Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A new speed record on the TT circuit

The Isle of Man is the location for the world-famous TT motorcycle race each year. It's held on the Snaefell Mountain Course, 37.733 miles long, which uses public roads, closed for the occasion by an Act of Tynwald, the island's parliament. It's the oldest racing course in continuous use in the world.

Subaru has released this footage of the 2011 Subaru WRX STI setting a new record over the course. The video description reads:

"The 5 minute 25 second video highlights in graphic detail the speed and drama surrounding rally driver Mark Higgins' lap that averaged 115.356 MPH. After the run, Higgins talks through the "moment" at Brey Hill when he momentarily loses, and then regains, control of the WRX STI at more than 150 MPH.

Driving a US specification 2011 Subaru WRX STI, Higgins achieved speeds of 162 MPH and a lapped time of 19 minutes 37 seconds over the 37-mile track, navigating more than 200 corners.

"This is one of the most daunting tracks I have ever driven, and the most terrifying," said Higgins, a Manx native. "We were only able to get two practice runs and on our second practice I had the biggest "moment" of my career. We had a passenger on the run and so coming into Bray Hill at more than 150 MPH, the extra weight compressed the suspension more than on previous runs and shifted the Subaru to the left and then right as I corrected--it was a real tank slapper. The whole thing went by so quickly that we never slowed below 110 MPH, and then we were back on the power. It was amazing and the helicopter shots really show just how hairy it really was."

The WRX STI was a production US spec car running a standard 305 HP turbocharged boxer engine. Some safety modifications were made. The Subaru was equipped with a Lifeline fire suppression system, Hockley Motorsports roll cage, motordrive competition seats, Mintex brake pads (but stock calipers and rotors), and a louder open exhaust to warn spectators of the on-coming car. The speed limiter was turned off to allow a higher maximum speed; off-the shelf Tien springs and dampers were added to accommodate the numerous high-speed jumps on the circuit, sending the WRX STI almost four feet off the ground. The car ran on street legal Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tires.

Here's the video. It's pretty spectacular, particularly the footage at the end where the near-accident is shown in slow motion. I recommend watching it in full-screen mode, if possible.

I'm glad I wasn't aboard for that . . . I think I'd have needed another heart bypass!



Old NFO said...

I wonder if the passenger even noticed??? :-)

raven said...

Guy must be a bike racer.. "tank slapper" is motorcycle lingo.

Anonymous said...

OK, which is the tougher course, Nurbergring or the TT?

I suspect Nurbergring is safer.

Who didn't have a decent car when he was in West Germany in the 1970s..sigh.

Titan Mk6B said...

A very talented driver. That took an immense amount of talent/luck to recover.