A new generation Subaru WRX STI driven by Mark Higgins has set a lap record on the fabled 59.54-kilometre Isle of Man TT road course, with an average lap speed of 187.44 km/h and a time of 19.26 minute
This broke the previous record of 185.65 km/h set three years ago by Higgins in a 2010 Subaru WRX STI.
“It was quite a lap we did today and I am really happy to have another record in the bank. The chassis on this new car is so much better it really allowed me to pick up time in each sector in the more technical parts of the course,” Higgins said. “I think there is definitely time that we left on the course. I lost time on the second part of the track, overshooting my braking point at Sign Post corner. I actually hand-braked the turn in the end, so I feel we can definitely do better.”
The car Higgins drove is a stock U.S.-spec 2015 WRX STI, with the exception of an FIA-spec roll-cage, racing seat and harness, fire suppression system and modified springs and dampers to handle the sustained high speeds and changing conditions of the course. The Subaru WRX STI also featured Dunlop Direzza tires and a high decibel straight exhaust for crowd safety. The speed limiter was also removed from the car.
“There is nothing like the TT course in all of racing, it’s just an amazing circuit,” said Higgins. “Not just because of its length, but the elevation changes, constant surface variations as you shift from town to country roads and the fact that we run roughly 30 mph and then up to 160 plus for much of the race.”
In his previous attempt on the course, Higgins created one of the most memorable race videos when he had a self-described “moment” at the bottom of Bray Hill at 241.40 km/h. The video has received almost four million views.
Higgins said: “Setting the record was both the most exhilarating and the most frightening thing I have ever done.”