In the first week of June 2011, Subaru of America, Inc. announced that it will be the official car partner of the Isle of Man TT for the next three years. The Isle of Man TT is one of the world's most famous motorcycle road races, which takes place on the mountainous island located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. The race's closed road course is 37-plus miles in length. Subaru will provide vehicles for the motorcycle racing organization to use during the events.
As part of the sponsorship arrangement, rally driver Mark Higgins (brother of Subaru Rally Team USA driver David Higgins) has run demonstration laps on the closed course in a stock U.S.-spec Subaru WRX STI. On June 10, Mark Higgins set the all-time fastest lap of the Isle of Man TT Mountain Course for a production car. The previous record was an average of 100 miles per hour; it had stood for 21 years.
Some specifics on the run by Mark Higgins:
- Lap speed average -- 115.356 miles per hour
- Lap time -- 19 minutes, 37 seconds
- Top speed on course -- 162+ miles per hour
Safety modifications were added to the stock WRX STI, including:
- Lifeline fire suppression system
- Hockley Motorsports roll cage
- Competition seats
- Mintex brake pads (stock calipers and rotors)
- Open exhaust (which helped to warn spectators of an oncoming car)
Read more about the record-breaking lap here.
Also, take a look at the official site of the Isle of Man TT, where you'll find details about the motorcycle races. You might enjoy browsing the "TT Archive" button, which includes a history and database of the event.
-- Ric Hawthorne