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The Man in the White Suit: The Stig, Le Mans, the Fast Lane and Me Hardcover – October 26, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I have been an avid fan of Top Gear since I first saw an episode a few years ago. Fifth Gear, albeit a similar program, was never quite as entertaining as Top Gear mainly because of the chemistry between the presenters and because Top Gear is more focused on entertainment. Ben Collins' book is not just an autobiography, but also a behind the scenes look at Top Gear. As I suspected, Top Gear is more about entertaining the audience than a factual car review show. Ben Collins revealed that a lot of the driving sequences, such as the Corvette and Fiesta duel in the mall, was mainly action sequences taken in piece meal with the presenter driving sequences cut/pasted into the whole affair to make them look good. I understand that there are a lot of people there heavily criticizing Ben for leaving Top Gear and the "best job in the world", but I read this book and reviewed it objectively as possible even though I am a Top Gear fan and gearhead/petrol head. As an example of how Top Gear's final production sequences are aimed at entertainment, Ben Collins said in a South African interview after the release of his book that out of the 3 presenters, the best driver was James May. The reason is that May has an engineering background and is more sorted out. In the book, Collins described May as always pretending to be a poor driver to provide some hint of comic relief. In stark contrast, Fifth Gear is too heavy on professional drivers. I've seen episodes where Jason Plato, Tiff Needell, Ben Collins, and Victoria Butler-Henderson bored me to sleep because there wasn't any "cocking about" or entertainment - it was too factual and precise.
So let's start from the beginning.
Ben is a well-articulated speaker and writer.Read more ›
-- SPOILER ALERT --
You will read about Ben's beginnings, his ambition to race at any conditions and any price. After joining TG team the story becomes familiar and you get a sense how massive was the amount of work put into each episode. I was expecting to find out some backstage opinions on the presenter trio (Clarkson being an arrogant type for example) but nope - seems they're the same as on the telly. You will get very detailed information about how the celebrities were taught and what was their approach to driving on the TG track. You will also find out how the driving and pass-by sequences were made and how hectic the job of Stig could be. Most of the chapters copy the epizode flow so you'll read about Veyron race from Italy to London, the charity race in Mallorca, 24 hrs endurance race in diesel BMW and so on, including all the details possible.
The Stig job must have been (and probably still is) very demanding as Andy Willman (exec producer) seems like crazily tough guy, who's been pushing the show forward together with Clarkson. There's an urgent sense of split personality when Ben Collins acted as a Stig and as well as himself during several episodes. Not to mention the fact how crazy was the TG team to keep Stig's identity secret.
The book covers the era from beginnings of white Stig until the episode with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.Read more ›
Ben goes into detail into his earlier year and gives some interesting insight into the career of a racing driver from a young age. However he does go into minute details of certain laps within races that you wonder how he can remember such things after years of racing. The book also gives the impression that he prevails over what ever odds, but then again he is the Stig! (or was)
Its a very light read and I found that it was interesting to hear about his life outside of Top Gear.
I would have liked to have read more about the other Top Gear presenters and background to the departure from the show.
The book isnt an expose but provides some colour to the man behind the Stig.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you enjoy top gear , cars, or are a man (or a lady) you will enjoy this book..buy it read it!Published 8 days ago by jeremy m voytko
Behind the scenes hero, makes TopGear one of the best show on tv. Interesting life story. Made me appreciate some of those episodes even more now that I understand what happened... Read morePublished 9 days ago
Good book if you're a fan of top gear or interested in what it takes to get started in racing. It is well written and flows nicely.Published 21 days ago by Greg V.
Loved it! Lots of inside scoop on Ben (Wow, what a busy guy!) and my favorite TV show of all time,Top Gear!!Published 27 days ago by Kelley Vice
This is a good book if you're a Top Gear fan or a fan of racing memoirs. Collins' writes with a nice humor and his life is interesting enough to merit a book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by E. White