It’s been less than two days since Subaru smashed its own lap record on the Isle of Man TT road course, and the Japanese automaker improved its benchmark once again. This time, three-time British rally champion Mark Higgins and his modified 2015 WRX STI completed the 37-mile course in 19 minutes and 15 seconds.
The new record represents an 11-second improvement over the previous achievement, which in turn bettered Subaru’s first encounter with the Isle of Man TT course by no less than 30 seconds. What’s more, Higgins completed his second lap with an average speed of 117.51 mph, which translates into a 1.04-mph improvement. Kudos to Mark!
So what’s with Subaru breaking its own record for the second time in just two days you ask? Well, it appears that Higgins was unhappy about several errors he committed during his previous attempt and wanted to give it another go knowing he can get more out for the WRX STI. Turned out he was right and Subaru of America has a brand-new record to brag about.
As previously mentioned, Subaru’s vehicle of choice for this run wasn’t exactly a bone-stock STI. The nippy sedan gained a FIA-approved roll cage, racing seats, improved springs and dampers, a fire-suppression system, and had its wheels wrapped in Dunlop Direzza tires before taking the course. Additionally, the engineers removed the STI’s speed limiter to allow Higgins to charge speed past the 155-mph limit.
Click past the jump to read more about Subaru’s new Isle of Man record.
Why It Maters
I sincerely admire Subaru for selecting the spectacular, yet dangerous Isle of Man TT course as its new playground instead of taking its new performance sedan to the ’Ring. However, this benchmark will likely go unnoticed unless more manufacturers bring their own toys to England. Hopefully Subaru won’t launch an Isle of Man TT record special edition with the course’s map slapped to its fenders. Editorial Note: Please don’t give Subaru any "brilliant" ideas..."
The redesigned 2015 Subaru WRX STI boasts brand-new sheet metal and an aerodynamic kit that keeps most of the signature features seen on previous STI sedans. The upgraded interior now features a host of soft touch materials covering most of the annoying hard plastic bits found in older models and a couple of new tech additions. Performance-wise, the WRX STI benefits from 305 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque squeezed out by a turbocharged, 2.5-liter, boxer-four unit.
Gallery Subaru WRX STI
Subaru of America, Inc. announced today that in a final timed run on the Isle of Man TT Course, Mark Higgins driving a 2015 Subaru WRX STI breaks his lap record of the fabled 37-mile course with an average lap speed of 117.510 and a time of 19 minutes and 15 seconds. In Higgins’ record lap earlier this week, several errors caused him to lose time and he was determined to get more out of car. This new lap record breaks the 116.470 MPH average and time of 19:26 set Wednesday. The previous record of 115.36 MPH was set in 2011 in a WRX STI.
The run was completed in a U.S.-spec 2015 Subaru WRX STI.
“This was a great run when everything came together and I was able to do a much cleaner lap as I am still learning where I can go flat in this car,” said Mark Higgins. “I am really happy to beat the lap records set by John McGuiness in the Zero Bikes and the sidecar lap record as John was riding me about that! I can’t say enough about the new WRX STI and how much abuse it has taken as we have really ridden it hard over this course for three very fast runs and this is definitely not an easy course. The chassis on this new car is just night and day.”
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 Direzza tires and a high decibel straight exhaust for crowd safety. The speed limiter was also removed from the car.
“I would like to thank Subaru for making this possible and also a big thanks to all the organizers and marshals who volunteer their time here and who made this drive happen and also made it a safe run,” Higgins added.
“We knew there was more speed in the car after Wednesday’s run and we are very happy the organizers made this happen today,” said Dominick Infante, National Manager of Product Communications, Subaru of America, Inc. “Mark was really flying on today’s lap and could show what the new chassis can do on a circuit as demanding as the Isle of Man TT.”
The event, which has been comprehensively risk assessed by both Subaru and the ACU, including consultation with all relevant parties, took 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."