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Subaru WRX STI conquers Isle of Man

271km/h top speed as Isle of Man rally ace smashes TT course car record

8 Jun 2016

HOMETOWN hero Mark Higgins has shattered his own Isle of Man one-lap track record in a race-fettled Subaru WRX STI, firing around the demanding 59.5 kilometre course in an insane 17 minutes 35 seconds at an average speed of 207.2km/h.

At one point, the three-time British rally champion and his special Prodrive-built Time Attack car were clocked by radar at 271km/h on the run that was organised as a publicity stunt by Subaru of America.

The lap by the Isle of Man native was less than 30 seconds slower than the fastest ever motorcycle lap of the TT circuit, by John McGuinness on a Honda CBR1000RR last year.

It was also almost two minutes faster than Higgins’ best lap last year when he rattled around in a modified WRX STI street car in19:26 and an average speed of 187.4km/h.

And it is not over yet, as Higgins has the opportunity for one more crack on the closed circuit during the annual TT carnival this Friday.

Higgins told local radio that he was “over the moon with the lap time”, considering he only had one practice lap.

“There’s a little bit more to come – definitely from me because I’m learning all the time I go around the track – and there is a little bit more to come from the car as well,” he said.

“The conditions were great – the only problem I had was in the last five or six miles when I couldn’t see for flies on the windscreen. That made things a bit difficult in the last sector, but I can’t really complain because the bike riders have them on their visors all the time.”

The run was made with the temperature hovering at 27 degrees – a positive heat wave by local standards – which had Prodrive engineers concerned about over-heating. Higgins reported that the car “was moving around a bit” on the road towards the end of the lap, due to heat in the tyres.

The video shot on behalf of Prodrive is white-knuckle stuff, showing the Subaru spearing through village streets lined with stone houses and – occasionally – blasé spectators standing unprotected by the roadside.

The specially prepared car was stripped of interior fittings, fitted with a roll cage and armed with a World Rally Championship boxer engine and touring car race slick tyres for the run.

Despite the bumpiness of some sections of the track, the STI showed admirable composure, particularly on one high speed corner, in which Higgins can be seen laying down four black tyre marks in a monster power slide.

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