The Isle of Man TT is one of the fastest road races on the planet with a 37.73 mile course around an Island near the UK. It’s usually dominated by motorcycles but there is one car manufacturer that has been bound and determine to break the four wheel record on the course, not BMW, Audi, or even Ferrari. Believe it or not, Subaru has been dominating this record with the WRX STI since 2011.
On that record run back in 2011, Mark Higgins was behind the wheel and he was able to finish the race in 19 minutes 56.67 seconds with an average speed of 113mph. Then in 2014, Higgins would beat his own record finishing in 19 minutes 15.88 seconds and average speed of 117.5mph, which in auto racing, a forty second margin is huge. But when Higgins took another shot a the record just a few days ago he absolutely destroyed his previous record by more than 100 seconds! Using his 2016 U.S. Spec Prodrive WRX STI that has been tuned out to 600hp, Higgins was able to finish in just 17 minutes 49 seconds with an average speed of 126.97mph!
Most people would walk away after beating previous world record by that large of a margin, but not Mark Higgins. It was reported today that he got back out and raised the bar even higher by finishing in just 17:35.13, and as you could imagine, increased his average speed to 128.7mph! Now as luck would have it Michael Dunlop also set a new Superbike record with an insane 16 minute 58 second lap averaging 133.3 mph for the entire 37 mile course. I’m not sure which is more impressive, the bike finishing in such a maddening time or the fact that the car is just a minute and a half behind the more agile bike.
As we have talked about before, the Isle of Man is without a doubt the fastest and most insane race in the world. It’s one thing to hold speeds over 125mph on purpose built race tracks that have spaces to run off if you happen to come into a corner to hot. The Isle of Man is nothing like this. Most of the course is on public roads that are shut down specifically just for this race. These riders and drivers might be the definition of fearless. Flying by cement buildings, trees, fences, and maybe worse, spectators at speeds that would normally land you prison time has got to be one of the most exhilarating feelings on earth. Part of me thinks it would feel a lot safer having four wheels on the ground versus just two, but that’s also a lot more weight to handle as well as the shear size factor. To keep speed through some of the turns where you have to thread the needle between a building, fence, and group of spectators might get a little sketchy at times. That being said, I would do it in a heartbeat. Talk about a bucket list item, not necessarily to break the record, but to run that course at speed. Someday.
If you want to see what it looks like to run the TT at these record speeds here is POV video of Dunlops lap