Top Gear’s The Stig unmasked as Ben Collins by his own company accounts | Mail Online

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The Stig unmasked… by his own company accounts

By
Tom Kelly
Last updated at 12:50 PM on 23rd August 2010

Speculation about his identity has ranged from former Formula one champion Michael Schumacher to Mr Bean creator Rowan Atkinson.

But the seven-year mystery surrounding top Gear’s masked test driver the Stig appears finally to be over.

Financial documents have been unearthed which link 35-year-old racing driver and stuntman Ben Collins to the secret role.

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Unmasked: Top Gear star The Stig with special guests Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise. The Stig’s true identity has been revealed as Ben Collins

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Out of character: Ben Collins, as he looks without his helmet and visor

The Stig’s unmasking comes after the Daily Mail last week revealed
how he was locked in a legal battle with the BBC over plans to reveal
his identity in his autobiography.

Lawyers warned that secrecy was essential to his role in the BBC2 programme.

The clue to his identity emerges in the accounts of his company, Collins Autosport.

It recorded a ‘cornerstone year’ in December 2003, a month after the white-clad Stig’s first appearance on TV.

This was partly down to ‘driving services provided for the BBC, mainly in the Top Gear programme’, the accounts said.

Directors noted the work offered ‘good long-term prospects for continuing income,’ the Sunday Times reported.

Collins, who has doubled for Daniel Craig for stunts in a James Bond
film, was named as a possible Stig after a builder claimed to have seen
the distinctive white outfit at the driver’s Bristol home.

But he has always refused to answer questions on the subject. Asked
about it at the weekend, he said he was on his way to Hungary before
adding: ‘I can’t speak to you. I’m going into a tunnel.’

Until now only a handful of BBC executives and the programme’s
presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May knew the
identity of the Stig.

In June last year the seven-times Formula 1 champion driver Michael
Schumacher dressed as the Stig and removed his helmet on the programme.

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Team: The Stig with Top Gear presenters, from left, Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson. The BBC is trying to stop The Stig revealing his true identity in an autobiography

The BBC refused to confirm or deny if Schumacher really was the mystery driver, but the scene was widely regarded as a hoax.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘It’s no surprise that Ben Collins’s company
accounts show that he was driving for Top Gear as he has appeared on
the programme as himself, for exam-example in the Mitsubishi evo
challenge.

‘Ben supplies his services as a driver himself and his company also supplies other drivers.

‘There is nothing to be read into these company documents.’

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ben collins is one of the uk’s finest sports men he is a top driver across the world in europe and usa getting to f1 is not all about talent its opportunity and cash !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

– rhodri edward williams, swansea, 24/8/2010 19:38

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given the track times he has posted why isn’t the Stig driving in formula one….

– james walton, oxford england, 23/8/2010 18:27

Perhaps he is? Or do I mean “perhaps they are”, because I’m not convinced there’s only one person doing the job.

– Chris, Lichfield, 24/8/2010 10:47

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I’m the Stig, and so’s my wife!

– Brian Cohen, Jerusalem, Israel, 24/8/2010 09:18

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My grandson Jonathan aged 9 told me who the stig was about 6 months ago. So what, we still watch Top Gear!

– Peter Collins, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, 24/8/2010 08:35

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Clearly this guy isn’t the stig……the stig is female…we all know women are the best drivers!

– Sme, Leeds, 23/8/2010 22:29

Never lived near a school then and saw women drivers drop children off..

– SONIA, WARWICKSHIRE, 24/8/2010 00:04

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Clearly this guy isn’t the stig……the stig is female…we all know women are the best drivers!

– Sme, Leeds, 23/8/2010 22:29

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