Three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins returned to the Isle of Man this week and smashed his 2011 lap record of the TT circuit.
His lap, set in the all-new Subaru WRX STI, was more than 30 seconds quicker than his previous record and yet at 19 minutes 26 seconds was still over two minutes slower than the 17 minutes 6.682 second lap set by Kiwi Bruce Anstey in Saturday’s Superbike TT race.
“It was quite a lap we did today and I am really happy to have another record in the bank,” said Higgins. “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 WRX STI used for Higgins’s run was a standard US-spec production car apart from minimal modifications to improve its safety and consistency around such a notoriously dangerous course.
Powered by a 296bhp 2.5-litre turbocharged Boxer engine, the car was fitted with adjustable springs and dampers which were set to minimise any damage on the course’s bumps and high speed jumps. The WRX STI was also equipped with a roll-cage, race harness and fire suppression system and Dunlop Derezza tyres.
READ ALSO: From 2011 – The moment when Mark Higgins TT lap (almost) went horribly wrong.. (w/VIDEOS)
During the course of his lap, Higgins reached a top speed of over 160mph and an average of 116mph, which compares with an average of 132.298 mph for Anstey’s Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Honda.