As much as we enjoyed Top Gear Series 24 Episode 1 on Sunday night, we couldn’t help but notice a surprise omission from the show. No, it wasn’t Sabine Schmitz or Eddie Jordan who I missed – and it certainly wasn’t Chris Evans. in fact, it was someone who is his complete polar opposite. The man who has absolutely nothing at all to shout about. The Stig.
While it might be too early to tell, The Stig’s role and responsibilities on Top Gear looks like they may be greatly dimished when compared to previous seasons, with just a single task left on the anonymous man in white’s job sheet – to set power lap times.
Early last week, Top Gear executive producer Clare Pizey and series editor Alex Renton confirmed their intentions to remove The Stig from Star in a Reasonably Fast Car coaching duties. “Instead of celebrities being taught to drive the track by the Stig, they will be taught by Chris with cameras filming them,” Pizey said. “Stig will still be doing the Stig laps.”
This is a far cry from previous series of Top Gear, Series 22 included, where The Stig was used extensively in preview trailers, setting times for the presenters to match during cheap car challenges, and even personally taking part in the race across London and St Petersburg against Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.
Despite never uttering a single world, The Stig has always been one of Top Gear’s most iconic features, which is largely down to the extremely impressive driving skills and aura of mystery that the man in the white suit possesses.
It’d certainly be a shame to see his duties scaled back to simply setting power laps, so we hope the Top Gear team can find a way to include him in the show more often.