The Isle of Man’s 37.75-mile, 200-turn Mountain Race Circuit is one of those tracks that test a person’s endurance over a pretty long distance. It’s a little more than two-and-a-half times the length of the Nurburgring so you can expect it to be as daunting as any race track in the world, even for the standards of superbikes that race in the circuit every year.
That’s why we found it surprising to find out that a Subaru Impreza WRX STI broke the lap record for a four-wheeled vehicle in the track after the record stood for 21 years.
Driven by former British Rally champion and WRC veteran Mark Higgins, the Impreza WRX STI clocked an impressive - by its standards – time of just under 20 minutes, with an average lap speed of 115.356 MPH, breaking the previous lap record by more than two minutes. Late rally veteran Tony Pond set the previous record back in 1990 while driving a Rover 827 Vitesse.
Congratulations to both Subaru and Mark Higgins for the new record and here’s to hoping that we won’t have to wait 21 years for this record to be broken.
UPDATE 06/23/2011: Subaru has released a 5 minute 25 second video highlighting rally driver Mark Higgins’ lap that averaged 115.356 MPH. Towards the end of the video, Higgins tells the tale of when he lost and then regained control of the Subaru.
Hit the jump for details on the Subaru WRX STI Isle of Man and to see what Higgins has to say about the record breaking lap.
UPDATE 11/07/2011: The WRX STI Isle of Man TT Mark Higgins has been displayed at this year’s SEMA Show and this was the perfect opportunity for us to give you some live pictures of the car. We hope you will enjoy them. Check the picture gallery to see them.
Gallery Subaru Impreza WRX STI
The Subaru Impreza WRX STI was given a shot at breaking the record as part of a new agreement signed by Subaru of America to be the sponsor for the Isle of Man TT races while also becoming the official car of the yearly event. The Impreza was a production US spec that was powered by a 2.5 liter DOHC intercooled, turbocharged aluminum–alloy 4-cylinder boxer engine delivering 305 HP and 451 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manually operated sequential gearbox that sends the power to all the four wheels. In order to be rendered safe for the challenge, the vehicle was equipped with a Lifeline fire suppression system, Hockley Motorsports roll cage, motordrive competition seats, Mintex brake pads, and a louder open exhaust. Other additions were Tien springs and dampers, and a new set of 15x7 Gravel rally wheels combined with street legal Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tires and AP/STI gravel rally brakes. The speed limiter was also turned off.
Exterior and Interior
The exterior of the Impreza can be distinguished by a seam welded shell, STI carbon fiber roof scoop, 1/4 inch Aluminum sump guard, composite under-floor protection, carbon fiber rear wing, stainless steel 3 inch, quick change, and Vision X HID driving lights - housed in carbon fiber, hood mounted, light pod. The interior is equipped with Recaro ProRacer seats, a modified STI Dash, carbon fiber door-cards and co-driver footrest, seatbelt harnesses, a hydraulic handbrake, and a Coralba C-Giant rally computer.
Mark Higgins’ Thoughts on the Record-Breaking Lap
"This is one of the most daunting tracks I have ever driven, and the most terrifying," said Higgins, a Manx native. "We were only able to get two practice runs and on our second practice I had the biggest ’moment’ of my career. We had a passenger on the run and so coming into Bray Hill at more than 150 MPH, the extra weight compressed the suspension more than on previous runs and shifted the Subaru to the left and then right as I corrected—it was a real tank slapper. The whole thing went by so quickly that we never slowed below 110 MPH, and then we were back on the power. It was amazing and the helicopter shots really show just how hairy it really was."