The BBC has refused to comment on media reports 'outing' the mysterious figure who has garnered a cult following as The Stig on hit show Top Gear.

The Stig has been a key part of the motoring show since it was re-launched in its current format a number of years ago, with the figure being used to perform high-speed laps of the Top Gear test track in order to see which cars come top of the show's Power Lap board. The Stig has also been given the role of training celebrities ahead of their go in the 'Star in a reasonably-priced car' segment of the show.

The identity of the Stig has always remained secret, with the initial 'Black Stig' eventually being revealed as former F1 racer Perry McCarthy - who was then 'killed off' after 22 episodes in the role.

The Stig was then reborn as 'White Stig' and has continued to be a firm favourite with show fans - who have continued to ask the question of who the figure actually is.

While the identity has remained a secret in order to maintain the mystery of the figure, a number of British newspapers have now named the figure as racing driver Ben Collins.

The former single-seater and GT ace has appeared on the show a number of times as himself and has also taken part in high-performance driving on films like the latest James Bond outing, Quantum of Solace - where he was joined by a number of other racers including Neil Cunningham and Mark Higgins.

While the 'papers have broken with convention and named Collins, the BBC has refused to make comment on the reports, insisting only that it 'never comments on speculation as to who, or what, The Stig is'.

It is believed however that there is more than one figure who acts as The Stig depending on the work involved on the show.

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