SPECULATION is growing about the identity of the new Stig, with many sources suggesting that it may be… a woman.
The latest mystery racing driver on the BBC’s hugely popular TV show, which returned to our screens on Sunday night, was hired amid a shroud of secrecy after BBC bosses nearly scrapped the character altogether.
Top Gear’s former mystery racing driver, now known to be Ben Collins, a former SAS soldier before he became a racing driver, revealed himself as the Stig when he launched a book about his life, causing a storm of controversy, which clearly upset the show’s three presenters.
At Christmas, the show’s festive special caused more controversy when the Three Wise Men, Jeremy Clarkson who has just turned 50, Richard Hammond (41) and James May (47) were dropped off in Northern Iraq and left to make their way to Bethlehem, where, in a manger, they found a baby Stig. Clarkson said their Christmas story “sparked fury” in a religious backlash.
Four weeks later, as the first programme in the new series aired, the Stig had been to school and “almost” grown up. The audience were shown pictures of him sitting at his desk in a classroom and even taking part in the recent student riots.
Clarkson, who claims that even he doesn’t know who the knew Stig is, gave away a couple of clues though. Apparently he or she is so small that he or she makes the Hamster look tall – and he’s only 5ft 7in.
Rumours are rife that televisions most famous racing driver may be Sabine Schmitz, the German racing driver who teaches people to drive on the infamous Nurburgring. She has raced for years, and has appeared on the programme before, originally when Jeremy tried to set a good time on the circuit in a diesel Jaguar S-Type. The blonde-haired Sabine then famously beat his best time in a Transit van.
Some say… it could be Formula One ace Michael Schumacher, but this is unlikely as he has a busy season ahead with McLaren Mercedes, but did once appear on the programme as The Stig, revealing himself on the programme to huge appaluse from the studio audience.
Whoever the new Stig may be, they are quick. He/she set a new circuit lap record of one minute, 15.1 seconds in an Ariel Atom V8.
It seems he/she is also a good teacher, with Liverpudlian comic John Bishop setting the fastest time so far as the star in the reasonably priced car, after being coached by the new Stig in the Kia cee’d.
So who is the new Stig? No one knows yet. Not even Clarkson, if you believe him.
One thing however is certain – we soon will. Finding out the identity of the Stig has almost become a new national sport.
Watch this space.