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Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc race from London to Blackpool for new Top Gear show

Published 19/02/2016

Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc kicked off filming the first episode of the new Top Gear series with a trip to Blackpool (BBC/PA)
Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc kicked off filming the first episode of the new Top Gear series with a trip to Blackpool (BBC/PA)

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.

Evans announced former Friends actor LeBlanc 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.

LeBlanc tweeted ahead of filming, calling the Top Gear crew a " great group of lunatics" and adding: "We start filming in the morning. I'm pumped."

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

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

Posting a photo of a shop named "Top Gear Motors", he wrote: "Good luck to the new Top Gear trying to fit so many presenters in their studio."

The Top Gear team tweeted a photo of the duo, writing: " It's all smiles for @matt_leBlanc's first day at work, but it's 230+ miles to Blackpool. Without a roof. In Britain."

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."

Schmitz 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."

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.

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