magazine, becoming their official road-test editor. This gave him the opportunity to do some “racing and skidding” before starting a website for fast cars the week Lehman Brothers went under in 2008, which obviously ended badly. He then looked to solve his new found indebtedness at Evo magazine, and then became a member of the Pistonheads.com crew, as well as a regular feature on YouTube’s DRIVE channel.
Rory Reid is an award-winning journalist of 18 years specialising in cars. Rory has written and presented for the likes of CNET UK, where he launched the company's popular Car Tech channel, receiving a prestigious Association of Online Publishers (AOP) award for ‘Best Use of Video’ in the process. Rory has featured in a number of car-focused television shows and had a starring role in the Gadget Geeks series on Sky 1, where he reviewed cars and consumer tech. He was also a presenter on the hugely successful Fast, Furious & Funny YouTube channel. He is editor-in-chief of Recombu, specialising in producing car reviews.