Chances are better than average that RideLust readers are fans of TopGear; even if you hate the show for it’s British sensibilities and anti-American leaning, you still know who the Stig is. Just in case you’ve recently awakened from a 15 year coma, here’s a brief explanation: the Stig is a (somewhat) tamed racing driver, unleashed weekly to flog cars at maximum velocity around the Top Gear test track. Some say his testicles are shaped like the Silverstone circuit, and that his blood is actually synthetic motor oil. All we know is that he’s called the Stig, and his identity has been the subject of mystery and controversy for years.
If you know your Top Gear history, you know that the white Sitg replaced the black Stig in 2003. You’ll also know that various celebrities, such as Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard, have been previously called out as the white Stig. Now, Jalopnik cites a Sunday Times article revealing Ben Collins as the Stig, based entirely on financial reports from Collins’ company, Collins Autosport.
Collins Autosport, it seems, reported record profits based on driving services provided to the BBC for Top Gear back in December of 2003. In forward looking statements, Collins Autosport also reported “good long term prospects for continuing income”.
Collins himself has the required skill set. A former competitor in Formula Three, Collins is probably best known for his stunt driving (as Daniel Craig’s double) in the Bond film Quantum of Solace. Given unlimited access to his own private test track, it’s no wonder that Collins can best even the top F1 drivers at their own game.
Still, life is never black and white and the mystery of the Stig’s identity isn’t, either. Chances are rather good that Collins is one of many Stigs used by Top Gear in filming. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that Collins has been the primary Stig, with backup Stigs used for travel (like the fat American Stig) or special events. Nomex suits for the Stig are custom made in several sizes, if my insider information is correct, which would indicate multiple Stigs or one Stig with a really bad eating disorder. Who shrinks and grows in height, as well.
History isn’t kind to Stigs that reveal their identity. Perry McCarthy, the black Stig, came out with his identity in 2002 and was killed off in the following season. There’s no doubt that the white Stig is now living on borrowed time, and I expect his epic demise in series sixteen, episode one.