Despite that, he broke Pond’s record with an average of 113, returning three years later to better that lap by 41 seconds, hiking the average speed by 4mph.
But those production Subarus were cast firmly into the shade last November when Subaru USA and Prodrive started work on the TT Attack car.
Based on the running gear from a 2008 Impreza WRC, the modern day WRX STI now boasts a Banbury-tuned 2.0-litre engine – complete with a bigger blower and stronger crank – and a DRS-activated rear wing. Bolt on some sticky BTCC-spec Dunlop slicks and slide the Manxman behind the wheel and he’s good to go.
And go Higgins did. Despite not having completed a lap at race speeds for three years, he smashed his own record at his first attempt. He stopped the clock at 17m49.75s, an average of 126.971mph. Two days later he’d gone even quicker and was just a fraction off 129. The target for the third run was 130mph. That third run never came due a combination of accidents during the TT races and wet weather.
“This is probably the best car I’ve driven in my career,” said Higgins, “it’s a World Rally Car with twice the horsepower… It’s fantastic. It’s been a genuine honour and privilege to be allowed to drive the TT course again and to do it in a factory Prodrive car – I’ve waited a long time to do that.
“Of course there’s regret that we didn’t get that third run, I honestly think 130 was possible, but that gives us something to shoot at if we come back. Maybe there is some unfinished business. But for now, we’re taking it to Goodwood, where we’ll have a blast up the hill. Goodwood’s always a fantastic event, a real occasion and this car’s definitely going to add to that!”