The Isle of Man TT Motorcycle Race is, given the name, used to seeing lots of two-wheelers. This year, Subaru’s four-wheeled Impreza WRX STI will stand apart from the crowd and take on the island’s narrow and twisty roads, but it’s not the first time a car has tackled the bike course.
Legendary rally racer, Tony Pond, set out in 1988 with his Rover Vitesse to try and become the first production car to average a 100 mph lap around the island, but Pond’s attempt was an unsuccessful one. In 1990, the rally racer challenged the circuit again and wowed spectators as he and his Rover 827 Vitesse became the first ever production car and driver to average over 100 mph around the Isle of Man TT circuit of 37.75 miles at 22:09:01 minutes.
The record still stands, but that could possibly change if rally driver Mark Higgins could top Pond’s time in the turbocharged 305-hp Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Close to showroom spec, the WRX will undergo minor safety modifications -- roll cage, race seats, and harnesses -- with upgraded brake pads and Pirelli racing tires. A louder exhaust will keep fans aware of the on-coming car.
The Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) is considered one of the most prestigious motorcycle races since its debut, dating back as early as 1907. It continues to be a highly anticipated event, as bikes averaging speeds of 130mph zoom through the island’s narrow and urban roads. John McGuinness holds the current record set in 1999, in which he averaged 131.578-mph and finished the circuit in 17:12:30 minutes on his Honda CBR1000RR.
Sure, Pond’s 22:09:01 minute time and Rover 827 Vitesse might not compare to motorcycle speeds, but it might prove to be a challenge for Higgins.
Check out Tony Pond’s smooth as silk ride in the Rover Vitesse 827 in the video below. Do you think Higgins could perform better in the STI?
Source: Subaru, Youtube