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The Stig is the name given to the racing driver character on the BBC Television show Top Gear. In the show he is cast as a mysterious "Tame Racing Driver".<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> He is credited alongside Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May as a presenter in the end credits.

The Stig's primary functions on the show are to post Power Lap times in various cars around the Top Gear Test Track in Dunsfold Park, and to train each week's celebrity guest in setting a lap time in the "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" feature on the show. In addition, The Stig carries out other driving and personal appearance duties when the need arises. The Stig has also appeared on some of Clarkson's motoring specials, such as Heaven and Hell, Thriller, and Duel.

The identity of the character is a closely guarded secret. The BBC has officially stated that it does not "comment on speculation as to who or what the Stig is."<ref name="times-open-secret"/> Efforts to conceal the real identity have included intentional hoaxes, such as having seven-time Formula One World Champion driver Michael Schumacher dress up and pretend to be the character.

Origins

The Stig's name is derived from presenter Jeremy Clarkson's days at Repton School where, according to Clarkson, new pupils were always called "Stig".<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> A proposed name for The Stig was originally "The Gimp" until protests from Perry McCarthy put a stop to the idea.<ref name=autotrader>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> There have been two official Stigs on the show, while various other Stigs have made cameo appearances for particular episodes.

Black Stig

Template:Infobox character

The first Stig wore a black racing suit 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, worthless opinions, and a disorder described by Clarkson as "Mansell Syndrome". Its job description was to "just go out there and drive fast".<ref name=TopGear1.1>Top Gear Series 1, Episode 1 (20 October 2002)</ref>

Black Stig posted a lap time of 1:46.0 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 it was shown driving a modified Jaguar XJ-S off the flight deck of HMS Invincible during a stunt and landing in the sea.<ref>Top Gear Series 3, Episode 1 (26 October 2003)</ref><ref>BBCWorldwide, YouTube. This was because he had revealed his identity. Top Gear - The Stig - HMS Invincible - BBC Accessed (26 November 2008)</ref>

White Stig

After The Black Stig was 'killed off', a new "White Stig" was introduced, wearing a white racing suit and helmet.<ref>Top Gear Series 3, Episode 2 (2 November 2003)</ref> 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,<ref>For example Top Gear Series 7, Episode 1 Isle of Man Test</ref> and racing against the hosts.<ref>For example Top Gear Series 8, Episode 7 (23 July 2006) The Hosts building a Caterham Kitcar vs. The Stig driving one from Caterham HQ</ref> He has also been recruited to undertake other tests.<ref>For example Top Gear Series 10, Episode 5 (11 November 2007) Crossing London/Public Transport Challenge</ref> White Stig has also appeared outside Top Gear in some of Clarkson's motoring specials, such as 2005's Heaven and Hell, 2006's The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, 2007's Supercar Showdown, 2008's Thriller, and 2009's Duel.

The Stig also collected Top Gear's third award for Best Factual Programme at the 2008 British National Television Awards. The Stig did not speak, but supplied an acceptance letter from the rest of the crew, read out by Griff Rhys Jones.<ref name=bbc-ntv-2008 >{{#if: In pictures: National TV Awards

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Startquotationmarks.png "If you are reading this, please remember to give The Stig the award in his left hand because the right one is magnetic. Also, it's probably best to keep him away from the cast of Coronation Street since he seems to have gotten it in his head that Northerners are edible. Thanks again for the award. - Jeremy, Richard and James". Endquotationmarks.png
{{| —{{{4}}}|}} {{| {{{5}}}|}}


White Stig also posted the fastest lap time yet of 1:44.4 around the Top Gear test track for the "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment.

Other Stigs

There have been various cameo appearances by other Stigs on Top Gear.

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. This Stig was nicknamed "Big Stig" by the presenters because of his rotund appearance<ref>Top Gear Series 9, Episode 3 (2007-02-11)</ref> and was noted by Clarkson to have a "very relaxed driving style".<ref>BBC Channel, YouTube. Top Gear Series 9, Episode 3 (2007-02-11) - Immediately after 6:25, Clarkson: The Cadillac certainly seemed to suit Big Stig's relaxed driving style.</ref>

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 had dark skin, and wore only Puma racing boots, a loincloth and the 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 "in a hurry", and decided "not to take your [Clarkson's] car".<ref>Top Gear Series 10 Episode 4 (4 November 2007)</ref>

Series 12 Episode 1 featured "The Stig's Lorry-Driving Cousin" (nicknamed by Clarkson as "Rig Stig" after a remark by Hammond at this Stig's arrival), who represented the stereotypical lorry driver, with the whole right sleeve of his white racing suit tanned brown, and having a rather portly appearance. He demonstrated to Clarkson, May and Hammond that it was possible to powerslide a lorry cab.<ref name="series12ep1">Template:Cite episode</ref>

Series 12 Episode 1 included a series preview montage, which mentioned "The Stig's Communist Cousin", shown riding a motorbike wearing a red jumpsuit.<ref name="series12ep1" /> The footage of Stig's Communist cousin was included in the extra materials of the Top Gear Great Adventures 2 DVD.<ref>Template:Cite video</ref>

Series 14 Episode 2 introduced "The Stig's Vegetarian Cousin", wearing an all-green ensemble consisting of overalls with solar panels on the top of his helmet, and Birkenstock sandals with socks. This Stig supposedly died from inhaling the exhaust fumes of the hybrid car he was testing at the time. He was nicknamed "Janet Stig Porter" by Clarkson.<ref name="series14ep2">Template:Cite episode</ref>

International Top Gear Stigs

Top Gear Australia's version of The Stig is similarly attired to the UK White Stig, and his identity is likewise kept a secret. Marketing in the lead up to the series had stated he was "The Stig's Australian cousin",<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> but in the first episode he was introduced as just "The Stig". In the first episode of the second series, co-host Steve Pizzati clarified that he is an 'Australian Stig' and is not intended to be the same Stig from the UK series.<ref>Top Gear Australia Series 2, Episode 1 (11 May 2009)</ref> Earlier, Pizzati had suggested that The Stig have an 'Australian' name, such as "Stiggo", but the other presenters refused.<ref>Top Gear Australia Series 1, Episode 1 (29 July 2008)</ref>

Top Gear Russia also features their own version of The Stig, nicknamed "Stigushka" by the hosts.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Records

The Stig's fastest official lap time around the Top Gear test track was 1 minute 10.7 seconds in a Ferrari FXX <ref>Top Gear Series 13, Episode 1 (21 June 2009)</ref>, although this was later removed as it was revealed that the lap was done on slick tyres, which contravenes the rules. Faster times had previously been posted in a Renault F1 car (0:59.0),<ref>Top Gear Series 5, Episode 8 (2004-12-19)</ref> an Aston Martin DBR9 (1:08.6)<ref>Top Gear Series 6, Episode 6 (2005-07-03)</ref> and a Caparo T1 (1:10.6),<ref>Top Gear Series 10, Episode 5 (2007-11-11)</ref> but the times of these cars were not included on the Lap Board either because they were deemed not to be street-practical because of their being unable to run over a "sleeping policeman" safely, or because they could not be purchased by the public. The fastest lap prior to the FXX and reinstated after the discovery of slick tyres was in a Gumpert Apollo (1:17.1).<ref>Top Gear Series 10, Episode 9 (9 December 2007)</ref>

Identity

The Stig's true identity has never been revealed on the show. In order to maintain the secrecy, all shots show him wearing full Alpinestars racing coveralls bearing a small Grand Prix Racewear (a motorsport retailer) logo and matching Simpson racing helmet (originally a Speedway RX model, in later series a Diamondback model).<ref name=FlatOut> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref><ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref> 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 10 racing boots as discovered by the Sunday Times<ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref> and a well-timed camera flash managed to show The Stig's eyes by Auto Trader.<ref name=autotrader2> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Although The Stig does talk with celebrities while preparing them for their "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" lap times, he is almost never shown talking on screen, and in both the programme and Top Gear magazine articles he is portrayed as being unable or unwilling to talk.<ref name=TopGearMagazine102008>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref name=TopGearBrainStig> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Clarkson has written that The Stig is not permitted to talk on screen because "any opinion he might voice on cars would be rubbish",<ref name=TopGear1.1/><ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> though he has been caught speaking on camera.

The identity of Black Stig was revealed to be Perry McCarthy when his book Flat Out, Flat Broke was published in 2002. McCarthy is a former Formula One driver for Andrea Moda. He was also the test driver for the Benetton, Arrows, and Williams teams and also tested for BMW F1.<ref name=autotrader/><ref name=FlatOut/>

The identity of White Stig has not been officially revealed and is regarded as a carefully guarded secret by the BBC.<ref name=DailyMail8> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref name=TelegraphClaim> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Racing drivers ranging from Julian Bailey,<ref name=DailyMail8/><ref> {{#if: 'The Stig' is unmasked

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   |  “So, is he The Stig? "No", Ben laughs, as we order a coffee in the bar of the Avon Gorge Hotel. "Those rumours are absolute nonsense." That said, YouTube is flooded with films showing an unbroadcast scene where The Stig speaks - sounding uncannily like Ben.”
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{{#if: Trackside - Who is The Stig?

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Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Chris Goodwin,<ref name=DailyMail8/> Damon Hill,<ref name=RussSwiftInterview> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref name=TopGearHillSIARPC> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref><ref name=StigLockNess> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref> Heikki Kovalainen,<ref name=DailyMail8/> Tim Schrick,<ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref><ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref><ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>, Michael Schumacher,<ref name=StigLockNess/><ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> and Russ Swift<ref name=DailyMail8/><ref name=AutotraderSwiffCollins/><ref name=RussSwiftInterview/> have been speculated as being The Stig at one point or another by the press, other racing drivers, and fans of the show.

Perry McCarthy,<ref name=autotrader/> Russ Swift,<ref name=RussSwiftInterview/> and an unnamed former Stig<ref name=DailyMail8/> have claimed that there is more than one driver who plays the role of The Stig. James May claims that there is a clause in The Stig's contract that should his identity be exposed, either through his own willingness or via a member of the Top Gear staff (including the hosts of Top Gear), he has to be fired. Black Stig was let go via this clause; the same clause would apply also to White Stig under the same circumstances.<ref> Template:Cite episode(Start time: around the 2 Hour Mark)</ref>

Specialist drivers and stuntmen have also been hinted at playing the role of The Stig; Stuntmen Terry Grant and Russ Swift have been hinted as donning The Stig's trademark racing suit.<ref name=DailyMail8/> The Winter Olympics special episode of Top Gear showed The Stig doing a ski jump using a snowmobile; the driver performing the ski jump stunt was claimed to be Dan Lang, a Swedish snowmobile cross driver.<ref name=DailyMail8/><ref> {{#if: Han hoppar med skoter

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There has been some criticism of efforts to identify The Stig.<ref name=DailyMail8/><ref> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> The Times criticised the outing of Ben Collins by the Daily Telegraph in an article which asserted that the "identity of the white-suited Stig ... has been an open secret within the motoring world for some years, with newspapers refraining from publishing his name, to uphold the spirit of the programme."<ref name="times-open-secret"/>

The BBC and Top Gear have varied their responses to The Stig's true identity. One official BBC response to such speculation is, "We never comment on speculation as to who or what The Stig is."<ref name=DailyMail8/> However, comical and joke responses to Stig's true identity are sometimes presented as well.<ref name=TopgearResponse1> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref name=TopgearResponse2> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref name=TopgearResponse3> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref name=TopGearNeverSeen> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> In one example, after The Stig drove an all-black Ferrari FXX<ref>http://www.motorauthority.com/schumies-special-edition-black-ferrari-fxx.html</ref> around the Top Gear Test Track, he was brought into the studio, and "revealed" as Michael Schumacher.<ref>Top Gear's Stig removes his helmet on BBC news (Posted June 21, 2009)</ref> Clarkson then stated at the end of the show "I'm not sure if Michael Schumacher is The Stig" after showing a comedy clip of Schumacher (dressed up as The Stig) supposedly struggling to drive the Suzuki Liana, and getting lost around the test track.<ref>http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/090622092912.shtml</ref> The FXX that was driven on the track was Michael Schumacher's own custom-built black FXX, the last one of 30 manufactured, which explains why Schumacher was The Stig on that one occasion.<ref>http://www.topgear.com/content/features/stories/2006/12/stories/17/1.html</ref>

Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

The show has alluded to The Stig with Formula One drivers that visit the show. Damon Hill appeared as a "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" and when asked directly by Clarkson if he was The Stig, Hill played on the fact that he may be The Stig, but then denied it.<ref name=TopGearHillSIARPC/> Mark Webber's appearance on the show was marked at the conclusion of his lap with Clarkson presenting him with an "I AM THE STIG" T-shirt.<ref>Top Gear Series 6, Episode 10 (31 July 2005)</ref>

When former F1 driver Nigel Mansell appeared on the show, Jeremy Clarkson noted that The Stig theorised that the Suzuki Liana (the show's "reasonably priced car" at the time) could achieve a 1:44 time on the track.<ref>Top Gear Series 7, Episode 5 (11 December 2005) Clarkson: The Stig has always told us that track would give us a 1:44 in that car and I thought...</ref> Mansell proved The Stig's theory by lapping in a time of 1:44.6; The Stig subsequently posted a lap time of 1:44.4 in the Liana. During the review of Jenson Button's lap, Clarkson commented that he, as did most of the other F1 drivers, took very different racing lines from The Stig's.<ref>Top Gear Series 8, Episode 8 (30 July 2006)</ref>

Startquotationmarks.png Clarkson: "You do that line as well! Formula One drivers all do that and The Stig doesn't!"
Button: "Oh really?"
Clarkson: "No."
Button: "Well obviously The Stig isn't a Formula One Driver then."
Clarkson: "Might be."
Endquotationmarks.png
{{| —{{{4}}}|}} {{| {{{5}}}|}}


During Lewis Hamilton's visit to the show, Clarkson mentioned that he took the same line around the track as The Stig.<ref>Top Gear Series 10, Episode 8 (7 December 2007) Clarkson: Let's have a look, let's have a look. Whether you're using The Stig's line, or... no, that's where The Stig says you should go, all the other F1 drivers do it differently and go out wide</ref>

Listening habits

Another source of entertainment for the presenters is what The Stig listens to whilst doing Power Laps around the Top Gear test 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, progressive rock, whale songs, baroque, advertising jingles, foreign language tapes, romantic novels, salesman techniques, the hits of Elton John, the speeches of Margaret Thatcher, self-help tapes, Morse Code, pipe band music, and, most recently, Chas & Dave.

Introductions

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
[[Wikiquote:Top Gear#The_Stig|{Template:2]]

Beginning in Series 6, the hosts of the show often introduced footage of The Stig by offering humorous speculations as to his identity, such as, "Some say that the outline of his left nipple is exactly the same shape as the Nürburgring. And if you give him a really important job, he'll skive off and play croquet..." And end up saying, "All we know is... he's called The Stig!" <ref>Top Gear - Series 8, Episode 5 - 2006.06.04 (7:00 in, Clarkson introduces The Stig in review of the Prodrive P2) (BBCWorldwide YouTube link: Top Gear - Pro-Drive P2 Test Drive and Stig lap - BBC (February 20, 2008)).</ref> The introductions often include references to topical news stories. Prior to this change, The Stig's name would be used in formal introductions, such as "His Holiness, The Stig!".<ref>Top Gear - Bowler Wild Cat - BBC (6:10 in) BBCWorldwide on Youtube (5 April 2007)"</ref>

See Also

Template:Top Gear

External Link