The Man in the White Suit
The Stig, Le Mans, The Fast Lane and Me
Ever since the Black Stig disappeared off the front end of HMS Invincible in 2003, one question has captivated many of the 350 million viewers of Top Gear around the world: Who is the man in the white suit?
He shared a portacabin for seven years with Jeremy Clarkson's underwear, James May's PhD thesis and Richard Hammond's hairspray. His image is splashed across millions of items of cutting-edge merchandise, from books and alarm clocks, to bottles of bubble bath and some rather strange looking Easter eggs.
He’s lapped Dunsfold faster than Nigel Mansell, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. He’s guided hundreds of celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Sienna Miller and a blind ex-Artillery solder around the now legendary Top Gear track.
He’s raced wheel to wheel with the best of the best at Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans and Bathurst. He’s pitted a drug dealer's Mitsubishi Evo against a Trojan tank and a Jackal High Mobility Weapons Platform, and a Vauxhall Monaro against Chloe the Dancing Ninja.
He’s raced double-decker Routemasters against bendy buses at Lydden Hill. He’s hurtled an Aston Martin DBS around the hairpin bends at the edge of Lake Garda. He’s spent his weekends blowing stuff up as a fully fledged member of the Army.
And that’s just for starters.
Now, for the first time, The Man in the White Suit gets his kit off. His name is Ben Collins. This is his breathtakingly audacious story.
Published by HarperCollins on 16th September 2010, £20 hardback
Ben Collins was born in Bristol before moving to California, where he competed as a junior Olympic standard swimmer. When a career as a fighter pilot was cut short by a visit to the optician, Ben switched to cars.
Ben won races in just about every category he contested, from Formula Three to Le Mans Sportscars and GT. In 2003, racing for RML, he captured the European ASCAR title. When a lack of funding temporarily curtailed his racing career, Ben joined the Army Reserves. He also began a new venture working as a Hollywood stuntman.
Nearly eight years ago he became the fourth presenter on BBC TV's Top Gear programme. Known as The Stig, his task was to coach celebrities on how to get the best out of a "reasonably priced car", organise car chases through cities and across continents, and test hundreds of priceless cars, sometimes to the point of destruction. Thirteen series on, his alter ego, that "man in the white suit", is recognised by millions of Top Gear fans all around the world.
With his role as The Stig now over, Ben has returned to his first passion; motor racing. Earlier this year he rejoined the team that last gave him a championship title, RML. He co-drives the team's Lola HPD in the Le Mans Series with Mike Newton and Thomas Erdos, and shared a class win at the end of his first race with the squad in July 2010. Ben lives in the West Country of England with his wife Georgie and three children.
We will be posting a review of Ben's book here shortly. For further information, please contact the publishers, HarperCollins.
has recently launched a new website: Ben