June 13, 2014
Lap Time Record Broken At Isle Of Man TT Road Course
When we think of record setting top speed, quickness and track lap times from vehicles, what comes to mind is Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and American muscle cars like Mustang, Camaro and Challenger. However, recently, a Subaru — that’s right, a Subaru — broke the lap time record at the Isle of Man TT road course on June 4, 2014.
The driver of the car was British Rally champion Mark Higgins who not only broke his own record set back in 2011, he shattered it. The previous record came from a 2010 Subaru WRX STI at 19 minutes and 56.7 seconds around the road course familiar to motorcycle racing enthusiasts. The new record is an astonishing time of 19 minutes and 26 seconds, that’s over 30 seconds faster and he used another Subaru to do it.
His average speed around the course was 116.470 mph, which also is a new record. The previous record was 115.36 mph. He also hit a top speed of 162.9 mph around the 37-mile road course.
According to Subaru, the record breaking run was achieved by a US spec., stock, 2015 WRX STI. The only modifications were an FIA-approved roll cage, racing seats, improved springs and dampers, a fire suppression system and the car had its 155 mph speed limiter removed. It was also fitted with Dunlop Derezza rubber to hold it to the pavement in the corners.
The stock 2015 Subaru WRX STI has a 2.5-L turbocharged four-cylinder producing 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. Yes, some modifications were added for handling and safety, but the only performance modification was the removal of the speed limiter chip. It seems to me that Subaru is making a name for itself in the performance category these days.
“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.”
“There is nothing like the TT course in all of racing, it’s just an amazing circuit. 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,” added Higgins.
According to Dominick Infante, National Manager of Product Communications, Subaru of America, Inc., “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. 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,” he said.
“Setting the record was both the most exhilarating and the most frightening thing I have ever done,” Higgins stated after setting the record.
In fact, Higgins did make another attempt at the record on Friday, June 6, and as he said he could do better, he did. He improved on the lap time as well as the average speed. The lap was completed in 19 minutes and 15 seconds. That was all it took to maneuver his Subaru WRX STI around the 37-mile course, which is an 11 second improvement in time over the lap he ran just two days prior. This is equivalent to an average speed of 117.51, a 1.04 mph improvement.
Following the record-breaking lap in a press release, Higgins stated, “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. 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.” He added, “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.”
With this record-breaking run, I’m sure it will open the door for other vehicle manufacturers to step up their game to try to top Higgins’ achievement.
Image Credit: Subaru of America / TopSpeed.com