Britain's motor show Top Gear returns with new line-up

LONDON (REUTERS) - British motoring show Top Gear roars back onto television screens this weekend with a new line-up of presenters taking over one of the BBC's most successful programmes.

The show, watched around the world, has British television and radio presenter Chris Evans and former Friends star Matt LeBlanc as the new co-hosts, replacing Jeremy Clarkson who was dropped by the BBC last year after he hit and verbally abused a producer.

Clarkson and his two former Top Gear co-presenters are now working on a new motoring show for Amazon.

"The wait is over, the long, long wait... It's been longer for us than it has for anybody else," Evans said in a video release to mark the show's launch on Wednesday. "You're going to see ... amazing cars in exotic, exciting and bizarre locations."

Putting those cars to the test alongside Evans and LeBlanc will be German racer Sabine Schmitz and motoring journalist Rory Reid among others.

Top Gear has been known to court controversy over the years and the show has offended Argentines, Mexicans and truck drivers among others in the past.

The new series, whose first episode airs on Sunday, made headlines in March when Evans apologised for a car stunt filmed near the Cenotaph war memorial in London, which was criticised for showing a lack of respect.