- Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Subaru smashing the lap record for a car around the 37.7-mile TT Mountain Course on the Isle of Man.
- Triple British rally champion Mark Higgins driving a mildly prepared WRX STI sedan achieved an incredible average speed of 115.356 mph.
- Previously the closed-road circuit record of 102 mph was held by the late Tony Pond in a heavily modified Rover 827 Vitesse. The record had stood for 21 years.
DOUGLAS, Isle of Man - Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Subaru smashing the four-wheeled lap record around the 37.7-mile TT Mountain Course on the Isle of Man. And smash it Subaru did, with Manx-born-and-bred Triple British rally champion Mark Higgins driving a mildly prepared WRX STI sedan. He achieved an incredible average speed of 115.356 mph.
Previously the closed-road circuit record of 102 mph was held by the late Tony Pond in a heavily modified Rover 827 Vitesse. The record had stood for 21 years. The motorcycle lap record is 131.578 mph and has been held since 2009 by John McGuinness riding a 1,000cc Honda CBR1000RR superbike.
An incredible feat of bravery considering the Isle of Man course is the most dangerous operating racetrack in the world. Hundreds of racers, spectators and officials have been killed on the circuit since racing began there in 1904. The 200-turn course circles the small island in the Irish Sea, cutting through several villages complete with curbs, driveways, mailboxes, poles, manhole covers and several jumps before cresting the 2,000-foot Snaefell Mountain. Get it wrong on the Isle of Man and you're going home in a box. Maybe several bags.
Even more incredible is the lack of modifications made to Higgins' 2.5-liter WRX STI. Modified brake pads, rally suspension for the jumps and the high speeds, a roll cage, fire extinguisher and bucket seats were the only real changes Subaru had to make to the car. Well, and a louder straight-through rally exhaust, which the organizers requested so they could hear the car coming. The car's all-wheel-drive system was stock and its tires were Pirelli P Zero Trofeo. Pond set his record on competition slicks.
Subaru just completed the second year of its three-year contract as the Official Car of the Isle of Man TT Races. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the historic record run, which included a 150 mph near crash that Higgins called "the moment of my life," the company brought a gaggle of BRZs to the island, including one for Higgins that was tweaked for better performance on the rough Manx roads.
The new sports car got a six-point roll cage, a gutted interior to save weight, 18-inch wheels, racing seats and remote reservoir shocks and a slightly higher ride height for more ground clearance. The suspension geometry was also modified with more negative camber and some toe out to promote stability.
No record attempt was made in the BRZ this year, but some Subaru executives are hinting that Higgins may attempt to break his own record next year.
Inside Line says: The Isle of Man TT is like Daytona Bike Week with bad teeth. It's also one of the absolute coolest motorsports events of all time. Subaru gets it.