Tuesday 23 January 2018

Top Gear presenters: Virtually unknown Chris Harris and Sabine Schmitz 'to be Chris Evans' sidekicks'

Ex-Formula One driver David Coulthard also reported to be joining new-look BBC motoring show as bosses are hit by two backroom departures

SAbine Schmitz, Chris Evans and Chris Harris will present Top Gear
SAbine Schmitz, Chris Evans and Chris Harris will present Top Gear

Danny Boyle

Two virtually unknown presenters have reportedly been picked to be Chris Evans' sidekicks on the new Top Gear, as the show appears to descend into turmoil before it has even begun.

German racing driver Sabine Schmitz and motoring journalist Chris Harris are said to have been chosen to join the revamped BBC motoring show.

David Coulthard, the former Formula One star, has also been appointed to the new-look presenter panel, according to The Sun.

It comes after Top Gear - which is rebranding after former hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond left earlier this year - was hit by two backroom departures.

Presenter Chris Evans alongside 'The Stig'
Presenter Chris Evans alongside 'The Stig'

It was revealed on Tuesday that the show's executive producer, Lisa Clark, was leaving the show after five months. And Tom Ford, a script editor, will also reportedly not be returning at the end of his contract.

Schmitz - a 46-year-old professional German motor racing driver for BMW and Porsche who is also known for driving the BMW "ring taxi" around the Nürburgring race track - previously appeared on Top Gear in 2004, when she beat Clarkson in a race.

She also drove a white Ford Transit van around the same track in under ten minutes.

Harris, 40, has written for motoring magazines including Autocar and has also presented a YouTube series on cars.

A Top Gear insider told The Sun: "Sabine and Chris are virtually unknown to the wider public and David isn't the most charismatic driver."

Clark, who had previously worked with Evans on Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, said in a statement she was "moving on to new projects".

Former Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May
Former Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May

She added: "I'd like to wish production all the very best with the show."

The BBC issued a statement thanking Clark for her "incredible work for the last five months readying new Top Gear for its busy filming schedule in 2016 and planned return in May".

She was hired following the departure of Andy Wilman, who will join the old Top Gear presenting line-up on the new Amazon motoring show.

The BBC said it expects to announce a new executive producer "in due course".

So far, Evans - who also hosts the Radio Two breakfast show - has been tight-lipped about the format of the show.

But speaking in Cannes earlier in the year, he hinted that there may not be co-hosts with him at all times on the new show.


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