The 2015 Subaru WRX STI piloted by Mark Higgins set a new lap record of the fabled 37-mile Isle of Man TT Road Course with an average lap speed of 116.470 and a time of 19.26. This breaks the current record of 115.36 that was set three years ago by Mark Higgins in a 2010 Subaru WRX STI.
The run was completed in a U.S.-spec 2015 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 Derezza 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 Mark 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.”
“We are happy to be back at the Isle of Man as a sponsor. 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,” said Dominick Infante, National Manager of Product Communications, Subaru of America, Inc. “The Isle of Man really shows the improvements we have made to the new WRX STI in terms of chassis and steering. We are evaluating whether to make another run on Friday and top this record.”
The event, which has been comprehensively risk assessed by both Subaru and the ACU, including consultation with all relevant parties, will take place under full, closed road race conditions.
David Cretney, the Isle of Man Government Political Member responsible for Tourism and Motorsport, commented:
“We are pleased (delighted) to be able to help one of the TT’s valued, long term partners in delivering their promotional campaign for the new vehicle. Subaru of America has made a major commitment to the event, both financially and as a provider of course cars, which helps us to reduce the fiscal contribution required by the public purse.”
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 150 MPH. The video has received almost 4 million views. After setting the record Higgins stated, “Setting the record was both the most exhilarating and the most frightening thing I have ever done.”