Mark Higgins talks about Isle of Man tank slapper

Mark Higgins, Subaru WRX STi

A few weeks ago Mark Higgins set a new lap record for cars around the 37 mile (approx 60km) Isle of Man TT course. It’s a frightening stretch of road and Higgins averaged in excess of 180km/h in a US-spec Subaru WRX STi on his way to breaking the previous 21-year-old record. Higgins’ new mark is 19 minutes 37 seconds.

During one of his practice runs, with a motoring journo on board, Higgins had an almighty scare when he very nearly found himself facing a solid stone wall while travelling over 200km/h. To save the car from that moment is one of the better displays of driving you are likely to see. Subaru of America has released a new video with highlights of the record-breaking run and a short voiceover at the end where Higgins talks about his tank slapper.

It’s quite amazing to hear him explain his thoughts at a time when most of us would have run out of talent and, perhaps, much more.

[Source: YouTube]

Subaru Releases Dramatic Video of Isle of Man TT Circuit Record Lap

  • YouTube video shows Driver Mark Higgins setting all-time fastest production car lap of 115.356 MPH on historic Mountain Course
  • Higgins has the “Moment” at 150 MPH into Bray Hill

CHERRY HILL, N.J., June 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – Subaru of America, Inc. has released a new YouTube video of the 2011 Subaru WRX STI setting an all-time course record for the historic Isle of Man TT Mountain Course. The 5 minute 25 second video highlights in graphic detail the speed and drama surrounding rally driver Mark Higgins’ lap that averaged 115.356 MPH. After the run, Higgins talks through the “moment” at Bray Hill when he momentarily loses, and then regains, control of the WRX STI at more than 150 MPH.

Driving a US specification 2011 Subaru WRX STI, Higgins achieved speeds of 162 MPH and a lapped time of 19 minutes 37 seconds over the 37-mile track, navigating more than 200 corners.

“This is one of the most daunting tracks I have ever driven, and the most terrifying,” said Higgins, a Manx native. “We were only able to get two practice runs and on our second practice I had the biggest ‘moment’ of my career. We had a passenger on the run and so coming into Bray Hill at more than 150 MPH, the extra weight compressed the suspension more than on previous runs and shifted the Subaru to the left and then right as I corrected–it was a real tank slapper. The whole thing went by so quickly that we never slowed below 110 MPH, and then we were back on the power. It was amazing and the helicopter shots really show just how hairy it really was.”

The WRX STI was a production US spec car running a standard 305 HP turbocharged boxer engine. Some safety modifications were made. The Subaru was equipped with a Lifeline fire suppression system, Hockley Motorsports roll cage, motordrive competition seats, Mintex brake pads (but stock calipers and rotors), and a louder open exhaust to warn spectators of the on-coming car. The speed limiter was turned off to allow a higher maximum speed; off-the shelf Tien springs and dampers were added to accommodate the numerous high-speed jumps on the circuit, sending the WRX STI almost four feet off the ground. The car ran on street legal Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tires.