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The Man in the White Suit: The Stig, Le Mans, The Fast Lane and Me

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,059 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
The Stig gets his kit off and reveals how he came to be Top Gear's iconic racing driver and so much more - including what it's like to thrash an Aston Martin DBS, train for the Army and face the terror of Jeremy Clarkson's underwear…


When the Black Stig disappeared off the end of an aircraft carrier in 2003, we were introduced to The White Stig. Faster. Stranger. Harder to
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 28th 2011 by HarperCollins (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-45)
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John Walters
Jul 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping this book would give a behind-the-scenes look at the Stig and explain Ben Collins reasons for departure. For me it included far too much about his time in the army (which I found so mind-numbing I actually ended up skipping those parts) and a few scattered bits of Top Gear.
Those bits were interesting enough, but sadly lacking in any real feeling of "being there" that most autobiographies give.
The ending was just a let down as it glossed over his departure and ended without really gi
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Laura
Dec 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished this book! I'm happy it's over because it was a real drag and at times failed so badly at keeping my attention. His writing stlye is so clunky and all over the place that I found myself needed to reread sentances and pages over and over again. It was frustrating. One thing that pained me was he expects you to understand the driving lingo and doesn't bother to explain things sooo if you're not a revhead you'll surely be left scratching your head. He uses a chatty style but it jus ...more
Soho_Black
I read and thoroughly enjoyed “Flat Out, Flat Broke”, the autobiography of Perry McCarthy, who was the first person to play The Stig on “Top Gear”. Given that I have remained a fan of the show and am something of a completist, it was inevitable that I would want to get my hands on the autobiography of his replacement. Even more so as I remember the BBC taking Harper Collins to court in an attempt to stop publication, on the basis that publication of this book would reveal what was supposedly a s ...more
Sam Still Reading
May 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardcore Top Gear fans
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: I am a hardcore Top Gear fan
I purely read this book because I wanted to know more about The Stig and Top Gear. I didn’t really know anything about Ben Collins prior to this.

This book reads more like an autobiography of Ben Collins up to his departure from Top Gear (although it is VERY sketchy on the details and reasons why this happened). We learn about his childhood (interesting), younger days riding karts and various cars (interesting), army days (quite boring) and then we hit Top Gear days. This was by far and away the
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Jennifer (JC-S)
‘The difference between the exceptionally brave and the plain stupid is a fine line.’

Ben Collins, born in 1975, has competed in motorsport since 1994. He worked with Top Gear (both as the anonymous ‘tame racing driver’ -The Stig - and also as himself since December 2003.

This is his story.

Ben Collins was born in Bristol, has competed as a junior Olympic standard swimmer while living in California and wanted to be a fighter pilot. When this career was ruled out because of his eyesight, he switche
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Frank
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ben Collins’ book about the history of being The Stig, is fascinating, the first half to three fourths of the book are excellent, where the final section of the book drags. The stories become longer but less interesting, and it feels a bit “you’ve done amazing things, we know how this will all turn out”. The ending is unsatisfying in a couple ways, and the more momentous occasions are skimmed, while the minor events are needlessly verbose. The book seems to change about halfway through where the
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Josh Pfau
If you don't like Top Gear, don't read this book. If you do, you'll get bored when he talks about the other parts of his life because he's not a writer, but he tries.

The Top Gear stuff was really interesting, but he came across very arrogant (always having an excuse if something didn't go right). Worth a read if you love the show as I do.
Ann
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I read this book because I do watch Top Gear with my husband. It is one of the funniest shows on TV.
Jeanette
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"...I turned right into the Follow Through and buried the throttle." (70)

"Kojak was a bald regular Army veteran with a mysterious past, who met every challenge by ripping its face off." (96)

"Driven right, it launched like a scalded cat." (110)

"A gold head torch flickered in the distance. Voices ... An unforgettable sense of euphoria grew inside me and made the pain irrelevant.
It was acutely personal. No car had carried me to this place, nor had luck. The training officer took my name and number
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Brian DiMattia
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While some people wanted this book to be a straight ahead kiss-and-tell about Ben Collins' time on "Top Gear," he goes right ahead and gives them a full biography instead. And good for him. A tell all would have just validated the incessant whining and indignation that greeted the publication from certain quarters at the BBC (especially, but not limited to, one particular tall whinger with short, curly hair).

Instead, this book is a full auto-biography. Oh, it's not the best biography I've ever r
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Craig
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I'd be too interested in this book, though I am a complete sucker for controversy. I can't say I was a follower of Top Gear or their antics, but the news surrounding Ben Collins being unmasked as The Stig seemed to be a perfect marketing tool. Whilst the programme lost their pet driver, out came a personality with enough wit to rival even Clarkson. It can be easy to forget that behind the helmet is a real man (or men, as I still believe there were multiple Stigs) with a backgroun ...more
Jane Fenn
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a Top Gear fan, though not really a 'petrol head', I was a little dubious about reading this, but thought I'd give it a go and I'm so glad that I did! Though there was a lot in early chapters about the practicalities of racing and car handling, it soon became apparent that Ben Collins is a far more fascinating guy! Of course, we never knew that whilst filming on Top Gear, he was also undertaking a phenomenal physical and psychological challenge to gain entry to a division of the Army that ...more
AndrewP
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book came to me in a round about way. A colleague at work notice the "I am the Stig" sticker on my car and recognizing another Top Gear fan, tracked me down and lent me the book. I'm glad he did as I had no idea this book actually existed and I was excited to read it.

If your not a fan of the TV show Top Gear then this book is almost certainly not for you. About half the book is about Ben Collins's upbringing, army training and professional racing career. (The army training chapters were sim
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Robert
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Collins tells a good story and I really enjoyed his writing style and humor. The story of how he got into racing, joined the Army, and simultaneously became the second Stig at Top Gear was enlightening, inspiring, and entertaining. As an avid Top Gear fan, I enjoyed the inside look at how the show is made and how the presenters, Stig, producers, and camera men interact during the making of the show and at Top Gear Live events.

My only beef is that the book comes across as heavily edited, and very
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Michael Goodwin
I got this tome from my library; glad I didn't pay for it. I was hoping for the reasons fir his departure, but instead got a BBC-friendly version of "we aren't going to sack you....but find another one...". He spends a lot if time talking about his military time, which u skipped over. The times he does talk about being The Stig, he sorta skims over. Also, I felt that he personally came off as a whiny baby because the cast and crew didn't praise him fir his racing past. Part of the character was ...more
Steven
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic book, especially for fans of Top Gear who have watched The Stig driving insane cars and doing insane stunts for years. Ben Collins have a memory for every turn, ever gear change, ever skid and slide and near-crash. And he describes every race and test drive in extreme and exciting detail. You feel as if you're riding with him in the car as he's describing it for you. He tells you what he really thinks of Richard Hammond, James May, and Jeremy Clarkson. He tells about the epi ...more
Karen
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bedtime-reading
Ironically I swore I would never read this work, since Collins blew his Stig cover in such a high profile way and to the great anger of the presenters. However, I friend handed me his copy at a party, so I went ahead and . While this was adequate bedtime reading, I was disappointed of how little behind-the-scenes Top Gear info it contained. It seems to me that if you're going to blow up your TG career by suing for the right to publish your tell-all memoir, you might as well go all-out and share ...more
Paul
Nov 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Top Gear fan this was an easy pick to read and I wasn't disappointed. Whilst I could have easily done without Ben's army history (and the excessively colourful language - not for the easily offended), it did add some perspective to how he became the man he is. Its a great story and reveals many of the behind the scenes aspects of Top Gear. For example, I was surprised to find that many of the challenges were in fact real. He speaks highly of most people involved at Top Gear and obviously ha ...more
Max Hicks
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, although not for young kids, was a fun read and could definitely interest some of the more traditional boys in older level classes. It is the true story of a race car driver/stunt diver. Ben Collins is one of the most famous F1 drivers of all time and he decided to write a book about how he not only was avery competitive race car driver but also TV star and stunt man. It is written by someone who is passionate about cars and some of the dialogue in the book is a little heavy for those ...more
Cheryl
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a big fan of Top Gear, I was interested in a behind the scenes view from The Stig. I certainly enjoyed the brief sketches of how some of the stunts were done on the show, and reading about the Hamster's accident in the jet car from Ben's perspective certainly gave me another view of the tragedy. However, as I am not a fan of racing, the stories of Ben working on the racing circuit left me cold. Also, the sections about his military training, while interesting in a general way, weren't what I ...more
Kyra
Jul 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm about 2/3 of the way through this book, but I already know how to rate it. Even though Amazon advised me that this book was low on the Top Gear behind-the-scenes anecdotes I was hoping for, I bought it anyway, ready to be satisfied with some rather than none. I thought it was a good read-- a bit repetitive at times when retelling his early races, but also (unpopular opinion) genuinely gripping at times, a view I'm sure can only be shared by someone who watches Top Gear as avidly as I do. And ...more
Łukasz
May 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographic, top-gear
Although the life of Ben Collins has been quite interesting, I struggled a bit with the book. His style is a bit too elaborate for my taste. Maybe I wanted to find some answers in it, but after finishing it, I actually felt that there's one big question left unanswered. And that is: throughout the book he reiterates over and over again how much he cared for Stig to be this unknown character. He practically makes it the central point of the book (surely a point that stuck in my head) that he was ...more
Ranadok
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not a terribly interesting book, especially considering the topic. The writing kind of jumps all over the place without much flow or direction, and the author comes off as kind of egocentric. The 'behind the scenes' Top Gear chapters are mainly just him describing driving around the track in boring detail and going over bits that were shown in the TV program with no extra info. I was also hoping for more of an insight into why he decided to come out as the Stig (especially after the book spends ...more
Steve
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a little bit conflicted by this book. Not in the usual sense that everyone else who reviews this, complaining that they want more Top Gear, and less everything else -- I enjoyed all that, since it gives a sense of the man behind the visor of The Stig's helmet. I felt he spoiled the mystery of a few Top Gear clips a bit too much, which detracted me -- but on the other hand, it gave a rare insight into other clips, which was great. Overall, it was brilliant, with a nice overall and chapter le ...more
Ben Gillam
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty entertaining book with lots of behind the scenes perspective to the action we see on the TV. Like a lot of reviews I read I felt the army stuff dragged on a bit but at the end of the day it was very important to Ben Collins so it was always going to be in there. Rated 4 stars because of the lengthy army stuff being a bit boring and the writing isn't "great" but then he's a racing driver and not a author by trade.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in racing top gear or the
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Mike Klein
If you like Top Gear and want to read some (but maybe not enough) about the behind the scenes stuff, this is worth reading. The author certainly writes some fairly purple prose for a race car driver and then follows up with not just racing jargon, but English racing jargon which almost makes parts of the book unreadable. Not a bad read, just not a great one.
Jeff
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Overall a good book if you love the Stig from Top Gear. Some of the parts of the book were great, especially getting the "behind the scenes" stories. Other parts of the book were a bit slower. Part of me wish the book was all about his time on Top Gear. Part of me also wishes it was organized better.

I still recommend.
Marcus Holmer
An interesting book, not only about the life in the role as the Stig, but also about his efforts in private life, becoming a successful racing diver, soldier and husband.

At first I got the impression that Collins tried to hard being a writer, writing in a way that didnt feel natural, almost wanting too much. It got better and the rest is an easy read story.
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Rich
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first autobiography I have ever read, therefore I have nothing to compare it too. The subject matter appeals very little to me as I'm not a fan of any sort of motor sport but wanted to hear about the work he did with 'Top Gear'.

There isn't a great deal of about 'Top Gear' which made it, for me, quite dull. Yet, having said this, I was inexplicably unable to put it down.
Joe
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
After confirming that I could still breathe, he shot me a knowing smile that said, "One lamb, ready for slaughter." (24)

Scripts rarely survived first contact with the enemy, but preparing for success improved your odds. (36)

The car was toast but Werner spent several minutes trying to get the engine going in spite of pleas from the officials. He only gave up when Spencer assured him the car was actually in two pieces. (60)

Porsche kindly delivered an appropriate weapon with their Carrera GT, a qua
...more
Steven
Not a bad book but not brilliant. I picked it up for £2 in a bargain book store which seemed like a bargain. Mr Collins is clearly not a professional author and the book can lose it a bit at times and unless you have a keen interest in cars and motor racing then the amount of jargon in the book will make it a difficult read. The other problem was that I felt myself drifting off to sleep each time I tried to read it at length. That aside, it was fun enough and nice to learn more about The Stig wh ...more
Liberty
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent autobiographical type novel. Although he is a driver and not a writer, he does a very good job. The only problem I had was the fact that he tended to switch back and forth between story lines. I would have preferred the book be organized in three parts, or something else. Otherwise, it's a good book for any Top Gear fan or fan of cars/racing. I enjoyed his dry sense of humor, even if some of his descriptions were a bit over the top. I would call this an easy-going book about life and d ...more
Steve
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun romp behind the scenes of Top Gear

It's nice to peel away some of the mask, both of the stig and of the show. A fun read, but not one that I would say is particularly that well written. Some stories just needed a bit more, others, like the army training, just seemed to end without adding value to the greater arc of the book. Overall, not bad now that I've waited for it to be only $4.
Suzie
Jan 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
A biography of Collins up to the point that he left Top Gear. Racing, the army, stunt work, and behind the scenes at Top Gear. The book is chaptered by topics so that you can skip what you aren't interested in. I would recommend this only if you are a fan of Top Gear or want to learn more about what it is like to be a race car or stunt driver.
Patricia Heath
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


I love the show Top Gear and loved reading about Ben Collin's role as the Stig. It was very interesting to read the behind the scene details. He also included some childhood memories, racing and army experience which I personally found fascinating. Ben is a very descriptive and detailed writer... I enjoyed this read very much!
Ginnz
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book! The life and trials of the Stig. I would have liked more detail at times and exactly what stuff he'd done having finished his military training. Ben's style left you hanging out for more details, while giving enough to keep you hooked. A very easy book to read and fascinating insight into Top Gear.
Mimi
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben Collins is a great driver, but not a great writer. I enjoyed the book because I love the show "Top Gear," but had I not had that connection, I would have abandoned it by page 3. If you are a fan of the show, there are plenty of anecdotes and behind the scenes explanations to keep you turning pages.
Ben
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiographys
Ironic that this should be a fast read given it's "The Stig's" auto.

Enjoyable from cover to cover!

great insight in to an interesting life, from his swimming ability, through Army training, to his driving prowess and experiences this shows Ben Collins to be a top and indeed talented bloke!

Ryan McArthur
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I'm reading The Man in the White Suit: loving this book so far. The details on racing, the brief info about his days as a racing car driver and days in the army are all interesting to me. The racing descriptions especially are very vivid, and he describes really well his trying to get into the army
Alan
Mar 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever wondered who the man in the White Suit on BBC's Top Gear was. Well, read all about the second Stig, Racing driver Ben Collins here. A very interesting and fast moving book.
As a fan of Top Gear this is the best of all the books I have read by those associated with the show.
Gerhard
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleased to learn more about the Stig and what he did outside of Top Gear. The ending was a bit unsatisfying as I wanted to know more about why he left and how it went down. I loved the behind-the-scenes parts from Top Gear and getting the point of view I would never have imagined.
Salim Aliaga
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Really fun to read, I loved reading a chapter and then seeing the TG episode. And I don't agree with people that say the army chapters are boring, I believe it was a way for him to explain a phase in his life he loved and how it could marry with the idea of nothing is impossible.
Kaja Szwarc
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Może to nie jest książka dla każdego. Może nie każdy odnajdzie urok w czytaniu o sposobie naciskania hamulca przed zakrętem na Le Mains. Może nie każdego wciągnie opis wypluwania płuc na wojskowych szkoleniach. Ale ta publikacja coś w sobie ma. I stanowczo za szybko się kończy.
janghir Chowdhury
unwanted gift, i gave it a go, it was ok. a bit like reading the memoirs of the guy dressed up as the Honey Monster for all these years, not fascinating but slightly intriguing like blowing your nose in a tissue and then staring at the contents.
Santiago Arizti
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collection
I enjoyed the book. However, I don't know why I even chose to read it in the first place. I guess it was just the curiosity of revealing Stig's mystery. That could've been achieved by reading just a couple key chapters though.
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