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The Stig Versus The BMW?

Dec 10, 2007
The Stig is the unidentified test driver of vehicles on the favourite BBC Sunday night programme, Top Gear. So far unbeaten, The Stig's laptimes are breathtaking.

However, he came very close to being beaten last Sunday by Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton performed a lap in 1 minute 44.6 seconds in wet, oily conditions. This came in at a mere .2 of a second behind The Stigs 1 minute and 44.4. And his performance was in dry conditions.

Lewis Hamilton has thrown down the gauntlet to The Stig with a challenge for both drivers to compete in the same weather conditions.

Fans of Top Gear will undoubtedly have joined the debate over the true identity of The Stig. William Hill bookmakers have stunt driver Russ Swift as the hot favourite at odds of 2/1 with Damon Hill at 4/1. Ben Collins is a little known racer who has appeared on Top Gear as part of a parachuting stunt and this led to speculation over whether or not he was the secret Stig. However, bookies surmise that at just over 6' tall, Collins does not fit the bill.

Maybe they are all wrong. Personally, I think The Stig is a woman. I mean, you only have to look at the driving skills coupled with the fact that there is a definite lack of accidents. It's well known that women have far fewer accidents than men. Maybe its Sandy Togsvig or Dame Judi Dench? Well, anything is possible. Maybe that's why they won't reveal The Stig's identity because it would dispel all myths about women drivers!

The Stig has set some of his best lap times in BMW's. With an amazingly rapid 1 minute 26 seconds in the BMW Z4M, closely followed by 1 minute 28 seconds in a BMW M3 CSL, this has to be one of his favourite cars. With its smooth handling, precision cornering and ultimate power, all the BMW's tested by The Stig have come in at under 1 minute and 32 seconds per lap.

Viewers of this week's Top Gear would also have been among the first to witness the test drive of a new BMW currently being developed. This BMW is unique in the fact that on board computers can 'learn' a route and then drive itself. After only one drive around the track by presenter Jeremy Clarkson, the car was able to memorize the route and then take over.

Looking petrified, Clarkson let go of the wheel, removed his feet from the pedals and shrieked as the BMW took off, braking at the last minute on bends. The BMW completed the lap leaving Clarkson in one piece. However, the general feeling was that it would be extremely difficult to trust this on the road. Not due to any problem with the car but simply human nature to want to be in control of such power.

So, Top Gear team, make the Hamilton challenge more interesting. Let's see The Stig take on Lewis Hamilton and a woman driver, in dry conditions, in a BMW.
About the Author
Motor racing expert Shaun Parker at lap times set in a BMW by a TV celebrity. To find out more please visit http://www.cooperbmw.co.uk/
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