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The Man in the White Suit: The Stig, Le Mans, The Fast Lane and Me (Anglais) Broché – 28 avril 2011

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The Man in the White Suit 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... Full description

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 150 commentaires
32 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great book (if you're a petrolhead) 20 décembre 2010
Par Karel Florian - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I was kind of reluctant when reading the reviews here but my love for Top Gear took over. The book is good. Simple. There's a ton of material about driving and half of the book describes Ben's 8 years long career with Top Gear. You won't find however anything surprising and I can hardly think of any reason why BBC put so much effort into blocking this book out.

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.

Ben's not a writer, which is obvious after several pages, however the style of narration and description is not bad at all although you must be a petrolhead to appreciate it. For someone not keen into cars or TG, this book may probably be a huge disappointment. For me, the book changed a bit my view on Collins' departure from TG. But just a bit, I'm not that disgusted as I used to be after reading the news :).

One last thing that I found a bit annoying in the book - it's Ben's total self-focus with always right opinions, plus the fact that he never made a mistake (followed by a huge crash) during his driving career. He was in several critical situations with almost no control over the car but he always, always found a way how to make it and beat everyone else's time and amaze everyone around. That seemed a bit sci-fi to me. Only a small drawback though.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Highly recommended, great stories about Top Gear, and is probably what every gearhead aspires to become 11 septembre 2011
Par Gearhead Mania - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The Man in the White Suit

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. From his presenter segments on the latest season of Fifth Gear to his interviews, he is a knowledgeable and well-spoken individual. His description of vehicle dynamics is almost on-par with some of literatures greatest masterpieces. His line-by-line recital of track experiences and races is not only riveting, but also very descriptive. As a reader, I could visualize what was happening at the track. It helped that I watched some of the episodes (e.g., Top Gear 24-hour British touring car race at Silverstone with the diesel BMW) but his writing took that experience to another level.

Some examples of his story telling technique are exhibited in his driving role for Ascari at Le Mans and Catalunya, as well as his military training. His writing is easy to understand, and although I have never met him in person, his ability to describe events would make him an outstanding instructor. Based on some of the comments and feedback drivers have made about Ben, it appears this is the case. I also learned something technical and useful - I've wondered why a lot of the open wheel racers tended to pump their brakes or jab at them periodically. Page 34 describes how brake pads could be knocked farther away from the discs while driving over kerbs, causing excessive pedal travel especially when the fluid could be hot - thus requiring a periodic jab or pump to seat the pads.

Ben Collins did not start driving or riding motorcycles before he could walk, unlike famous Formula 1 and MotoGP riders (such as Valentino Rossi, Michael Schumacher, or Jorge Lorenzo). Ben actually started driving or rather competitively driving at 18. The fact he started at such an "old age" and the level he has achieved nearly 20 years later gives hope to all and is a testament that one could in fact start later and attain a level of success.

The most controversial aspect of this book and Ben's stint at Top Gear was how he revealed himself to be the second Stig. Many, including the BBC, argue that the Stig was meant to be anonymous and to present a sense of mystique and entertainment to the show. However, as Ben mentions in the book, he was close to being discovered due to extensive digging by journalists. Some of the other racers, like Mark Webber, already knew it was Ben Collins but didn't reveal the secret. As a Top Gear fan, I had seen the You Tube videos where fans did comparisons of the Stig with Ben Collins about a year before this book was published. Honestly, I didn't care too much either way. The Stig was part of the entertainment, but in the same sense having a new Stig would keep the mystique going and present something fresh to Top Gear. It will keep the viewers guessing about the new Stig, and possibly draw more viewers. It is a win/win situation. I hear lots of rumors about Sabine Schmitz being Stig's German Cousin or even perhaps the new Stig. It's things like this that can draw viewers back to the show.

Based on the reasons Ben gave for considering leaving Top Gear, I don't blame him. Much of his driving is displayed publically as The Stig, but he can't use that on his resume. He needs to eat, and his raw talent would go to waste as a side act on Top Gear. He mentions numerous times how he wishes to race professionally. His job as a stunt driver seems to be going well. I saw some YouTube videos of him on the set of the new Batman movie (Dark Knight Rises). His role as the Stig obviously opened doors, and from what I recall he was able to leave on amicable terms with the presenters according to the book. Something must have changed during the time between the announcement of the book and the BBC's lawsuit.

From my perspective, Ben Collins is a knowledgeable and well-articulated professional driver that exemplifies what one could achieve with mental focus and energy. I highly recommend this book to any gearhead/petrol-head that has enjoyed Top Gear and is interested in cars.

Overall: 5/5 stars, highly recommended
11 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Interesting but Average 10 janvier 2011
Par Timothy S. Wilson - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Having watched the TV series like most people for a number of years, I initially thought I would not buy the book due to how Ben Collins handled his departure from Top Gear. Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to buy the book.

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.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Stig!! 8 avril 2014
Par Bianca - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Being a rabid fan of Top Gear UK and being somewhat disappointed by the reaction of the presenters to Ben wanting to move on; it was refreshing to hear his side of the story and how he never spoke ill of the show or his co-workers. Clarkson Hammond and May could learn from that. I always knew who the stig was and it never dulled my enjoyment of the show. Why make such a big deal out of it?
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great book for race/top gear fans 5 mars 2011
Par Joe Marietta - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I read Black Stig's book (Flat Out Flat Broke) which is highly reviewed so I expected it to be awesome. I felt it was decent but just a few pages on him being the Stig. If Black Stig's book was reviewed as awesome and White Stig's book reviews were mixed okay, then I wasn't expecting much from this.... boy was I surprised. A lot of detail about White Stig's time at TG, very entertaining stuff. But he also goes into great detail about his time trying to get a break in racing and then his time in the army. All in all, I was very happy to have purchased this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a must read for any Top Gear fan in my opinion.
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