It’s America v Britain as Top Gear’s Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans race from London to Blackpool
Top Gear's Matt LeBlanc, Chris Evans and The Stig (BBC)

Top Gear presenters Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc have kicked off filming the first episode of the new show with a trip to Blackpool.

The duo were photographed in Reliant Robins, one emblazoned with an American flag and the other a United Kingdom flag, as they embarked on their adventure from BBC’s Broadcasting House in London.

Chris announced former Friends actor Matt would be joining the presenting panel earlier this month. Also joining the line-up is Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan, German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, motoring journalist Chris Harris and car reviewer Rory Reid. Matt tweeted ahead of filming:  

The duo are set to race some 230-plus miles to Blackpool in their Robins.

Matt LeBlanc in a Reliant Robin
Matt LeBlanc in a Reliant Robin (Sarah Bell)

Former Top Gear host James May posted a photo and message on Twitter for the new team.

The show’s trusty sidekick The Stig will also return. Following the announcement of the new line-up, Evans said: “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 encyclopaedic, 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.”  

The full, seven-strong Top Gear line up (BBC)
The full, seven-strong Top Gear line up (BBC)

Sabine is the only woman in the line-up, and the show’s first female presenter in 15 years. She said: “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.”  

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May in Top Gear
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May in Top Gear (BBC)

The new presenting team replaces the show’s old line-up of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Top Gear will return in May on BBC Two.