Friday, 10 June 2016

Road - Lap record




Life is odd. I tend to write a lot about rallying,  especially rallying in Scotland, although I do take an interest in the wider British world of rallying. So perhaps it's odd that my favourite motor sporting event of all time is the annual Scottish Six Days Trial - for motor cycles. My second favourite event is the Isle of Man TT - also for motorcycles. Spotted a theme yet?

Earlier this week the two sports came together when Mark Higgins appeared on the Isle of Man with a purpose-built 600bhp, 2 litre turbocharged Subaru WRX STI Time Attack car jointly developed by Subaru of America, Inc. and Prodrive, with technical assistance from Subaru Tecnica International (STI).

His aim was to beat the previous lap record of 19 minutes 26 seconds (116.47 mph) which Mark set in 2014. With the top bike riders now doing 130+mph laps, how close could Mark get to these genuine superhumans? Pretty damn close as things turned out. On Monday he established a new lap record for cars of 17 minutes 35 seconds (128.73mph).


That is quite phenomenal considering the fact that the car weighs 1175kg, nearly five times as much as a bike and is geared for 'only' 180 mph compared to the 200mph top speed of the fastest bikes. Makes you wonder how he might do if he could speak to his pal James Bond and borrow his DB10 for another attempt next year. Mark stunt-doubled for Daniel Craig in the Spectre film so a DB10 on the tight and cobbled streets of Rome should be good practice for the equally exotic, flat-out, bumpy Isle of Man tarmac - or maybe not!

It was Tony Pond who started this fascination with cars on the 37 mile TT course when he established the first ever 100mph lap in a modified 2.7 litre Rover 827 Vitesse way back in 1990. His time of 22 minutes 9.1 seconds equated to an average speed of 102.195mph. And this in a car which was 'only' geared for 162 mph.

Meanwhile, back on the Isle of Man, the big race of the week takes place today, Dunlop or Hutchinson?

My thanks to BMW for the bike pics and Subaru of America/Prodrive for the Higgins pics.

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