The BBC has lost its legal battle to block publication of a book that reveals the identity of Top Gear’s driver The Stig.

The Stig has now been revealed as racing driver Ben Collins, according to BBC Online.

The High Court refused to grant the BBC an injunction to stop HarperCollins’ publication of the ex-Formula Three driver’s autobiography, which claims he’s the mysterious driver on the popular BBC Two show.

The BBC began legal action against HarperCollins last week, claiming that the planned book would breach a confidentiality agreement and that any revelation would spoil viewers’ enjoyment.

Until now, only BBC executives and Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May knew the identity of The Stig, who test drives cars on the show wearing a white body suit and blacked-out helmet.

Mr Collins was linked to the role last month, after financial reports of his company were obtained by a national newspaper.

HarperCollins said it would “vigorously defend” its right to publish the book, adding it was “disappointed that the BBC has chosen to spend licence fee payers’ money to suppress this book”.

But Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman attacked the publisher.

Writing on the Top Gear website, he said the BBC had a right to protect Stig’s anonymity “from a bunch of chancers” who were “hoping to cash in on it”.