At this year’s Isle of Man TT race on the eponymous British island, Subaru driver Mark Higgins drove a 2015 Subaru WRX STI to set a new lap record of 19 minutes and 26 seconds, breaking his own record from 2011 by a staggering 30 seconds. Higgins averaged 116.4 mph around the winding 37.8-mile course, 1 mph quicker than his previous four-wheeled record.
To achieve this blistering time, Higgins completed three runs of the course during the past week. He achieved a top speed of over 160 mph, and cited the new car’s tighter chassis as one of the main contributors to the faster time. His previous record was set in a previous-generation Subaru WRX STI, and after setting this year’s record Higgins said in a statement, “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.”
The 2015 Subaru WRX STI used for these runs was surprisingly similar to the one you can go out and buy for $35,290 in the U.S. It featured minimal modifications, using the same 305-hp, 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine, street tires, and brakes as the standard car; the only mechanical changes included slightly adjusted springs and dampers, and the requisite safety equipment comprising a roll cage, race harness, and fire extinguisher. Subaru also removed the top speed limiter and installed a louder straight exhaust for the sake of crowd safety.
Remarkably, even Higgins’ amazing lap record in the Subaru WRX STI pales in comparison to the outright lap record on the Isle of Man TT course, which is 17 minutes, 11.6 seconds set in 2013 by John McGuinness on a Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade racing motorcycle. This time equates to an unbelievable average speed of 131.7 mph — on two wheels.