Higgins TT 2016_1

Bikes form the vast majority of proceedings at the annual Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. That, however, hasn’t deterred three-time British Rally Championship winner Mark Higgins from taking to the 37.73-mile (60.37 km) road course on numerous occasions in a Subaru WRX STI since 2011.

At the 2016 running of the TT, Higgins deployed a modified, Prodrive-built Subaru WRX STI during the week-long event and set the new record of 17 minutes 40.75 seconds, equating to a course average of 126.97 mph (203.15 km/h). His previous attempt in 2014 set the bar at 19 minutes 15.88 seconds, which equates to an average speed of 117.51 mph (188.02 km/h).

Higgins’ 2016 car wears more aerodynamics-enhancing bodywork; deeper chin spoiler, side skirts, rear bumper and a larger rear spoiler, while also shod with British Touring Car Championship-spec medium compound Dunlop Sport Maxx slick tyres.

Higgins TT 2016_2

After his record run, Higgins told Manx Radio, “I think 125 mph was the dream before the start. I’ve only had one practice run so I’m over the moon to do that on only my second lap and there’s a little bit more to come – definitely from me because I’m learning all the time I go around the track – and there is a little bit more to come from the car as well.

“The conditions were great – the only problem I had was in the last five or six miles when I couldn’t see for flies on the windscreen. That made things a bit difficult in the last sector, but I can’t really complain because the bike riders have them on their visors all the time,” he said.

For reference, the outright record for motorcycles at the TT stands at 16 minutes and 58 seconds set by Michael Dunlop on his BMW S1000RR at this year’s TT meet, with an average of 133.39 mph (213.42 km/h). Honda Racing rider and 23-time TT winner John McGuinness completed the podium in third.

GALLERY: Subaru WRX STI in Malaysia