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Cherry Hill, N.J., June 3, 2011 - Subaru of America Inc. announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement of the Isle of Man TT Races and will run a U.S. specification Subaru WRX STI on several timed laps of the famous TT motorcycle course. The previous timed lap for a car was run 21 years ago by legendary motorsport racer Tony Pond who completed the course at an average speed of over 100 mph (160 km/h).
The course is the perfect test for the Symmetrical AWD confidence and control of the turbocharged, 305-horsepower Subaru WRX STI. Known primarily as a motorcycle circuit, the iconic Mountain Course is known to be one of the harshest tests of man and machine. For more than 100 years, the Isle of Man has been home to the TT Races and is notable not only for its 37 3/4 mile length, but also for the average speed of the motorcycle racers who compete through the island's narrow roads and small towns at speeds averaging over 130 mph.
Rally driver Mark Higgins will drive a standard Subaru WRX STI on the closed course run of the Snaefell Mountain Course. Manx born and raised, the former British Rally Champion and World Rally stage winner has dreamed of driving the course for years. As part of the Subaru TT Challenge, Higgins will look to set the fastest time for a 4-cylinder production engine vehicle. A timed lap of the closed course was last run in 1990.
"I'm really excited at the opportunity," said Higgins. "I know it will be hard work, but it's a great challenge and I'm really looking forward to it."
As a former test driver for Subaru, he has a long association with the factory. Mark Higgins' brother David currently drives for the Subaru Rally Team USA.
For the timed lap, Higgins will drive a US-spec Subaru WRX STI with minor safety modifications. The WRX STI will feature a roll cage, race seats and harnesses, uprated brake pads and will run Pirelli racing tires. A louder exhaust has also been specified to alert fans to the on-coming car.
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About Subaru of America, Inc. Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 600 dealers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.