Watch Mark Higgins smash Isle of Man TT record

24 Replies

In 1990, legendary rally Tony Pond became the first man to lap the Isle of Man TT course at over 100 mph in a car. The vehicle of choice for this 22 minute lap was a Rover 827 Vitesse. That record stood until Subaru USA teamed up with another Manx-based rally champion, Mark Higgins. In 2011, the record tumbled and the first sub-20 minute lap was registered.

In 2014, Higgins smashed his own record in little more than a road going Impreza WRX STI. The only modifications were a roll cage, competition spec seats and uprated springs and dampers. And a louder exhaust so spectators and residents could hear him coming. This year, Subaru USA decided to get serious and enlisted the help of race engineering experts Prodrive.

Mark Higgins Subaru Impreza WRX STI

Together, they created a 550bhp dedicated island racer. The engine is a 2 litre unit based around WRC technology. The drivetrain has ratios designed specifically for the full-on, flat-out nature of the Snaefell Mountain circuit. You can’t miss the massive carbon fibre rear wing. It’s also active, which means that Higgins can trigger a low drag mode on the long, high speed straights.

On Saturday, Higgins blew his existing lap record to smithereens. He posted an incredible average speed of 126.971mph, setting a time of 17 minutes 49 seconds. In near perfect conditions yesterday (Tuesday), Higgins shaved a further 14 seconds from that he previous best lap. He covered the 37.73 miles in 17min 35.139sec, which equates to an average speed of 128.730mph around the 37.73-mile circuit.

Mark Higgins Subaru Impreza WRX STI

The biggest problem Higgins faced so far has been flies. He told Manx Radio “The conditions were great – the only problem I had was in the last five or six miles when I couldn’t see for flies on the windscreen. That made things a bit difficult in the last sector, but I can’t really complain because the bike riders have them on their visors all the time.”

Subaru USA are reportedly pulling together video footage of the record attempt, which will be uploaded with a full in-car video of the hot lap. In the meantime, you can check out this video from Prodrive which gives a flavour of the sheer speed and astonishing talent of local hero Higgins.

This very special WRX STI is set for a further outing on Friday.

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About Author

Chris, known as Cess on the forums, is a long time RMS member. He is a fervent motorsports enthusiast and lover of all things automotive. He can be found on the ditches of most Irish rallies, at Mondello watching drifting or in front of the TV watching motorbike racing.

RMS Forum Comments

davecoupe 10:40 | Wed 08 Jun, 2016 | Report
Pretty amazing that Miggins is on a pace similar to the SuperSport and Superstock bikes and its brilliant that someone has finally got a chance to have a go at it in a properly prepared car rather than his previous efforts. It would be interesting to see where he is quicker and where the bikes are quicker. Obviously on the big sweepers like the Veranda on the mountain the extra grip from 2 more wheels will help but the bikes must have an advantage at places like on the Sulby straight and through Ballagh where they can go kerb to kerb and the width of the car is a disadvantage.
Apis 11:05 | Wed 08 Jun, 2016 | Report
| Pretty amazing that Miggins is on a pace similar to the SuperSport and Superstock bikes and its brilliant that someone has finally got a chance to have a go at it in a properly prepared car rather than his previous efforts. It would be interesting to see where he is quicker and where the bikes are quicker. Obviously on the big sweepers like the Veranda on the mountain the extra grip from 2 more wheels will help but the bikes must have an advantage at places like on the Sulby straight and through Ballagh where they can go kerb to kerb and the width of the car is a disadvantage.
I'd agree with this too, in fact I would think the car would be quicker on any corner, not just a fast one, but the time advantage is probably better on a fast corner, even with the bike's ability to take a better line, due to it's width. Not knowing much about the Subaru (or these kind of cars in general) surely a car would be able to out-brake a bike by a considerable distance? Also what kind of top speed would this car be capable of, or geared to do?
Cess 11:22 | Wed 08 Jun, 2016 | Report
Geared for 180 mph @Apis and running BTCC Dunlop slicks
mn5587 11:49 | Wed 08 Jun, 2016 | Report
Good article and as said its good to see what a well prepared car can do. Although its amazing to think a bike you can go and buy for less than 15k can potentially go faster than a race/specifically prepared car.
Lyons 11:57 | Wed 08 Jun, 2016 | Report
Looking forward to seeing the video. I absolutely loved the previous one, found it great to watch.
Apis 14:32 | Wed 08 Jun, 2016 | Report
TT Zero bike doing 119mph average last year and probably break 120 later today at TT2016. Need to see how a Tesla or something would compare to that.
Cess 15:06 | Wed 08 Jun, 2016 | Report
A thing I have wondered. Would a two wheel drive car be quicker? Thoughts?
Ben 6 15:07 | Wed 08 Jun, 2016 | Report
Do they still do Mad Sundays?
Cess 15:15 | Wed 08 Jun, 2016 | Report
Yeah, Sunday last, I think.
stevieturbo 20:40 | Wed 08 Jun, 2016 | Report
| Good article and as said its good to see what a well prepared car can do. Although its amazing to think a bike you can go and buy for less than 15k can potentially go faster than a race/specifically prepared car.
I doubt any of the bikes racing there cost only £15k....and I know which one I'd rather crash with !


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