Bikes form the vast majority of proceedings at the annual Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. That, however, hasn’t deterred three-time British Rally Championship winner Mark Higgins from taking to the 37.73-mile (60.37 km) road course on numerous occasions in a Subaru WRX STI since 2011. At the 2016 running of the TT, Higgins deployed a modified, Prodrive-built Subaru WRX STI during the week-long event and set the new record of 17 minutes 40.75 seconds, equating to a course average of 126.97 mph (203.15 km/h). His previous attempt in 2014 set the bar at 19 minutes 15.88 seconds, which equates to an average speed of 117.51 mph (188.02 km/h). Higgins’ 2016 car wears more aerodynamics-enhancing bodywork; deeper chin spoiler, side skirts, rear bumper and a larger rear spoiler, while also shod with British Touring Car Championship-spec medium compound Dunlop Sport Maxx slick tyres. After his record run, Higgins told Manx Radio, “I think 125 mph was the dream before the start. … [Read more...] about Subaru WRX STI sets new Isle of Man track record
The track record
This particular Sunday started out like any other race Sunday. It was August 1969, and the Super Eliminator showdowns always attracted a rowdy crowd to Raceway Park, both in the stands and the pits. As always, this New Jersey dragstrip lured a healthy hoard of the finest high-powered race machines to do battle on Englishtown’s 1,320-foot, two-lane warpath. Bob Ida was there and confidently running what he brung: his supercharged, Hemi-powered Austin Healey known as the “Hemi Healy.” The car had become a staple on the East Coast circuit and a proverbial thorn in everyone’s side. And good old Cheshire-grinned Bob, well, he was like Castor Oil to his competitors—he looked innocuous, but he never went down easy. The Hemi Healy was running well, and the Ida team had been experimenting with various clutches. Bob was running a Clutchflite in the Healy—a B&M racing trans made popular in the 1960s. Running it was pretty basic; First gear was activated by … [Read more...] about Bob Ida’s Famous Hemi Healy Gasser Is Back Terrorizing the Track
“Yoink,” said the 2016 Viper ACR when it spotted a Porsche 918 Spyder with the blobby whale of Willow Springs Raceway sticker-outlined along its curving rocker panel. “I’ll just take that record, and while I’m at it, Laguna Seca too.” Then the Viper went on to take the Virginia International Raceway and Road Atlanta records from Corvette, and the Gingerman Raceway and Inde Motorsports Ranch records from itself, well, the previous generation of itself. That wasn’t enough, so it set seven more track records before Dodge displayed it at SEMA 2015, covered in battle grime and proudly advertising 13 track kills below its door—the most track records of any production car in the world. Laguna Seca How did Dodge make a car capable of beating a hypercar that costs eight times as much money and is, you know, German? Is the Dodge Viper ACR much more powerful? Does it have super sophisticated electronic aids? Were wizards involved? No, no, and no. … [Read more...] about The 2016 Viper ACR has 13 Track Records. How Does it Do it?
Located between Great Britain and Ireland, the small Isle of Man annually hosts one of the most dangerous and thrilling motorcycle events in the world: The International Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Race. Although the race is entirely devoted to motorcycles, for the last several years Subaru has been coming to the course in order to challenge the four-wheel lap record. Their latest entry saw a significant improvement, beating the 2014 record by more than 100 seconds! Taking full advantage of Prodrive’s 600BHP Subaru WRX STI, British rally driver Mark Higgins conquered the 37.73 miles long course by setting a rapid lap of 17:35.139 with an average speed of 128.730 mph on Monday. This broadly outclassed his previous record – set two days prior – of 17:49.75 with an average speed of 126.971 mph. This brings him closer to Michael Dunlop’s new motorcycle record of 16:58.254, the first Isle of Man TT course record set below 17 minutes. You can catch … [Read more...] about Prodrive’s WRX STI Breaks Isle of Man Track Record Wearing Gran Turismo Logos
Sebastian Vettel set the new fastest time ever seen in Sochi as he led a Ferrari one-two after FP2 for the Russian Grand Prix. The World Championship leader finished top of the timesheets with a 1:34.120, over a second quicker than Nico Rosberg’s previous outright record set in Q2 last year. FP1 leader Raikkonen finished two tenths behind his team-mate with Valtteri Bottas six tenths behind in third. Lewis Hamilton scrappy day continued as he settled for P4 after an array of offs and aborted laps, while Max Verstappen’s session was cut short due to a power failure despite finishing P5. Prior to this weekend’s action, Haas opted to change their brake suppliers from Brembo to Carbon Industrie in a bid to combat their long-running problems. However, FP2 began with an irate Romain Grosjean complaining about the same issue that has hindered the American outfit since latter stages of last season. Daniil Kvyat then suffered a small spin at the tricky Turn 13 as the … [Read more...] about FP2: Vettel on top as track record tumbles
Sebastian Vettel hailed an “incredible” job by Ferrari after he claimed the Scuderia’s first pole in Hungary since Michael Schumacher in 2005. Vettel set a new track lap record at the Hungaroring with a 1:16.276 in Budapest and is joined on the front row by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who improved to within two tenths in Q3. With Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton having to settle for the second row, it gives Vettel a great opportunity to open up his World Championship lead again ahead of the summer break. “The car all day has been incredible,” said Vettel in the on-track interview. “We did a good step forward, I like this track a lot and to have the car in the right window, the sun and people around, that’s what it’s all about. “Front row for us is incredible and we’re looking forward to tomorrow. “We are working hard. the last race wasn’t great for us. We are here and we try to do our best. We’re happy where … [Read more...] about Vettel: ‘We do our talking on the track’
If you’re not at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this Sunday, you’re going to miss what is likely to be the most spectacular piece of driving at the South Coast’s famously car-crazy estate in 15 years. Sébastien Loeb, the world’s most successful and most versatile driver, will make an attempt on the hillclimb course record in the specially built, 875bhp, 875kg Peugeot 208 T16 he used a year ago to smash the hill record at the 12.4-mile Pikes Peak course, near Colorado Springs in the US. On that occasion - which I witnessed from a perfect vantage of a couple of miles short of the finish - Loeb chopped a cool 90 seconds off the previous best. He also remarked, soon after finishing, that the car was so quick, and the sheer drops beside the narrow course were so scary, that he probably wouldn’t be doing it again. This weekend the nine-time WRC champ has somewhat less scope for carving great chunks out of the record. Nick Heidfeld's … [Read more...] about My money’s on Seb to take the Goodwood record this weekend
A serious pileup that injured 30 fans, and sent 14 to area hospitals on Saturday’s Nationwide Series race cast a somber pall over Sunday’s Daytona 500, but track officials and staff acted fast to prepare for the flagship race. The 2013 race marked the track debut of the Sprint Cup-spec Chevrolet SS sixth-gen race car, which was driven by winner Jimmie Johnson, as well as the closely-watched Danica Patrick. The Chevrolet SS won six out of the top ten finish spots, with Ford taking two and Toyota and Dodge taking one spot each in the top ten. Johnson’s victory was especially meaningful after last year’s Daytona 500, in which Johnson only finished one lap of the flagship race. Tony Stewart, who won Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, and also raced in the Daytona 500, was knocked out in a nine-car pileup on Lap 33 that also knocked Casey Kahne and Kevin Harvick out of contention. Season points leader Brad Keselowski was also involved in the accident, but was … [Read more...] about Jimmie Johnson Victorious at Daytona 500, Danica Patrick Sets Track Record for Female Driver
If you want to spend fifty days a year on-track, or even twenty, every dollar must be watched. A decent hotel can run eighty bucks or so, including tax, near most East Coast venues. Two hotel nights an event, ten events a year, will run you sixteen hundred bucks minimum. A few years ago I came up with a way to save at least eight hundred of those dollars: drive to the East Coast the night before. Playing a bit of “pickup ball”, to be coarse, can save the other eight hundred. It’s also possible to sleep in bathtubs for free if you have generous friends at the event, so pack a pillow and thick blanket along with your torque wrench and HANS device.Sunday night passes into Monday morning and I am on the road at 12:30AM to cover the 371 miles to Summit Point’s Main Course. There’s less traffic at night anyway, making it easier to read Wikipedia whenever I have 3G signal. I’ll pick a topic and wander through. From 2AM to 5AM or so I’m reading about … [Read more...] about Trackday Diaries: the long night, street habits on the track.
Before the Indianapolis Motor Speedway became the Brickyard, the famed racetrack’s surface was made of of a combination of creek gravel, limestone, taroid, and an array of various stones, and the resulting roadway crumbled like a stale cookie during the track’s inaugural auto race, in August 1909. When all was said and done, five fatalities were recorded. By the end of the year, track owner Carl G. Fisher had the track repaved in bricks. And after a year of fatality-free racing, the track held its first ever 500-mile race.Indy’s brick surface survived until 1961, at which point the track was repaved again, only this time in asphalt. It wouldn’t be the last time the track would be resurfaced, either; new asphalt has been poured onto the speedway on several occasions since.Still, underneath each new layer sit the bricks that gave the track its famous nickname, and Doug Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has tweeted out an image of a recent core … [Read more...] about Seven-Layer Dip: Indy President Shares Core Sample from the Track