• Jun 9, 2011
Subaru WRX STI breaks the road-car Isle of Man TT lap record – Click above for high-res image

We talk about the Nürburgring a lot, but perhaps it's time we start devoting more ink to the Isle of Man. Located between Great Britain and Ireland, the tiny bit of green plays host to one of the most impressive displays of speed on the planet.

The annual Isle of Man TT plays out on a 37.8-mile course made up of public roads, which are closed down during race days. It's run by motorcyclists, and crazy sonsofbitches skilled pilots can complete the loop in under 18 minutes. Curious how long it would take an automobile to run the same course? Back in 1990, driver Tony Pond was curious as well, and he pushed a Rover 827 Vitesse around the island in 21 minutes, becoming the first driver to average 100 miles per hour in a car on the course.

Subaru decided to have a go at that record, and sent a WRX STI sedan and driver Mark Higgins to the Isle of Man. The car is a stock STI, with the exception of a roll-cage, race harness, fire extinguisher and adjusted springs and dampers to handle the various bumps found on the public roadway. How'd Higgins do? He smashed Pond's record by two minutes, with a time of 19:56.7 and an average speed of 113 miles per hour. Higgins stated, "Setting the record was both the most exhilarating and the most frightening thing I have ever done." We believe you, and we salute you Mr. Higgins, on a rather impressive bit of driving.

Click past the jump for the full press release and more information on the record-setting run.
Show full PR text
SUBARU SMASHES ISLE OF MAN LAP RECORD WITH STANDARD WRX STI
09/06/11 from Subaru

The long-standing road-car lap record for the Isle of Man TT circuit has been comprehensively smashed in a production-spec Subaru WRX STI saloon. In his very first run around the challenging 37.8-mile course, former British Rally Champion Mark Higgins posted a blistering lap time of 19 minutes and 56.7 seconds, translating to an average speed of 113mph. The peak speed achieved during the lap was 162mph.

Higgins' time is more than two minutes faster than the previous record, set by the late Tony Pond 21 years ago to the day (on 6 June 1990), at the wheel of an Rover 827 Vitesse. Pond was the first to break the average 100mph barrier in a road car, and his lap record has stood ever since.

The TT event organisers gave Higgins just one lap to conduct his record attempt in the car, and there was no opportunity to carry out high speed practice runs.

The WRX STI used for the record breaking run was a standard Subaru production car, equipped with a 300PS Horizontally-Opposed Boxer engine, unmodified brake callipers and with road-legal Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tyres. Springs and dampers were adjusted to minimise any potential damage when the car encountering the various bumps and jumps at high speed along the course.

In recognition of the speeds involved, and the fact that there are little or no crash barriers around most of the TT road circuit, the WRX STI was fitted with some essential safety enhancements. These included an MSA-specification T45 integrated roll cage, TRS race harnesses and a Lifeline extinguisher system. To help forewarn spectators of the presence of the oncoming car, the Subaru team also fitted the WRX STI with a high-decibel exhaust.

"Setting the record was both the most exhilarating and the most frightening thing I have ever done," explains Higgins, whose career as a driver in the British and World Rally Championships hasn't exactly been short of excitement. "The rules allow for a flying start, so I crossed the line at 125mph. I then went down through the Bray Hill junction – normally taken at around 20mph – at over 150mph. Once that tricky section was out of the way I settled into the lap and quickly got used to the balance and sheer pace of the car.

"In the end the lap was simply fantastic, and the WRX STI behaved impeccably," explains Higgins. "That we managed to set such an impressive time at our first attempt is a great tribute to the Subaru, especially given that so few modifications have been made. The engine pulled incredibly strongly throughout and the cornering capability proved crucial on such a twisty, unforgiving course."

The TT crowds got fully behind the record attempt, reports Higgins. "The atmosphere out on the circuit was incredible, especially once the spectators heard over the PA system that we were in the process of setting a new record. I could hear the cheers in the car and it really added to the experience."

The WRX STI is currently available from all Subaru dealers with free satellite navigation and a free power upgrade, taking the power output to a blistering 320PS – more than enough, no doubt, to break the Isle of Man record yet again.

The outright lap record on the TT course was set in 2009 by John McGuinness on a Honda CBR1000RR 'Fireblade' motorcycle. McGuinness posted a time of 17 minutes and 12.3 seconds, equivalent to an average speed of 131mph.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      DougShep
      • 3 Years Ago
      that should be one hell of an in-car video
      Xedicon
      • 3 Years Ago
      My only question is, can a Subi STI owner perform the same suspension tuning right out of the box? If not then this is not a stock STI, and if so, it's still not in the same configuration as when it rolled off the line. Regardless it had to be a hell of a lot of fun to drive!
      Rick Intihar
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ohio plates?
      EvilTollMan
      • 3 Years Ago
      SUBARUUUUUU!!!!!!
      Matthew
      • 3 Years Ago
      "To help forewarn spectators of the presence of the oncoming car, the Subaru team also fitted the WRX STI with a high-decibel exhaust." BWAHAHAHAHA
      reuben
      • 3 Years Ago
      for those who want to watch part of the action :- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jSYiU-JdRw&feature=player_embedded Scary moment
      hdcjm1
      • 3 Years Ago
      soooooo your saying he smashed a 21 year old record? apparently this place isn't that popular to run. anyone attempt this with something like a lambo, ferrari, or porsche? pretty sure one of those would be able to demolish a STI time. sounds like it is all public paved roads, so it isn't like it is a rally style course that an exotic can't run.
        jaazani
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hdcjm1
        Exotic doesnt mean winner. Not all Ferraris and Lambos can handle. STI is AWD which means it puts power down better than a rear wheel drive car. Not saying a Ferrari couldnt beat the record but cars like stis and evos are legendary for a reason.
          Ryan
          • 3 Years Ago
          @jaazani
          hdcjm1: You also aren't going to take the hills and bumps around the Isle in a Lambo or Ferrari at speed without destroying the front end in a hurry. This is why Subaru "adjusted springs and dampers to handle the various bumps found on the public roadway"
          hdcjm1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @jaazani
          last time I checked there were 4WD lambos. http://www.lambocars.com/aventador/aventador_lp700-4_specifications.html sounds like a winner to me. I get the rally heritage and nature of the vehicles you listed, but this is assuming paved roads all the way, you don't need AWD to get around them.
          hdcjm1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @jaazani
          so those cant be adjusted on the other cars as well? i'm not super familiar with the course, but i would assume straight-a-ways could be taken a lot faster. don't really see and issue with hills, but bumps could be an issue. i'm not positive but doesnt the adventador have the front air suspension on it to raise and lower the front end?
          • 3 Years Ago
          @jaazani
          [blocked]
        creamwobbly
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hdcjm1
        The UK Police use WRXs to chase down bikers. Just sayin'.
          789dm
          • 3 Years Ago
          @creamwobbly
          Not just UK I heard the ozies (Australian) too. They use Subbie in the City while they use their V8s on the highways.
        Ace Convoy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hdcjm1
        I'm pretty Sure a Nissan GT-R might have a better chance since..I dunno it will actually turn when you want it to.
      ramairjer
      • 3 Years Ago
      Video needed.
      Gorgenapper
      • 3 Years Ago
      That can't have been stock. It didn't blow its ringlands at any point in the race.
      Jive
      • 3 Years Ago
      speaking of video....um...where are they?
      ramairjer
      • 3 Years Ago
      Close enough to stock for me. Maybe GM can ship a ZR1 over there now that they've done the 'ring thing.
        Soul Shinobi
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ramairjer
        That would be interesting, if not entirely lethal, since it's much more track focused it'll have a real tough time with traction (or staying attached to the road) on the Isle of Man.
      creamwobbly
      • 3 Years Ago
      WHOAH! You mean a Scoob can go faster than a Rover 827 Vitesse?! ONE OF THESE?! http://www.google.com/search?q=Rover+827+Vitesse And the record only stood for 22 years!? I'm impressed. *SERIOUSLY* impressed.
        wheezymofo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @creamwobbly
        Sort of makes you wonder if anyone has bothered to to try in the past 22 years. I've held the record on the dirt track in my grandmother's back yard since 1974 which I set on my Schwinn Stingray. I predict that I will go to my grave as the reigning champion.
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