Mark Higgins has lapped the Isle of Man TT course at an average speed of 128.7 in a Subaru rally car
The Isle of Man TT is hailed as one of the most challenging, ambitious race circuits in the world. But seldom is the 37 and three quarter mile course associated with cars. Not, at least, until Subaru started its involvement with the TT five years ago.
The marque - famed for its rallying success - is back this year and pushing to achieve a 130 mph lap. Subaru of America, backed by Prodrive, reached a 128.7mph lap time earlier in the week but need to reduce their lap time by 11 seconds to reach the target of a 130mph.
They are in good hands: rally champion, James Bond stunt driver and Manxman Mark Higgins is the man in the seat of the purpose-built WRX STI. But for those acquainted with the course will understand that this is no mean feat: the Isle of Man TT course takes place on public roads. There is, therefore, no opportunity to practice here. Not in a car anyway.
Higgins said: ‘It’s been flat out here with the guys preparing the car and they strip it down every time to make sure it’s right.’
‘It nice to be on the oyes ad nice to go at the record we’ve abreast set but we want to set something in stone as well that’s going to be very hard to beat. We’re even seconds off the 130mph and I don’t know if it is possible but we’re sure as hell going to have a go at it.’
Higgins, a Manxman, said it’s a huge privilege to be attempting this record. ‘It’s the most amazing racing circuit in there world and I’m a very very proud Manxman and to have that 37 and three quarter mile course closed off for yourself as you go round – there’s nothing quite like it. You have a load of people cheering you on at the same time and there’s just nothing like it.’
To achieve this milestone Subaru of America, Inc has teamed up with Subaru Tecnica International (STI) and UK based motorsport and technology company Prodrive.
Prodrive are well known for running Subaru's World Rally Championship programme from 1990 to 2008, so the partnership will give the effort a significant boost as they look to break the fastest lap time for the third time.
Higgins said: ‘The TT started out as a car race in its early days and now we’re back in a car doing it again. Subaru have chosen this circuit because it’s the ultimate test for man and machine.’Rachael Clegg