Purpose-built WRX STI Time Attack sets a blistering pace - lets see who will be next to attempt
A Subaru WRX STI Time Attack car piloted 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 blistering average speed of 128.73 mph (207.17 km/h) and a lap time of just 17 minutes 35 seconds, breaking the previous record – also held by Higgins – of 116.47 mph (187.66 km/h) and a time of 19 minutes 26 seconds.
The purpose-built 600 bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged 2016 Subaru WRX STI Time Attack car has a top speed of 180 mph (289.68 km/h) and weighs 1,175 kg. The model is a joint development of Subaru of America, Inc. and Prodrive, with technical assistance provided by Subaru Tecnica International (STI).
The arduous Isle of Man TT Course is similar in style to both the Nürburgring and Le Mans in terms of 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.
Da' man himself, Mark Higgins
“It was an amazing run, 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 event, which has been comprehensively risk assessed by both Subaru and the Auto-Cycle Union (ACU), including consultation with all relevant parties, took place under full, closed-road-race conditions.
Wait, is that an early-2000s Nokia mobile phone?!
“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.”