Ben Collins is The Stig… Wait, didn’t we already know this?

Now, if you haven’t been keeping up over the last few years, hundreds of pictures, articles, reports, and whatnot, have shown Ben Collins to be The Stig. In fact, there have been so many that I never reported on it, because who really cares? If you’re a true Top Gear fan, then you know it’s one of the biggest thrills of the show; this man in a white helmet and racing suit drives every car out there and can create lap times that no one else in the world can. That’s what was great about the show. You had no idea about this creature behind the helmet and black visor.

There were reports that have been coming out for the past few weeks about the BBC and Ben Collins being in a legal battle over his autobiography that he’s getting ready to publish. They claimed that it was a breach of contract and confidentiality agreement the BBC had with Collins. But a judge didn’t see it that way, and found Mr. Collins was in the right regarding his book.

Collins’ lawyer maintains that there’s nothing in the book that hasn’t already been known by the general public.

Now the BBC has officially fired Ben Collins as The Stig.

Some say that he’s in financial trouble, because his racing team, Collins AutoSport, has posted losses of roughly £1 million (just over $1.5 million) over about 5 years, and that his family life has struggled while being behind the mask. He was paid £250,000, or $386,000 by HarperCollins to write his book, The Man In The White Suit. However, I say he’s a little bleh over the incident. Think about it: You’re The Stig, the greatest racing driver in the world… and no one knows it’s you. People love you, but they have no idea that it’s actually you. And I’m sure that he was a little annoyed that it probably wasn’t always him under his trademark suit. I’m curious as to how much money Ben Collins made as The Stig. We know that the main presenters of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, each make a good bit of coin.

But there’s one thing I don’t understand… I think most Top Gear fans believe that while Ben Collins may be the actual Stig, there have been other professional racing drivers that have donned the white suit and helmet. And While Top Gear was doing a live event at the Nürburgring, The Stig was seen piloting race cars around the track, but at the same time, 1,100 miles away, someone was sent to photograph Collins’ house to see if he was there or not. And he was, playing with his two young daughters in the yard.

Personally, I would like to see Ben Collins stay in the suit, but I understand why he won’t be. And to go along with that, I think The Stig will soldier on just fine.

Any votes for who the new Stig could be?

[Sources: The Mirror, The Guardian, The Daily Mail]