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Mark Higgins sets new Isle of Man record in Subaru STI

Wed, 04 Jun 2014

Subaru has done it again, setting a new four-wheel lap record around the 37.75-mile TT Mountain Course at the Isle of Man. Mark Higgins in a 2015 WRX STI rocketed through the country roads at an average speed of 116.40 miles per hour to circle the track in 19 minutes, 26 seconds, thereby beating his previous record of 19 minutes 56.7 seconds from 2011 in an STI.

According to Subaru, speeds during the lap ranged from as little as 30 mph to over 160 mph. The STI was mostly stock with the only major mechanical change being different springs and dampers to handle the course's famous bumps at such sustained high speeds. For safety, it also had a rollcage, racing harness, and fire suppression system.

"It was quite a lap we did today and I am really happy to have another record in the bank. The chassis of the 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," said Higgins about the run in the Subaru.

Things didn't go smoothly ahead of the lap. Subaru spokesperson Dominick Infante told Autoblog that the team only had limited time to practice on June 1, and all events there were closed on June 3 due to a fatality on the track. Higgins finally got a good chance on June 4, and it came in the nick of time. A few hours later the course was closed due to wet weather.

The latest time isn't quite fast enough to take the outright lap record around the famous course. In 2013, John McGuinness on a Honda CBR1000RR rounded the track in 17 minutes, 11.6 seconds for an average speed of 131.7 mph. Still, Higgins effort is massively impressive. Scroll down to read Subaru's full announcement about it. Infante said to expect a video of the run in a few days.

June 4, 2014

• Rally ace Mark Higgins sets new lap record around famous TT circuit in all-new Subaru WRX STI
• New four-wheeled lap record for the 37.8-mile course stands at 19:26 – beating 2011 record established by Higgins in previous-generation WRX STI
• Minimal modifications to record-beating road car

The Subaru WRX STI has once again broken the four-wheeled lap record around the famous Isle of Man TT circuit, with British rally champion Mark Higgins setting a new record of 19 minutes 26 seconds in a production version of the newly launched high-performance saloon.

Higgins's lap around the challenging 37.8-mile TT Mountain course saw him post an average speed of 116mph and a top speed of over 160mph.

Manxman Higgins completed his timed run under closed road conditions as part of the TT schedule and beat his previous record, set in 2011, when he set a time of 19 minutes 56.7 seconds. That was done at the wheel of the previous-generation WRX STI, breaking a record that had stood for 21 years.

As with the previous record-breaking car, the WRX STI used for Higgins's run was a standard Subaru production car (US specification), equipped with a 300ps 2.5-litre horizontally-opposed turbocharged Boxer engine.

The only modifications to the car involved the springs and dampers, which were adjusted to minimise any potential damage when the car encountered the course's many bumps and jumps at high speed. The WRX STI was also equipped with essential safety enhancements, including a roll-cage, race harness and fire suppression system and was fitted with Dunlop Derezza tyres.

Mark said of his run: "It was quite a lap we did today and I am really happy to have another record in the bank.The chassis of the 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.

"There is nothing like the TT course in all racing. Not just because of its length but the elevation changes, constant surface variations as you shift from town to country roads and the fact we run from 30mph and then up to 160mph plus for much of the race".

The outright lap record on the TT course was set in 2013 by John McGuinness on a Honda CBR1000RR 'Fireblade'. McGuinness posted a time of 17 minutes, 11.6 seconds, equivalent to an average speed of 131.7mph.

The all-new Subaru WRX STI is now on sale in the UK for £28,995 (on-the-road) – representing a price cut of £4,000 compared to the previous version of the car. To find out more about the new WRX STI, and Subaru's range of All-Wheel Drive models, visit

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By Chris Bruce

See also: Cosworth announces Power Packages for Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S with up to 380 hp [w/video], Subaru BRZ gets updates, limited-edition Series.Blue model for 2015, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and more collaborating to increase fuel efficiency.