The Stig Revealed

Sydney and Auckland get to see the Stig and his much hyped indoor loop-the-loop stunt in February, and you can bet the crowds who flock to Jeremy Clarkson’s hugely popular Top Gear World Tour – whether at Homebush or Ellerslie – won’t leave disappointed.

The show that now attracts 350 million viewers world-wide and has made Clarkson a rich man continues to shock and entertain, even after the identity of the mysterious Stig, the “superhuman” test car driver, was revealed by British newspapers earlier this year.

The Daily Telegraph claimed in January that the secretive part-man part-machine, whose identity is always obscured by white Alpinestars racing coveralls and matching Simpson racing helmet is in reality 33-year-old Ben Collins, a Bristol-based former American speedway driver and stuntman who doubled for Daniel Craig in the latest James Bond film,

He’s Really Graham Hill

In true BBC style the show’s producers say they couldn’t possibly comment – it would be like “outing Santa Claus” – but then have proceeded to have fun by suggesting the Stig was actually dead legendary racing car driver Graham Hill, who they said been hiding out in the bush since the 1970s.

To add to the fun in a recent show Clarkson “unveiled” Michael Schumacher as the Stig, adding him to a list of possible Stig stand-ins that includes former world Formula One champion Damon Hill. The Stig has a cult following around the world.

Most Asked Question

“Who is the Stig?” was the reportedly most-asked question on the internet in 2008, to the extent that online and text-answering services, agencies that employ armies of freelance researchers to find the answer to any question, rated it one of the most popular questions of all time, along with the meaning of life.

The name Stig originates from Clarkson’s former school, Repton, and was the moniker by which new boys were always known.

The cult surrounding the character has grown because he is routinely introduced on the show with a humorous reference to his alleged non-human faculties. Introductions include “Some say his voice can only be heard by cats”, and “Some say one of his eyes is a testicle”.

Stig Trivia

It is said of the Stig:

  • He never blinks, and he roams around the woods at night foraging for wolves
  • He appears on high-value stamps in Sweden, and can catch fish with his tongue
  • He naturally faces magnetic north, and all his legs are hydraulic
  • His heart ticks like a watch, and he’s confused by stairs
  • His voice can only be heard by cats, and he has two sets of knees

James May (Captain Slow) claims that there is a clause in the Stig’s contract that should his identity be exposed either through his own willingness or via a member of the Top Gear staff (including the hosts of Top Gear), he has to be fired.

Clarkson has written that the Stig is not permitted to talk on screen because “any opinion he might voice on cars would be rubbish.”

The men in the helmet

Perry McCarthy
The original “Black Stig” made 22 episodes before being killed off. He’s threatening to return.

Ben Collins
“Outed” as the White Stig in early 2009, Collins is a 33-year-old racing driver from Bristol

Julian Bailey
The former F1 driver stood in for McCarthy as the Black Stig and was named in McCarthy’s book, Flat Out Flat Broke.

Dan Lang
The snowmobile champion played the White Stig in the stunt where he drove a Mini off a ski jump.