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Mark Higgins does it again. Image by Subaru.

Mark Higgins does it again
Mark Higgins beats his TT time in the US-spec Subaru WRX STI.
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Newer articles featuring 2014 Subaru WRX STI

2014-10-15: First drive: Subaru WRX STI
2014-06-16: WRX STI to tackle the Ring

What's the news?

Mark Higgins has beaten his own production car record around the Isle of Man TT course by half a minute - in the latest iteration of the Subaru WRX STI.

In the hands of the British rally champion, an (almost) standard production car blasted round the ferocious Manx track in 19 minutes 26 seconds, well ahead of Higgins' previous best in the old Subaru of 19m 56.7 seconds. The WRX used for the 2014 lap was a US-spec road car with the factory 300hp 2.5-litre turbocharged boxer engine, with some changes to the springs and dampers to protect the car and occupants from damage during the high-speed bumps and jumps of the TT course. It was also fitted with essential safety equipment, such as a roll cage, race harness and fire suppression system, while Dunlop Derezza tyres were specified.

Higgins, who is from the Isle of Man, covered the 37.8-mile Mountain course at an average speed of 116mph, with peak speeds in excess of 160mph recorded. Naturally, the roads were closed at the time, as part of this year's TT schedule. When Higgins broke the record using an old WRX STI in 2011, the four-wheel record had stood for 21 years - so eclipsing it within 36 months is not bad going for the rally star. He said of his run: "It was quite a lap we did and I am really happy to have another record in the bank. The chassis of the new car is so much better, it really allowed me to pick up time in each sector in the more technical parts of the course.

"There is nothing like the TT course in all racing. Not just because of its length but the elevation changes, constant surface variations as you shift from town to country roads and the fact we run from 30mph and then up to 160mph for much of the race." The outright lap record on the TT course was set in 2013 by John McGuinness on a Honda CBR1000RR 'Fireblade'. McGuinness posted a time of 17m 11.6s, at an average speed of 131.7mph.

Anything else?

Higgins' prior attempt on this record in 2011 resulted in one of our favourite motoring moments of all time, and an incident that has become legend among the petrolhead community. Taking the early section of the course flat in sixth, Higgins had - what he jovially and reasonably calmly describes in the aftermath - 'the biggest moment of his life' when he hits a bump. At 150mph. For true hero status, the seven gobsmacking seconds of phenomenal car control come at 0:53 into the video below, in case you somehow manage to miss them...

Matt Robinson - 10 Jun 2014

Earlier articles featuring 2014 Subaru WRX STI

2014-05-09: Subaru WRX STI to take on the TT circuit again
2014-01-14: Subaru WRX STI is back in Britain

2014 Subaru WRX STI sets new TT Course record. Image by Subaru.       - Subaru road tests
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