The Stig, the mystery driver on the BBC’s motoring series Top Gear has been “revealed” as racing driver Michael Schumacher.

The seven-times Formula One champion dressed as the show’s elusive driver – who tests high performance cars and whose identity has been kept a secret – on Sunday’s show and removed his helmet during an interview with presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

However it remains unclear whether he really is The Stig or whether it was just a stunt.

Clarkson had revealed in his column in The Sun this weekend that The Stig’s identity would come as a “staggering surprise” to viewers.

The driver had previously been named in the papers as ex-stunt driver Ben Collins, who has worked on such blockbusters as the Bond film Quantum Of Solace – but the BBC refused to confirm or deny these rumours.

Clarkson said that while filming the scenes leading up to the Stig’s identity being revealed, “hardened emotionless camera crews said the hair on the back of their neck prickled”.

“As a television moment, it’s up there with Neil Armstrong walking on the corpse of JR Ewing.”

The original Stig, driver Perry McCarthy, was replaced after he revealed his identity in his autobiography in 2002.