UPDATE: In a run early on Monday morning, Mark Higgins bettered his record once more, clocking a time of 17 minutes and 35 seconds, averaging a speed of 207.15km/h. The team have another run planned for Friday.
UPDATE 2: In a video released June 24, 2016, Higgins offers a voice-over commentary of his record-breaking run. Catch the video above.
Subaru Technica International (STI), together with the racing and performance specialists at Prodrive, have broken the four-wheel-vehicle record at the Isle of Man TT event this week.
Piloting a heavily modified 2016 Subaru WRX STI, ace racer Mark Higgins clocked a time of 17 minutes and 49.75 seconds, bettering the previous record - also set by Higgins - of 19 minutes and 15 seconds, set in a 2014 WRX STI.
Higgins averaged a speed of 204.36km/h over the gruelling 60-kilometer time-trial, which also threw some unexpected challenges his way.
“I think 125mph (201km/h) was the dream before the start. I’ve only had one practice run so I’m over the moon to do that on only my second lap and 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,” Higgins said.
“The only problem I had was in the last five or six miles when I couldn't see for flies on the windscreen.”
While Higgins set the previous record in a largely stock 2014 WRX STI featuring little more than the obligatory safety additions, performance for this year’s weapon of choice was given considerably more attention.
Revealed back in April, the specialised 2016 WRX STI’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo engine was upped to over 370kW (normally 221kW). Along with being stripped of unnecessary weight, a race-spec aerodynamics package and roll cage were also fitted.
The team also put some of the speed down to the tyres fitted to the record-breaking WRX. While the 2014 vehicle made do with road-legal rubber, this year, Subaru and Prodrive opted for Dunlop Sport Maxx racing slicks used in the British Touring Car Championship.
This year’s vehicle is a rekindling of Subaru’s long-standing collaboration with British tuning company Prodrive, which saw the pairing win three World Rally Championship drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles over a 20-year period.
The Isle of Man’s 59.54km course is set on normally public roads, with practice for the annual event taking place all-year-round thanks to the lack of official speed limits enforced outside built-up areas.
With Higgins set to take to the road for more laps of the famed circuit in the coming days, be sure to stay tuned for updates on any further record-breaking efforts.
Images courtesy of Mark Higgins via Twitter