A racing driver who was a stunt double for James Bond has been linked to the role of Top Gear’s motoring mystery man The Stig in financial documents.
Ben Collins is one of several drivers whose names have been put forward as being the man who regularly takes to the track on the BBC Two show, but famously never removes his helmet on screen.
The current Stig is the second in the role. The first Stig, Perry McCarthy, was dropped in 2003 after his identity was uncovered.
Accounts for Collins Autosport Ltd from 2003 – the year the present Stig first got behind the wheel – describe it as ‘a cornerstone year’.
They say the company, which relies ‘on the driving services of Ben Collins’, benefited from his track success.
They state: “In addition, driving services were also provided for the BBC mainly in the Top Gear programme which promotes Ben’s driving reputation and offers good long-term prospects for continuing income”.
Ben, described on his website as ‘an endurance racing specialist’, is also a leading stunt driver for film and television and appeared on screen in the last Bond film Quantum Of Solace.
Despite the latest evidence, the BBC insists The Stig’s identity remains a secret. Only a handful of bosses and Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are said to know who he is.
Ben, 33, was first rumoured to be The Stig after reports last year said a builder working at his house found the trademark suit and gloves on display in a cabinet.
It has also been claimed The Stig is played by several different drivers, with former Formula One world champion Damon Hill among the men linked to the job.