According to the Daily Mail, "The Stig" is not Ben Collins or any one masked driver. He is, in fact, a legion of eight, including Finnish F1 racer Heikki Kovalainen. Is this another misinformation campaign?
We guess the question isn't "Who is the Stig?" No, it's more like "Who isn't The Stig?" In addition to Heikki Kovalainen, the 27-year-old Finnish Formula One McLaren driver who happens to also be Lewis Hamilton's partner, the UK's Daily Mail claims there are seven other drivers who've donned the white racing suit of The Stig on Top Gear.
The paper claims:
Forty-one-year-old former GT world championship racing driver Chris Goodwin, from London, has also starred as the Stig. As has fellow Londoner Julian Bailey, a 47-year-old former Formula One racing driver who raced for the Tyrell and Lotus teams.
Stunt driver Terry Grant from Bushey in Hertfordshire has also slipped into the white racing leathers to become the Stig. Mr Grant's website claims he is 'one of Europe's leading stunt drivers' and as such is 'the guy who really can drive circles around you'.
Stunt driver Russ Swift is another who has become the Stig. Mr Swift's website makes no mention of his alter-ego however it does tell how he has 'performed over 8000 displays in over 50 countries including America, South Africa, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.
Finally, Dan Lang, a Swedish snow mobile racing champion played the Stig in a Top Gear stunt where he jumped a snow mobile off a ski jump."
So is it true? Well, while readers here and at FinalGear would like to believe there's some kind of vast conspiracy, with this story being yet another part of a misinformation campaign on behalf of the producers of the show, the truth is, it's probably not. While it's very possible The Stig is a single driver, like Ben Collins, he probably isn't given the needs of the variety of different types of stunt driving on the show. I makes more sense to believe he/she/it's a legion of different drivers, each brought in under different needs — whether it's taking a snowmobile off a jump or drifting around the corners at a Spanish raceway.
Of course it could still be a conspiracy. The BBC would prefer you think that anyway — it makes the producers of the show look smarter than they actually are. (Hat tip to Antonio!)
Photo Credit: BBC
Photoshop: Ray Wert