Subaru has set a new lap record of 17 minutes and 49 seconds on the grueling Isle of Man course with a one-of-a-kind WRX STI built with input from a British tech firm called Prodrive.
The WRX STI was driven by Mark Higgins, an experienced pilot who has been racing Subarus for over a decade. Higgins actually set the previous Isle of Man record in 2014 when he lapped the 37-mile course in 19 minutes and 15 seconds with a bone-stock WRX STI. He set the new record — which represents a neck-snapping average of 126 mph — on his initial run, and he believes he can go even faster when gives the course a second shot.
The name Prodrive will undoubtedly ring a bell with rally fans. Prodrive helped Subaru build a string of highly successfully rally cars from 1989 until the Japanese automaker pulled out of the World Rally Championship in 2008. For the Isle of Man event, the two partners designed a track-ready WRX STI called Time Attack that receives a full body kit with a specific front bumper, a new hood with vents that keep the temperature in check in the engine bay, flared fenders, and a large wing out back.
The cabin was stripped of all equipment deemed superfluous — including the rear seats, the carpet, and the door panels, just to name a few — in order to shed as much weight as possible. Prodrive and STI, Subaru’s in-house performance division, added a full roll cage, and a pair of bucket seats up front.
Driving the WRX STI Time Attack is a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four engine that makes approximately 600 horsepower — nearly twice the output of the regular-production model — and roughly 400 pound-feet of torque. That’s plenty of power for a car that’s believed to tip the scale at less than 2,645 pounds.
Higgins will give the Isle of Man course another try today, and one final time on Friday, according to British magazine Autocar. Stay tuned to DT Cars to find out if he can beat his own record once again.