More famous for its success on rally stages around the world, the Subaru WRX STI of late has been the weapon of choice to chase the lap record around the Isle of Man time trial circuit.
Behind the wheel of the new WRX racer will be British rally champion Mark Higgins, who already holds the current lap record for a car, which he set in 2014 with a US-market WRX STI, in 19 minutes and 15 seconds.
Higgins set the current record in a largely stock 2015 model-year WRX STI, with the only modifications limited to safety features such as an FIA-spec roll cage and a harness-equipped racing seat, along with modified springs and dampers.
The 2014 record bettered Higgins’ previous record of 19 minutes and 56 seconds that he set in 2011 with a 2010-model WRX STI.
Now in 2016, the new Prodrive WRX STI is a rekindling of Subaru’s relationship with British motorsport company Prodrive, who collaborated with the Japanese manufacturer for nearly 20 years in the World Rally Championship (WRC), winning three drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles.
The 2016 WRX STI racer has had a few nips and tucks over the ‘base’ car, with a significant aero package, stripped out interior and a roll cage, clearly stating its go-fast intentions. It is unknown whether any tweaks have been made to the engine that, in standard Australian spec, produces 221kW of power and 407Nm of torque (UK models list the same outputs).
The Isle of Man time-trial event takes place on a 59.54km (37 mile) course, almost three times longer than the Nurburgring race track.
The demanding course is a public road for most of the year, and with no official speed limits enforced on the Isle of Man outside built-up areas, practicing for the event is exercised all year round.