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There are also several other versions of the Stig, most of them being one of his many cousins, living in many different parts of the world.
Versions The Stig's name derived from presenter Jeremy Clarkson's days at Repton School; where, according to Clarkson, new students were always called "Stig". A proposed name for the Stig was originally "The Gimp" until protests from Perry McCarthy nixed the idea. There have been two official Stigs on the show, while various other Stigs have made cameo appearances for particular episodes.
- Main article: The Black Stig
The first Stig wore black overalls and helmet. It was introduced in the first episode of the current format by Jeremy Clarkson as the resident test driver, as the presenters could not consistently post fast times themselves. Clarkson noted that "we don't know its name, we really don't know its name, nobody knows its name, and we don't wanna know, cause it's a racing driver." Clarkson then described The Stig as having a very small brain, who had worthless opinions, a disorder described by Clarkson as "Mansell Syndrome". Its job description was to "just go out there and drive fast".
Black Stig posted a lap time of 1:46 for the Star in a Reasonably-Priced car segment. This Stig was used for the first two series of the show. It was then "killed off" at the start of the third series when he was shown driving a modified Jaguar XJ-S off the flight deck of HMS Invincible during a stunt and landing in the sea.
A new "White Stig" was introduced, wearing white overalls and helmet. White Stig has been featured in the show beyond just the Power Lap segment. His work has included driving cars in other segments of the show, for example finding a winner between the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, BMW M6 and Porsche 997 Carrera S on the Isle of Man, and racing against the hosts in a bid to see who would cross the starting line at a race track; White Stig driving a Caterham Seven kit car from Caterham, Surrey to Knockhill racetrack in Scotland against the hosts in assembling an identical car from the ground up. In Series 10 The Stig was recruited to take public transport in the Cross London Challenge and had to deal with such tasks as riding a bus, using an Oyster Card and having to answer a mobile phone (but instead just stared at the ringing device).
White Stig has also appeared outside Top Gear in some of Clarkson's motoring specials, such as The Good, The Bad, The Ugly where Clarkson reviewed and compared American and non-American cars, Heaven and Hell, where the Stig was used to compare the track times of the Chevrolet Corvette C6 and the TVR Sagaris, and raced Clarkson, in a BMW M5, with a Ferrari F430. In Clarkson's latest DVD, Supercar Showdown, The Stig (in a Porsche 911) raced Sabine Schmitz (in an Audi R8) around the Ascari track in Spain to see which was the fastest.
White Stig posted the fastest lap time of 1:44.4 around the Top Gear test track for the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car segment, until his record was beaten by formula 1 racing driver Rubens Barrichello with a lap time of 1:44:3; Clarkson now occasionally refers to this in his weekly introduction to the stig.
The New Stig was discovered by Jeremy, Richard and James in Bethleham as a baby. Top Gear then brought this new stig along with them. When he was old enough to drive (a month, due to the growing speed of stigs) he set the fastest official time on the power lap board using the Ariel Atom 500. Then in the same episode (Season 16 Episode 1) he taught John Bishop how to drive the Kia Cee'd to drive around the test track. Bishop went on to be the fastest star in a reasonably priced car ever, with a time of 1.42.8, faster than Tom Cruise. New Stig was first seen in the 2011 Top Gear live tour. He was originally believed to be bred at the Top Secret Top Gear Farm. It is unknown why this idea was cut from the series. He is mostly white, with black accents on the boots, gloves and shoulders.
Series 10, Episode 4 featured the presenters driving across Botswana. To test the performance of the three cars used by the presenters around a dirt rally track, Clarkson introduced "The Stig's African cousin." This incarnation of The Stig was black, wore only Puma shoes, a loincloth and his' iconic white helmet. He set lap times for two of the cars, but walked away from the track when Clarkson's Lancia Beta failed to start. The others joked that African Stig was trying to get a respectable time by walking the course, and didn't bother using the car as it was too slow..
Series 9, Episode 3 was set in the United States, with the presenters purchasing American cars and driving them across four states whilst on holiday. One of the challenges set for the presenters was for the cars to set a lap time around a racetrack, for which "the Stig's American cousin" was introduced. He was nicknamed "Big Stig" by the presenters because of his obese appearance and was noted by Clarkson to have a "very relaxed driving style".
Series 12, Episode 1sawthe 5000-pound Lorry Challenge, and the first event was to powerslide a lorry. To prove this was possible, the Three were introduced to "The Stig's Lorry-Driving Cousin," who was quickly nicknamed "Rig Stig." The presenters remarked he was as fat as American Stig, but unlike his American cousin, Rig Stig had a large tan on his right arm. It could be argued that the lorry powerslide challenge was a farce: Rig Stig was using a racing-modified MAN truck and the presenters were just driving stock lorries. Nobody was able to perform a drift. Jeremy was cut by the gear lever trying this.
Series 12 Episode 1 included a series preview montage, which mentioned "the Stig's Communist cousin", shown riding a motorbike wearing a red jumpsuit, and being ridden by the motorbike, as a Russian Reversal. The footage of Stig's Communist cousin was included in the extra materials of the Top Gear Great Adventures 2 DVD.
Janet Stig Porter
Series 14 Introduced "The Stig's Vegetarian Cousin", Janet Stig-Porter. This incarnation of The Stig wore all green overalls and similarly-coloured Diamondback Helmet, featuring solar panel stickers on top, as well as green socks, in Birkenstocks. This Stig was apparently killed by the poisonous diesel exhaust, when testing the Top Gear electric car, the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust around a circuit in Series 14, Episode 2.
In Series 15 Episode 2, Jeremy, Richard and James were given the challenge of having their cars do a power lap around a ciruit, but they were not going to drive their cars, and instead this introduced The Stig's German Cousin. This new Stig looks completely the same as the original White Stig (a reference to Micheal Schumacher), but the presenters noticed he had a mullet dangling out of his helmet. The Presenters then nick-named him "Stiggy Ray Cyrus".
While "relaxing" in the pool at a private racetrack, twice a bikini-clad woman is seen behind the Stig, wearing a white racing helmet.
Stig rejectsStigs are bred at the Top Secret Top Gear Farm. Stigs, ranging from white, to black, red, blue, green, yellow and pink, are bred freerange, GM-free, and watched for potential Stig-ness. Most are violent, or completely useless. Some have amazing talent, like painting, and some have only rudementary car knowledge. But it was from here that the New Stig was bred.
Rejects are shipped around the world to be used as crash-test dummies, being cheaper than actual dummies.
In the first episode of series 18, during the road trip across Italy, the Stig's Italian cousin is introduced. Stepping out of a trailer, wearing a white helmet, white gloves and a dark grey Armani suit, accompanied by a number of lightly dressed ladies.
Introduced in the second episode of series 18, during the visit to China. This version of the Stig is a martial artist and attacks James May and Jeremy Clarkson after kicking down a door. He then attacks the film crew before getting in James' and Jeremy's Chinese cars to post lap times. He also attacks a number of marshalls working at the track and finally kicks James in "the plums". He was mentioned as "The worst Stig we've ever had" by Jeremy.
The Australian stig was seen in the UK vs Australia challange. He has a similar apparence to the normal Stig except he was upside down.
The Stig's fastest official lap time around the Top Gear test track was 1:13.8 in an Pagani Huayra. Faster times were previously been posted in a Renault F1 car (0.59.0),, an Aston Martin DBR9 (1.08.6) and a Caparo T1 (1:10.6), but none of these were deemed street-practical due to inability to navigate regulation UK speed bumps, or because they cannot be purchased by the public.
Michael Schumacher, dressed in The Stig's racing gear, drove the track in 1:10.7 minutes in a Ferrari FXX. This time was later removed due to the Ferrari FXX using slick tyres.
- Main article: The Stig's identity
The Stig's true identity is never revealed on the show, and in order to maintain the secrecy, all shots show him wearing full racing overalls and matching Simpson Diamondback helmet. All that can be seen from the gap between his helmet and jumpsuit is that he is a white male with dark hair. It is also known that he wears Size 9 racing boots as discovered by the Sunday Times and a well-timed camera flash managed to show The Stig's blue eyes and speaks in an northern irish accent as heard by an Auto Trader journalist.
The identity of Black Stig was revealed to be Perry McCarthy when his book Flat Out, Flat Broke was published in 2003. McCarthy is a former Formula 1 driver and test driver for the Benetton, Arrows and Williams teams, and also tested for BMW F1, however its been rumoured the existing Stig hails from a F1 testing background and is speculated he's tested for F1 legend Michael Schumacher.
The Stig's identity was "revealed" to be Michael Schumacher on the show when the cast was interviewing him on 21st June, 2009, however this is implied to be a elaborate gag after Schumacher (as The Stig) did an inept lap. In 2010 Michael Schumacher rejoined F1, racing for the new Mercedes-Benz F1 Team which would leave no time to travel back and forth to England to do a "Fast Lap" in the cars being tested by the Top Gear team.
On August 19, 2010 the BBC was revealed to have taken legal action against publisher HarperCollins for attempting to publish the autobiography of racing driver Ben Collins. Inside, the book reveals the true identity of the Stig. The case was dropped, however, and it was revealed that the White Stig is Ben Collins. Ben Collins is an experienced racing driver who has competed in (from earliest to latest):
- V8 Supercars
- FIA GT3
- Le Mans Series
- British GT Championship
- FIA Sportscars
- French Formula Three
- Indy Lights
- Int'l Sports Racing
- FIA GT Championship
- British Formula Three
- Formula Vauxhall Junior
Another source of entertainment for the presenters is the music The Stig listens to whilst doing Power Laps around the Top Gear track. Often a specific genre will be chosen for one or more series. These have included power ballads, one-hit wonders, easy listening, country and western, prog rock, baroque, advertising jingles, foreign language tapes, romantic novels, salesman techniques, self-help tapes, Morse code, bagpipes, vuvuzelas (with Jeremy commenting "He must be the only man in the country who likes them"), and, most recently, the BBC Radio 4 drama series The Archers.
The hosts of the show will often introduce footage of The Stig by offering humorous speculations as to his identity, such as "Some say that his voice can only be heard by cats, and that he is banned from the city of Chichester. All we know is... He's called The Stig!" The introductions often include references to topical news stories. Previously, Stig's name would be used in formal introductions, such as "His Holiness, The Stig!".
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