Fresh from his Saturday effort which netted him a 17 minute 40.75 second record, three-time British Rally Championship winner Mark Higgins has raised the bar again – yesterday saw him post a 17 minute 35.139 second lap time with an average speed of 205.97 km/h around the 60.37 km road course on the Isle of Man.

“I’m delighted to beat the record again. It’s a fantastic achievement. However, I didn’t feel I was driving as well as I did on Saturday. We had a bit of a fuel pressure issue just before the start of the lap but the boys got it sorted. Due to the higher ambient temperature the car was starting to move around a bit towards the end of the lap,” Higgins told Autocar after the his record run on Saturday.

“I was worried after I finished the lap because I got caught in a lot of traffic coming back into Douglas and the car’s temperatures started to get really hot. Getting stuck in traffic after you’ve finished a TT lap isn’t usually a problem!” he added.

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The WRX STI deployed for this year’s runs at the Isle of Man is much further removed from a showroom standard unit compared to Higgins’ previous vehicles. Where the 2014 car was closer to standard, the car that Higgins is driving this year is a joint effort between Subaru and Prodrive.

A larger turbo and revised engine management pushes power to 600 hp/542 Nm, with the 2.0 litre turbocharged boxer four revving to 8,500 rpm and on to an estimated 290 km/h top speed. With a kerb weight said to be less than 1,200 kg, Prodrive claims this WRX STI has a power-to-weight ratio comparable to that of a GT3-class racing car.

Subaru Isle of Man TT 2016

For the 60.37 km circuit, where the car spends 75% of its time at full throttle, Higgins’ WRX STI is configured with a WRC-spec gearbox, albeit with gears fourth and above changed for longer ratios and for durability. Thanks to Prodrive’s experience in GT-class racing with Aston Martin, the modified Subaru also gains a drag reduction system (DRS) to give the car better balance of performance between long straights and high-speed bends.

To handle the rigours of the road course, the time attack WRX STI runs suspension settings close to that of a tarmac rally car, though still with more ground clearance than a dedicated track racer.

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