This Is The New Host of “Top Gear”
Meet Chris Evans. No, not Captain America. This Chris Evans is a BBC radio host — England’s Howard Stern, with slightly less raunch — and a long-time car nut with a special passion for Ferraris. And as of today, he’s also the new top host of “Top Gear,” replacing Jeremy Clarkson.
Evans has long been the odds-on favorite to replace Clarkson following the ex-host’s dismissal for punching a producer, going so far as to deny his interest a few months back. Today, the BBC revealed that Evans had been signed to a three-year deal to host the show with as-yet-unnamed cohosts, with production restarting in a few months and the first new episodes set to air in 2016.
“I promise I will do everything I possibly can to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward,” said Evans, 49.
And while Evans is a relative unknown in the United States, he’s no stranger to the Top Gear world. He’s been a guest before, and on Friday showed off what his LaFerrari was capable of around the famous Dunsfold track (on damp pavement, it was faster than any other car that had ever been save the Pagani Huyara). Evans’ Ferrari passion runs deep into his sizable wallet; his collection once included a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO, generally considered the most valuable cars in the world, and still holds several other classics.
For the BBC, Evans makes a logical choice for handing over the reins of one of its most lucrative properties, with a viewership in the hundreds of millions worldwide. Much of that success was due to the team of Clarkson, James May, Richard Hammond and producer Andy Wilman, who took over what had been a traditionally stoic car show in 2000 and made it the circus of speed that fans love. Those four are rumored to be working on a new program, perhaps for an online outlet like Netflix; if true, Evans’ job won’t be just rebuilding the fans’ interest in the show, but competing with its most famous hosts in new jobs.