Subaru driver Mark Higgins set an all-time lap record while averaging 115.356 mph on the iconic and historic mountain course of Isle of Man TT. The chosen vehicle was a U.S. spec 2011 Subaru WRX STI. The previous record of 100 mph stood for 21 years. The lap took 19 minutes 37 seconds and the WRX STI hit speeds in excess of 162 mph.
“This was the most thrilling and frightening thing I have ever done,” said Higgins, a Manx native. “It has been my dream to drive this course since I was a little boy and I am just elated that we were able to hit the speeds we did. The Subaru was just rock solid through the mountain section and took an amazing amount of punishment on the course.”
On his first practice run of the demanding TT circuit, Higgins averaged 113 mph on the 37-mile course. “It was difficult because we really had no idea what speeds we would be able to do on the course as we were unable to run a full lap at speed,” Higgins said. “Today we were unsure if we would be able to run because of the weather. There was hail on part of the course this morning, and heavy rain, but we were able to get a run off and it was a great lap.”
The WRX STI was a production U.S. spec car running a standard 305-horsepower turbocharged boxer engine. Some safety modifications were made. The Subaru was equipped with a Lifeline fire suppression system, Hockley Motorsports roll cage, motordrive competition seats, Mintex brake pads (but stock calipers and rotors), and an open exhaust to warn spectators of the on-coming car. The speed limiter was turned off to allow a higher maximum speed; springs and dampers were changed to accommodate the numerous high-speed jumps on the circuit, sending the WRX STI almost four feet off the ground. The car ran on street legal Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tires.
“We could not be more pleased with the result of this week’s drive,” said Dominick Infante, National Manager, Product Communications, Subaru of America, Inc. “The WRX STI performed incredibly well at near flat out speeds and Mark drove impeccably. His save at Bray Hill at 150 mph was some of the best driving any of us have ever seen.”