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Mark Higgins shatters his previous Isle of Man lap record in a Subaru WRX STI

The racing-prepped Subaru WRX STI driven by Mark Higgins has broken the car lap record around the Isle of Man TT course. ​The Isle of Man legend set an amazing 17:35:139 lap, destroying the previous record by more than 14 seconds.

Every year, Subaru brings a WRX STI and attempts to set a new lap record for cars, with Isle of Man expert driver Mark Higgins at the wheel. This year, they didn’t just bring a mostly-stock Subaru—they built a 600-horsepower road racer, powered by a WRC engine.

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Last year, in a nearly-stock STI, Higgins did the lap in 19:15 for an average speed of 117 mph (188 km/h). On Saturday, Higgins brought out his all-new Isle of Man-built racer and set down a screaming high-17-minute lap. Then he surpassed himself on Monday in his second attempt, achieving the four-wheeled Isle of Man TT lap record of 17min 35.139sec around the 37.73-mile track.

He did an average speed of 128.730 mph (207.171 km/h). Average. In a car. It’s around 33 seconds slower than the Superbike lap record of Michael Dunlop, 16 minutes 58.254 seconds, who averaged the speed of 133.3mph (214.675 km/h)

Top speed of Higgins WRX STI was 168.6mph (271,3 km/h), where the bike top was 196mph (315 km/h). Still very impressive.

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From the video of Autocar, you can see exactly what this record-setting lap looked like. I promise you, this will make your pulse race.

Under the skin of the Subaru WRX STI

It uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer engine that shares a lot of its hardware with a WRC engine; however, the WRC car would rev to around 6500rpm, the TT car redlines at 8500rpm.

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Combined with a larger turbo and tweaks to the engine management, the power figure is believed to be about 600bhp and torque of about 400lb ft. The kerb weight suggested to be less than 1200kg.

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The paddleshift gearbox is carried over from the World Rally Car, the gears above third have been changed for a higher top speed, now estimated at 180mph (290km/h). There’s a drag reduction system (DRS) too. It allows the best compromise between low drag for the TT’s long straights and also the required downforce for the twistier sections.

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Suspension set up is key too – while a low car will scythe through bends faster, it may well be upset by the lumps and bumps on the circuit. The tyres are medium-compound Dunlop Sport Maxx slicks from a British Touring Car Championship racer.

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Luka Hribar

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