A Subaru WRX STI Time Attack car driven by rally and stunt driver Mark Higgins set a new lap record around the fabled 37-mile Isle of Man TT Road Course. Higgins achieved a mind-boggling average speed of 128.73 mph and a lap time of just 17 minutes 35 seconds, breaking the previous record of 116.47 mph and a time of 19 minutes 26 seconds. It’s worth noting that the previous record, set last year, was also achieved by a Subaru WRX STi driven by Higgins.
This year’s car was a little different though. As a purpose-built Time Attack car its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine puts out an impressive 600PS, has a top speed of 180mph and weighs 1,175kg. The model is a joint development of Subaru of America, Inc. and Prodrive, with technical assistance provided by Subaru Tecnica International (STI).
“It was an amazing run today considering we were running in very hot conditions and the tarmac was quite soft,” explained Higgins. “With lower temperatures we would be making more horsepower, so I still believe we have more left in terms of speed, but it is great to have another record in the bank. The chassis on this new car is fantastic to drive. It makes a difference driving a car custom-designed for this course. It really allowed me to pick up time in each sector in the more technical parts of the course.”
The TT Course is actually comparable to both the Nürburgring and Le Mans circuits in the demands it puts on suspension and engines. Setting a new lap record called upon the joint expertise of Prodrive for the design and build, and Subaru Technica International for technical assistance. Both have an extensive history in building and designing race-winning cars. Prodrive and Subaru have won three World Rally Championship Manufacturer titles together and three World Rally Championship driver titles. Prodrive also has experience running team Aston Martin in the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24-Hour race. STI has experience designing winning road-course cars, designing the back-to-back class winner at the 2015 and 2016 Nürburgring 24-Hour Races.
“We are happy to be back at the Isle of Man as a sponsor,” said Dominick Infante, National Manager of Product Communications, Subaru of America, Inc. “There is nothing like a lap of the TT circuit to push a car to its limits. As the official car of the TT, this record is especially gratifying. The Isle of Man really shows the capability of this new WRX STI, and we are evaluating whether to make another run on Friday and top this record.”