Well the old one anyway. Seems from this article the the Black stig has given an interview. I thought he was dead though (see season 1 episode 1)
Fans of BBC’s Top Gear might know there has been more than one Stig.
But did you know the producers originally planned on calling him ‘The Gimp?’
Keith Collantine tracks down the man behind the mask.
What does a Stig have for breakfast? Strong black coffee and cigarettes.
After two years as Top Gear’s tame racing driver Perry McCarthy was released back into the wild in 2003.
I’m meeting him by the offices of his new business venture to find out about his time on the hit programme, his racing career - and to see if he will shed any light on the identity of the current Stig.
McCarthy originally attended a screen-test to be a Top Gear presenter. But then the producers conjured up the idea of having an anonymous racing driver – which they wanted to call ‘The Gimp’.
(Gimp (n) a usually derogatory term used to refer to a sexually submissive person, typically dressed in black leather.)
“I just said ‘no’,” he laughs. “I didn’t want to be known as ‘The Gimp’. Finally we settled on ‘The Stig’”
The idea behind having a racing driver test the cars was to give each machine a definitive fastest lap time. “I pushed for every last tenth of a second,” he says.
“There was no margin for error when I drove and there were some fairly lurid moments in the rain when ‘black Stiggy’ was heading for disaster in something that cost an awful lot of money.”
Stripped of his menacing alter ego McCarthy is frank and funny in true Essex boy fashion. His phone goes off and the charm comes on: “Hello gorgeous! How am I? All the better for speaking to you…”
He hangs up and turns back to tell me about the time he spun an Aston Martin Vanquish at 140 mph in streaming rain. “But I never, ever hit anything,” he insists.
All went well – but after two seasons McCarthy grew weary of hiding his trademark personality in the Stig disguise. “Richard [Hammond] used to say that they’d hired the mouthiest racing driver there was – and then shut him up.”
After leaving he said he didn’t miss the opportunity to drive some of the most desirable supercars on the planet. “My background is with cars that are an awful, awful lot faster.”
“If I miss anything it’s being in top level motor racing.”
Being a Formula One driver was McCarthy’s original ambition and he did achieve it – sort of.
In 1992, while Nigel Mansell romped to the World Championship, McCarthy was breaking records of a different kind.
At the Spanish Grand Prix he completed the shortest ever attempt to qualify for a Grand Prix: his Andrea Moda-Judd F1 car ground to a halt just 20 metres out of the pits.
In 1992 new F1 racers didn’t get the thousands of miles of testing they do now. McCarthy risked having his house repossessed to fund the Andrea Moda drive for scant reward:
“There wasn’t the professional approach for newcomers that there is today. It was ‘balls round your neck and pray to God because this is your last chance, son.’”
McCarthy’s chance never brought him Grand Prix success. But even though he now runs an investment company he’s not ruling out a return to racing.
“The only thing on my radar is Grand Prix Masters (a single-seater series for ex-F1 drivers). I’ve got a business to run – but I would think seriously about it if they were keen to have me.”
It’s racing cars or nothing for McCarthy – there will be no comeback for the black Stig. But can he reveal the secret identity of his successor?
“Well it’s supposed to be a secret…”
“Do you know who it is?” I ask.
“Yes I do. But I’m not going to spoil it.”
He takes a conspiratorial puff of his cigarette. “There’s a few of them, I think…”