Subaru has set a new lap record for a car on the infamous Isle of Man TT circuit with a near-standard WRX STi. Triple British Rally champion Mark Higgins beat his own benchmark on the 37.8-mile circuit with a time of 19 minutes 26 seconds, an average speed of 116mph. Higgins had previously set a time of 19m 56.7s in a last-generation WRX STi in 2011, beating the 100mph lap that had been set by British rallying legend and fellow Manxman Tony Pond, driving a Rover 827 Vitesse, back in 1990.
Higgins’ 296bhp WRX STi, prepared by Subaru USA, ran in as close to production specification as possible. The engine’s limiter was removed, allowing the car to reach over 160mph on the fastest sections of the course, the cooling was improved and the dampers were modified to cope with track’s bumpy nature. A full rollcage, race seats and harnesses were added for safety, and road-legal Dunlop Derezza track tyres were fitted.
Due to the limited availability of track time, Higgins did not get many practice runs in the car and his first attempt at the record was rained off. After breaking the record he said: “It was quite a lap we did today and I am really happy to have another record in the bank. The chassis of the 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.
“There is nothing like the TT course in all racing. Not just because of its length but the elevation changes, constant surface variations as you shift from town to country roads and the fact we run from 30mph and then up to 160mph plus for much of the race.”
The outright lap record on the TT circuit was set earlier this week by New Zealander Bruce Anstey, with a time of 17 minutes 6.682 seconds, an average of 132.298mph, riding a Honda.
The new Subaru WRX STi is available now for £28,995. More information available here