LOS ANGELES — Matt LeBlanc, who made his name playing Joey Tribbiani on NBC’s “Friends,” is making history as the first non-British host in “Top Gear” history.

LeBlanc is no stranger to British programming. The actor currently stars as a fictionalized version of himself on “Episodes,” a co-production that airs on both Showtime and BBC Two about a married pair of comedy writers who find themselves saddled with a star they aren’t sure what to make of.

As far as “Top Gear” goes, LeBlanc has been a guest on the show several times in previous years, even hosting a special episode looking back at the best races in the show’s history.

“As a car nut and a massive fan of ‘Top Gear,’ I’m honored and excited to be a part of this iconic show’s new chapter. What a thrill!” LeBlanc said in a news release issued Thursday by the BBC.

Founded in 1977 as a straightforward car magazine series, the British series was relaunched in 2002 encompassing a much more humorous and cheeky tone, rendering the show more entertainment than educational.

Last June, the BBC announced that Chris Evans, a British radio and television personality, had signed on for three years with “Top Gear,” leading to Thursday’s announcement of LeBlanc’s involvement.

“Matt’s a lifelong fellow petrolhead and I’m thrilled he’s joining ‘Top Gear.’ Acting out our craziest car notions on screen is a dream job and I know we’ll both be debating some epic road trip ideas,” Evans said in Thursday’s statement.

The new season of “Top Gear” is scheduled to return to BBC Two and BBC America in May.

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