The Subaru WRX STI driven by Mark Higgins broke the car lap record around the Isle of Man TT course earlier this month, and now Subaru has released onboard footage of the astonishing lap.
Having beaten the record on Saturday 4 June, Higgins surpassed himself on Monday 6 June in his second attempt, achieving the four-wheeled Isle of Man TT lap record of 17min 35.139sec. Higgins's lap time was more than 14sec faster than his posted lap on Saturday, his first effort of 2016.
New onboard video
A third and final run was scheduled for Friday 10 June. Higgins was targeting a 130mph lap of the Isle of Man TT course before his run was cancelled following a fatality in the Senior TT race, which was red-flagged.
Higgins told Autocar: “It was so disappointing not to get that one final run on Friday, I was gutted, to be honest. But, having said that, what happened to those guys who lost their lives puts everything into perspective. My heart goes out to their families and friends.”
This was the third year Higgins has tackled the TT course, beating his own lap record on the last two occasions. He ended this year’s event with a time of 17m35.139s, an average speed of 128.730mph around the 37.73-mile circuit.
“When I was getting ready for the lap on Friday, I had a 130mph average in my mind,” said Higgins. “I was sure that was on. We came here with a target of 125mph, so to be knocking on the door of 130mph after just two laps in the car was pretty good.
“While I’m disappointed not to get that third lap, I can’t help but be happy with the way the week has gone, the speed we’ve shown and, of course, the chance to drive this car.”
The record-breaking run was the second of three scheduled attempts and conditions were perfect. However, the lap started as scheduled at the height of the afternoon, whereas Saturday’s first run was delayed until after 5pm. The temperature was around 27degC, which caused the Prodrive engineers some concern over the effect the heat would have on components such as the engine and rear differential. Additionally, the tyres were worked much harder during the run.
Higgins made a strong start to his lap and was five seconds faster through the first split on the lap, at Glen Helen. He continued to build his pace and posted a top speed of 168.6mph through the speed trap at Sulby.
After the run Higgins told Autocar: “I’m delighted to beat the record again. It’s a fantastic achievement. However, I didn’t feel I was driving as well as I did on Saturday. We had a bit of a fuel pressure issue just before the start of the lap but the boys got it sorted. Due to the higher ambient temperature the car was starting to move around a bit towards the end of the lap.
“I was worried after I finished the lap because I got caught in a lot of traffic coming back into Douglas and the car’s temperatures started to get really hot. Getting stuck in traffic after you’ve finished a TT lap isn’t usually a problem!”
Higgins, who has won the British Rally Championship three times and carries out stunt driving on James Bond movies, has now twice eclipsed the standard he set in 2014, which was 19min 15.88sec (117.51mph).
In 2014, Higgins drove a Subaru WRX STI that was much closer to production specification.