Douglas, Isle of Man, 6 June 2014
In a final timed run on the Isle of Man TT Course, Mark Higgins broke his own lap record of the fabled 59.2 km course in the brand new Subaru WRX STI with an average lap speed of 188 km/h and a time of 19 minutes and 15 second. In Higgins' record lap earlier the same week, several errors caused him to lose time and he was determined to get more out of car. This new lap record breaks the 186.35 km/h average and time of 19:26 set on Wednesday 4 June. The previous record of 184.57 km/h was set in 2011, also in a WRX STI.
"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," said Higgins. "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."
The car Higgins drove is a stock US-spec 2014 Subaru WRX STI, with the exception of an FIA-spec roll-cage, racing seat and harness, fire suppression system and modified springs and dampers to handle the sustained high speeds and changing conditions of the course. The Subaru WRX STI also featured Dunlop Direzza tires and a high decibel straight exhaust for crowd safety. The speed limiter was also removed from the car.
"I would like to thank Subaru for making this possible and also a big thanks to all the organisers and marshals who volunteer their time here and who made this drive happen and also made it a safe run," Higgins added.
"We knew there was more speed in the car after Wednesday's run and we are very happy the organisers made this happen," said Dominick Infante, National Manager of Product Communications, Subaru of America, Inc. "Mark was really flying on the record-breaking lap and could show what the new chassis can do on a circuit as demanding as the Isle of Man TT."
The event, which has been comprehensively risk assessed by both Subaru and the ACU, including consultation with all relevant parties, took place under full, closed road race conditions. David Cretney, the Isle of Man Government Political Member responsible for Tourism and Motorsport, commented: "We are pleased to be able to help one of the TT's valued, long term partners in delivering their promotional campaign for the new vehicle. Subaru of America has made a major commitment to the event, both financially and as a provider of course cars, which helps us to reduce the fiscal contribution required by the public purse.
In his previous attempt on the course, Higgins created one of the most memorable race videos when he had a self-described "moment" at the bottom of Bray Hill at 240 km/h. The video has received almost 4 million views. After setting the record Higgins stated, "Setting the record was both the most exhilarating and the most frightening thing I have ever done."
Exciting footage of the record-breaking run is available at the following link HERE