The BBC is locked in a legal battle with The Stig over revelations the tame racing driver is about to reveal his identity.
It’s understood the man behind the mask is planning to release an autobiography on his exploits as a race driver and star of the hit BBC2 motoring show.
However, according to the BBC any official publication of his identity will breach contractual and confidentiality obligations he has with the award-winning programme.
The Stig is thought to be unhappy at the potential earnings he is missing out on.
While Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have raked in millions from the show’s success in publishing, TV and advertising deals, The Stig is thought to earn just £5,000 to £10,000 an episode as one of the programme’s integral stars.
A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC is in a legal dispute over the publication of a book relating to Top Gear as this breaches agreed contractual and confidentiality obligations relating to the show.”
His identity is a closely guarded secret with only the show’s stars and handful of BBC executives privileged to the information.
The internet is awash with rumours of The Stig’s true identity with Damon Hill often touted as the tame racing driver. F1 legend Michael Schumacher was even revealed as The Stig in one episode as a publicity stunt.
Most people believe The Stig is 33-year-old race and stunt driver Ben Collins.
At Collins’ Bristol home yesterday, his children’s nanny answered the door and declined to comment with a wry smile before closing the curtains of the plush residence.
Former F1 driver Perry McCarthy played the original Stig, leaving the show in 2003 after his identity was revealed in his book Flat Out, Flat Broke.