Mark Higgins breaks TT lap record for cars with Prodrive Subaru

Three-time British Rally champion Mark Higgins blew his own Manx TT course lap record out of the water this week with an average speed of 128.730mph in a Prodrive-built Subaru

Mark Higgins breaks TT lap record for cars with Prodrive Subaru

This is the third year Higgins has attempted the record. In 2011 he beat his hero Tony Pond's best time for the 37.73-mile lap by some margin; driving a Rover 827 Vitesse, Pond went around in 22m09.1s in 1990, posting the first ever four-wheeled lap at more than 100mph.

Higgins set 19m56.67s in 2011, returning in '14 to lower that to 19m15.88s - which equated to 117.51mph. Both of those were set in largely standard Subaru WRX STIs.

This year Subaru USA tasked Prodrive with building the ultimate WRX.

Based on the running gear from a 2008 World Rally Car, but with a bigger turbo fitted to produce 600bhp and 800Nm of torque, it also ran on a pure Dunlop slick for the first time.

Without even completing a full lap in practice, Higgins posted 17m49.75 on the first day of TT competition last Saturday.

Two days later, he went even quicker with a 17m25.139s - an average speed of 128.730mph.

AUTOCAR VIDEO: HIGGINS ON THE TT COURSE

Higgins had been hoping for a third run on Friday, but the death of a rider in the Senior TT bike race and approaching rain ruled out what he is sure would have been a 130mph average lap.

In that Senior race, Michael Dunlop broke the lap record on his Hawk BMW bike, lapping at an average of 133.962mph.

That Higgins was struggling to get 170mph on straights where the bikes are topping out at 203mph shows the speed the Subaru was generating through the corners.

"I've loved it," said Higgins, "It's been an absolute honour and privilege to come here and do this.

"To be allowed to drive that car on this circuit is one of the best things I've ever done in my whole career - it's just a shame it took me so long to get into a factory Prodrive car!

"I'm gutted not to get the third run. I think 130mph would have been achievable, that's what I was setting out for, but it didn't happen.

"Considering we came here dreaming of an average speed of 125mph and I did that on my first lap of the track in two years, I'm pretty pleased. But there was definitely more to come from me and the car.

"But, having said all of that, Friday was a tough day on the island. Losing two riders was tragic and when you get accidents like that, it kind of puts everything into perspective."

Higgins added that the car had been well received at the world-renowned bike race.

"The response to what we've been doing has been incredible, from all around the world," said Higgins.

"But it's really special when Michael Dunlop comes over and says he can't get his head around what I'm doing.

"I told him I felt exactly the same way about what he was doing!"

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