Anthony Davidson the current favourite to become Stig Mk3

Former British Formula One driver Anthony Davidson and current F1 star Heikki Kovalainen are the bookies favourites to succeed Ben Collins as the Stig.

William Hill and Paddy Power have both opened a book on which professional racing driver will be asked to don the iconic white helmet should Top Gear decide to continue with its anonymous track star.

Damon Hill, Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard and Nigel Mansell were also given pretty short odds, while the nation's finest wheelmen - Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button - were conspicuous amongst the longshots.

"We think Anthony Davidson would make a great Stig but you could be waiting for several years before the next one is unveiled," William Hill's spokesman Rupert Adams told the Daily Telegraph.

Autoblog shared a karting track with Davidson recently and we're inclined to agree with Mr Adams. The Peugeot Le Mans team driver has a formidable turn of pace, and is no stranger to Clarkson after he appeared in the presenter's 'Duel' DVD special.

As well as speculating on the identity of the new Stig, William Hill has offered odds of 12/1 for the previous version's new book making it to the top of the best-seller list at Christmas.

Even if the 'The Man in the White Suit' doesn't fly off the shelves, it seems unlikely that Ben Collins will step out of the limelight anytime soon, especially given the rumours that the former racing driver/SAS instructor/stunt man/superhero has been signed up by one of TV's most powerful talent management agencies.

Predictably, this revelation has sparked a wave of speculation about Collins' next step, including the idea that the ex-Stig might be handed his own car programme to compete with his former masters on a different channel.

Unlikely? Perhaps. But that's what we said when we heard Jedward might be getting their own show. Now look at what we're stuck with.
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