Avid motorsports fans will be quick to point out that the Isle of Man is usually only associated with motorcycle racing, but a car lap record has been in place for 21 years. That record has now been beaten by a Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
Mark Higgins, a former British Rally ace, took the WRX STI sedan around the road course in just under 20 minutes, beating the old record by more than two minutes. The epic lap toured around the 200-plus corner loop carrying an average speed in excess of 180km/h, going through various long straights with extremely nervous kinks and slight bends.
The circuit is located on an island between England and Ireland and is usually home to the speed-freak’s heaven known as the Isle of Man TT race. If you thought the Nurburgring was a challenging and demanding course, it has nothing on the Isle.
It’s almost three times as long for starters, totalling 60.8km. There’s very limited safety off the track, with absolutely zero room for error. The only form of a guard rail is the odd old solid stone wall that borders some of the cottage houses in the area.
The circuit is a public road for most of the year but some large events do close off the roads. There’s no official speed limits on the entire island either, outside built-up areas, so practicing is exercised all year.
Subaru of America organised the lap attack as a part of its new campaign which is sponsoring the 2011 Isle of Man TT, currently underway. The previous lap record in a car was held by rally champ Tony Pond in a Rover 827 Vitesse in 1990.