Ben Collins will no longer hide behind mask on Five programme

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The man who played Top Gear driver The Stig has joined rival show Fifth Gear.

Ben Collins, 35, will debut on the Five programme when the new series launches next week. 

He will appear unmasked because The Stig is a BBC trademark.

‘I’m delighted to be joining the Fifth Gear team,’ he says. ‘And I’m looking forward to a new set of exciting challenges…apparently with and without the helmet.

Former Formula Three star Ben was identified as The Stig last month after the BBC lost a High Court bid to block the publication of his forthcoming autobiography, in which he outs himself. 

He is the second driver to take on the role – he slipped into the hot seat vacated by Formula 1‘s Perry McCarthy, 49, in 2003.

Top Gear bosses are expected to hire a new Stig now.

Fifth Gear starts on Friday 8 October at 7.30pm.

The Stig