Mark Higgins was confident he could set a new Isle of Man TT Challenge lap record for a production car in the new 2015 Subaru WRX STI. After all, he had been the one to set the record in 2011 in the previous generation WRX STI. He knew this new production 2015 STI had been upgraded significantly over the outgoing model.
Two significant upgrades to 2015 STI
The biggest differences are in the steering and chassis updates for the 2015 model. This made all the difference as Higgins blew away the old lap record he set 3 years ago. Handling has been enhanced with firmer springs and quicker steering response (13.3:1 ratio) for improved control. Higgins could feel the difference as he flew around the 37-mile Isle of Man TT road course.
Higgins had new body monitors
Also new for this years record run was Mark Higgins had a body monitor strapped around him to monitor heart rate in beats per minute, breathing rate in breaths per minute, body temperature, and also the G-force on his body. He was surprised at the results after the race. His heart rate was slow until he began the record run, and then his body matched the cars acceleration.
Higgins set record on Wednesday
Higgins actually set two records this year in the 2015 WRX STI. Earlier in the week, the STI set a record lap of 116.470 and a time of 19.26, breaking the old record of 115.36. But Higgins knew he left time on the track and could even go faster in the new-generation STI.
Higgins leaves time on the track
But the Manx native said was that he could have driven it even faster. He said, “I think there is definitely time that we left on the course. I lost time on the second part of the track, overshooting my braking point at Sign Post corner. I actually hand-braked the turn in the end, so I feel we can definitely do better.”
Higgins knew he could go even faster and set another record in his final run. Higgins driving a U.S. spec 2015 Subaru WRX STI broke his lap record of the fabled 37-mile course with an average lap speed of 117.510 and a time of 19 minutes and 15 seconds. In Higgins’ record lap earlier in the week, the Manx native said several errors caused him to lose time and he was determined to get more out of new-generation STI, and he did.
Watch Subaru TT Challenge 2 video.