Is the unveiling of Top Gear’s Stig the lamest scoop of the decade?

Pssst, have you heard the latest? No, not about Barack Obama becoming the new president of the United States, nor December’s sharp fall in inflation.

No, today’s ‘big news’ comes courtesy of the Daily Mail, where a dogged investigative hack has unmasked the identity of Top Gear’s tame racing driving, known only as the Stig.

He’s the guy in the white helmet and jump suit who, among other things, helps ‘stars in a reasonably priced car’ speed round Top Gear’s race track.The man in the gloves is apparently a James Bond stunt man and has previously driven in Formula Three, Le Mans, GT and NASCAR, as also reported in yesterday’s Telegraph Who is the Stig? The answer – Telegraph

While having no qualms in naming the Beeb’s driving stooge, both the Telegraph and Associated’s mid market paper opted to protect the identity of the tenacious reporters behind the scoops. Perhaps, say those over at Aunty, this is because for lovers of the car series, the Stig’s unmasking is akin to finding out there is no Father Christmas?Maybe, or perhaps it’s because the Stig’s identity has been one the worst kept secrets for years…

The Bristol Evening Post made it clear they knew who the Stig was two weeks ago, but decided not to out him.Similarly, the News of the World ran a story at the start of the month about who he was, where he lives and his marital status, but again chose not to name him.

This week’s Daily Star Sunday went a step further and named him, although the article has been removed online. In fact, the Stig’s cover, if it is the man revealed today, was first blown more than two years ago by the News of the World among others (also removed online), although no one really took any notice.

Following Richard Hammond’s crash in September 2006, a Health & Safety Executive report recorded the driver in question had been at the scene as a “high performance driver and consultant”.

A spokesman at the Beebcalled the media speculation “interesting” but repeated themantra “we will never confirm exactly who, or what, the Stig is”. However, he did add that any speculation thedriver couldbe axed for revealing his identitywere “totally unfounded”.