- One controversial segment of Top Gear never aired because Peugeot refused to provide the car after a negative review of the show.
- The Stig came up with the idea of the car football, which became one of the show’s most famous and fan-favorite gimmicks.
- Ben Collins, who played The Stig, wanted to reveal his face when leaving the show, but the show kept his identity a secret until he was legally allowed to reveal it.
The Stig is a very recognizable TV character thanks to his iconic white racing suit and helmet, and of course his appearance on the globally successful BBC motoring show Higher gear. Ben Collins, the lucky man who played him between 2003 and 2010, has since risen to a similar level of fame after becoming the face of the iconic name.
Now a successful YouTuber and stuntman, Ben has made a guest appearance with Mike Fernie on DriveTribe. Ben was in the hot seat piloting the DriveTribe RAM TRX while Mike answered a few questions about various aspects of his career. Ben did his best to answer them, revealing some interesting tidbits about what went on behind the scenes higher gear, his racing career and a controversial segment on the show that had to be deleted.
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One is controversial Higher gear The film was never broadcast
Jumping right in, Mike wanted to know if there were any Higher gear features were ever cut before airing. One immediately came to mind because it was too controversial, although the other one he remembered was on the verge of shrinking.
The first was a studio section, filmed mainly Higher gear hangar. The French brand Peugeot heard about it Higher gear would be rude about their latest minivan, the Peugeot 806, which once raced at Spa-Francorchamps, so they took action. After an example car was scheduled to be delivered to the TG studio to appear on camera, Peugeot refused to provide it.
Why Higher gear The segment was banned
- Higher gear did not comment on the Peugeot 806 minivan, and Peugeot decided not to provide a car for filming in the studio
- Shaw responded by showing a bucket of horse manure, which made Peugeot very angry
- Vauxhall was not happy Higher gear securing a character kill for his Vectra VXR model
- Jeremy Clarkson described it as “awful” and “one of the worst chassis I’ve ever come across”.
This upended TG’s plans as they suddenly lost an important prop for the show at the last minute and were unable to show a full car review. Infamous Jeremy Clarkson instead proceeded to give a not particularly positive review of the car before the camera moved to where the car was supposed to be. In its place stood a can of horse manure, hinting at TG’s thoughts about the car. The stunt caused them little trouble, but the might of the BBC protected the team from any repercussions.
Another concerned Vauxhall, a brand that hides a small shark in all its cars, the Vectra VXR, a performance sedan created for the British market in 2006. Jeremy found that it was suffering from terminal understeer and did nothing to hide his displeasure with the car during his inspection. With Jeremy describing it as “one of the worst chassis I’ve ever come across”, Ben revealed that the film was initially even more critical of the Vectra. They had to go back and cut some other aspects during the edit to avoid being too negative about the car.
The Stig gave birth to the idea of car football
One of the most famous tricks Higher gear a mini-football game was held. Using Toyota Aygo small city cars, the target was a group of racers and owners Richard Hammond and James May to shoot a giant soccer ball into a goal the size of a car.
Ben said that he originally had the idea to do something about football with cars. He showed a film where he would go up against an international player in a car to see who could score more goals. The Higher gear The production team took the idea and refined it, eventually coming up with the concept of car football.
He added that the film was meant to be non-contact, although the drivers were constantly getting ahead of themselves and letting their aggression get the better of them. The latter film was a huge hit with fans, and the format was repeated on the show in subsequent years.
Ben wanted to enable face detection Higher gear
Mike then recalled the time Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher appeared in an episode Higher gear pretending to be Stig. After “revealing” himself, the show then pretended he did a devastating and slow lap of the track in a reasonably priced Suzuki Liana.
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Ben shared that he wished he had been revealed when he left the show in 2010, even though the show was determined to keep his identity a secret. He eventually went the legal route and got the right to reveal that he played the Stig.
The fastest Formula 1 drivers who have ever done it Higher gear Test track
Source (BBC One Top Gear)
He also said that seven-time Formula 1 world champion Schumacher refused to drive a proper lap in an inexpensive car. Instead, he preferred to focus on the touch of the powerful Ferrari FXX, a track-oriented car based on the Ferrari Enzo.
Ben Collins’ advice to his 18-year-old self: Don’t try so hard
Bringing the interview to a close, Mike asked Ben one last question. He asked him if there was anything he would say to his 18-year-old self if he had the chance. After a short pause, he replied that he advised not to try too hard.
Expanding on this, he feels that he tried too hard to stand out in his youth. He revealed that he destroyed three cars in his first season of racing, and he felt that this happened because he started racing at an older age than usual. He was desperate to impress and reach the groundbreaking F1 series, but later realized he needed to keep his emotions in check better.
Ben recalled how he almost destroyed a Formula 3 car during a race. During a run at Rockingham Motor Speedway in the UK, he found the fast line through a particularly fast chicane section. Running the sequence at about 135 mph, Ben hit the curb on the inside of the first part of the turn. This lifted the front of the car into the air, which meant the rear scraped the ground.
How Ben’s F1 dreams came true
- Didn’t chase a drive with a top British formula team
- The team ended up winning the title alongside future F1 and IndyCar ace Justin Wilson
- Opted to race in America rather than sign with promising F3000 operation
- That team eventually won the title with Wilson eventually reaching Formula One
The car then landed hard on the road and Ben finished the race. He later discovered that he had suffered a concussion from the impact and the car’s gearbox was badly cut from being dragged around the track for so long. Ben’s in-depth interview provided a fascinating insight into his fascinating and interesting career as a man who seems to have lived a thousand lives in a single period. It is safe to say that he is a very happy person.
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Sources: YouTube @ Drivetribe, YouTube @ BBC Studios, BBC One Top Gear, Crash.net, Flickr @ Ben Hildebrand, Flickr @ David Merrett, YouTube @ JayEmm on Cars, YouTube @ Top Gear, Flickr @ crash71100