Earlier this month, rallyist, stunt driver and all-round mentalist Mark Higgins shattered the four-wheeled lap record on the 37-mile Isle of Man TT circuit with a time of 17m 25.139s. That’s an average speed of 128.73mph.
But these are just numbers. They sound like a big achievement, but they don’t really put across just what a truly astonishing, balls-to-the-wall bit of driving it actually was. Fortunately, the on-board footage of the lap has now been released. And it’s incredible.
An incredible lap needs an incredible car and three-time British Rally Champion Higgins had a purpose-built Subaru WRX STi Time Attack to pilot. Built by Subaru rallying legends Prodrive, it’s powered by a 600bhp 2.0-litre turbo engine, rides on Tarmac-spec WRC suspension and Dunlop touring car slick tyres, weighs 1175kg and has a DRS system. Rumour has it that project instigator Subaru of America forked out $750,000 for the car; considering the gearbox alone cost 40 grand, that figure is entirely plausible.
At several points on the lap, Higgins gets close to the car’s 180mph top speed, reaching a v.max of 176mph down Bray Hill. Which Higgin’s wonderfully matter-of-fact commentary makes sound like nipping round to the shops.
Three runs were planned, but the last had to be cancelled. That’s a shame, as a 130mph lap looked like a distinct possibility. Incidentally, it was only 2007 – the TT’s centenary year – that John McGuinness became the first biker to break through the 130mph barrier. The outright lap record currently stands at 133.962mph, Michael Dunlop resetting the marker this year.
Anyway, that’s enough talking. Sit back, make sure there’s nothing hard for your jaw to hit as it drops to the floor and enjoy the ride.
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By Only Motors