One of the best-kept secrets of the automotive world was uncovered over the weekend. Top Gear's famously unidentified 'Stig' driving specialist is, according to reports, Ben Collins.
A recent report by the Sunday Times in England revealed a contract that was signed by Collins Autosport - a company owned by Ben Collins - and the BBC, in 2003. The contract stated Collins Autosport would provide 'driving services for the BBC, mainly in the Top Gear program,' offering 'good long-term prospects and continuing income.'
Although no names are specifically mentioned in the contract, speculators say BBC signed with the Collins company on purpose so names couldn't be isolated.
The news isn't much of a surprise to the deepest of Top Gear fans though. About two years ago, Ben Collins was reported to have identified himself as the Stig in a photo frame shop in Bristol, UK. Reports said Ben approached the shop worker with a very unique portrait of the Stig and said that it was him.
Keen fans of the older episodes may also remember Ben Collins stepping in as the in-house stunt driver for various skits and challenges, openly introduced as Ben Collins.
So although the news isn't completely definite, hard evidence is difficult to ignore. No word yet if the character will remain in the show, or if Ben will continue to work for the BBC program. Fans and producers are worried that dropping the character off the show may impair its overall success.