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The Subaru WRX STI, which was tweaked to achieve 600bhp and a 180mph top speed, will be used to set a new record on the Isle of Man TT course. The company wants a new benchmark beyond the one attained by Mark Higgins in 2014 with a production STI.
When Higgins used the car in 2014, it was close to the standard as possible, except that it comes with uprated dampers and slick tires to manage the track’s vicious bumps. But this time, the Subaru WRX STI is specifically built for the purpose of the competition.
This project is a joint partnership of Subaru USA and the Branbury-based preparation specialist Prodrive. It is fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer engine that shares its hardware with the WRC engine. The tuning program mixed this engine up with a larger turbo, allowing it to produce 600bhp and 400 pound-feet of torque.
The WRX STI has a kerb weight of less than 1,200kg, meaning the STI has a comparable power-to-weight ratio to a GT3 racing car.
The STI will have a unique mechanical set up because of the demands of the 37-mile TT circuit, where 75 percent of the lap must be spent in full throttle. This means that the gear above the third shift can go as high as 180mph. The car will also have better handling and durability.
And to make the maneuvering better for the driver, the WRX STI will also have the Drag Reduction System (DRS)—born out of Prodrive’s history with Aston Martin’s GT racing. This system can be activated through a button on the dashboard.
The suspension will play an important role for the project, too. What the tuning program did is to set up the car’s EXE-TC dampers similar to that of a tarmac rally car. The front splitter is low, but higher than the ones on a circuit car.
The attempt to break the record will take place in the next few days as the TT schedule is unveiled. More details are bound to come out soon.