The Stig Is Ben Collins
According to the statements, the name of the Stig is Ben Collins, a 35-year-old soap box derby champion from Bristol. The name is not such a big surprise, given the fact that Collins is the most associated person with the mysterious test driver in a white suit (with rumors as old as two years saying he is The Stig).
According to The Sunday Times, the financial statements of Collins Autosport, the company which was set up by Collins, show that a contract was signed in 2003 to provide “driving services for the BBC, mainly in the Top Gear program.” The contract offered “good long-term prospects and continuing income.“
BBC, who is currently rumored to have started a legal war to prevent The Stig from publishing his autobiography, says the documents prove nothing. In the words of a Corporation spokeswoman, Collins Autosport is paid by BBC because Collins plays himself in several episodes.
“It's no surprise that Ben Collins' company accounts show that he was driving for Top Gear as he has appeared on the program as himself, for example in the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge. Ben supplies his services as a driver himself and his company also supplies other drivers,” the spokeswoman told Mail Online.
“There is nothing to be read into in these company documents.'We won't be saying who or what The Stig is.”
But who is Collins? Born in 1975 in Bristol, the Brit started his motorsport career at a late age. He entered the Formula First and Formula Vauxhall Junior in 1994 and then moved on to Formula 3. He raced several times in competitions like Le Mans Sportscars and NASCAR.
His most notable success is winning the European Stock Car Championship in 2003. He also performed as a stunt driver for several James Bond movies.
Of course, we all know The Stig will probably remain a mystery forever. Even if Collins is indeed the man behind this urban legend, there's no way of proving it, regardless of the tons of hard evidence which may be thrown into the game.
BBC has plausible deniability and, as long as there's no paper saying “person X was hired by BBC to play the Stig for an Y amount of money,” just about anyone can say he/she is The Stig.