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Who Is The Stig On Top Gear America?

Although its roots lie in the United Kingdom, "Top Gear" has become a global sensation for gearheads and those who are simply fans of big, fast, exotic cars alike. The show was been off in multiple countries around the world – the United States, Russia, Australia, and a whole host of others.

One of the common threads between the various iterations of "Top Gear" that have popped up since Jeremy Clarkson revived the series for the BBC in 2002 is the enigmatic driver known simply as The Stig.

As relayed by The Sunday Times in 2009, The Stig came into being when Clarkson and then-producer Andy Wilman wanted to a pro racing driver as part of "Top Gear's" cast to run test courses, perform stunts and instruct the show's celebrity guests. Ultimately, they landed on the concept of a mysterious, unnamed driver masked by his full-face helmet. 

The term, "stig" refers to someone of poor dress, poor background, or both and dates back to the duo's time at Repton School in Derbyshire, where new boys were always called "Stig," per another feature from The Times.

Over the years, multiple people have portrayed The Stig across the program's various versions. In the U.K. "Top Gear," racing drivers Perry McCarthy, Julian Bailey, and Ben Collins were among those whose identities were revealed. However, some Stigs remain unidentified.

The character's mysterious nature begs the question – has The Stig from "Top Gear America" been outed? Alas, the answer to that question is a complicated one.

We know who he was; who he is now is less clear

As was the case in the U.K., there have been multiple versions of "Top Gear America," each with its own Stig (although the character hasn't always been as prevalent as its British counterpart). However, there is some information out there about who has portrayed the American version.

Per his bio page at Goodreads, driver Paul F. Gerrard was The Stig in the U.S. for eight years from 2008 to 2016. In addition to his work on "Top Gear America," Gerrard has also appeared on the British "Top Gear," as well as shows like "The Grand Tour," "MythBusters," "Speedmakers," and "Supercars Exposed." Additionally, Gerrard wrote the best-selling book "Optimum Drive."

That said, the show was rebooted in 2017 for a two-season run on BBC America, then brought back again more recently by MotorTrend amid the COVID-19 pandemic for a January 2021 debut. As of this writing, information on The Stig who will appear in the latest iteration of "Top Gear America" is sparse.

Back in 2019, when the MotorTrend show was being put together, the site published an "exclusive interview" with the new Stig. However, it was essentially just a series of car questions with three ellipses given as The Stig's "responses" over and over.

So, for now, the true identity of America's Stig will remain as originally intended by Clarkson and Co. – a total mystery.