By on June 13, 2011

If Ring times have joined skidpad numbers and 0-50 times in the trash can of marketing history, what’s next? Subaru thinks they have the answer. A mostly stock United-States-spec STI (hmm, why a US-spec car in Europe, I wonder?) broke the twenty-minute mark around the Isle of Man course to set lap records on two consecutive days.

To see the car that used to hold the record, click the jump.

As with the ‘Ring “record”, the Isle of Man TT “record” had some humble and uncertain beginnings. To be precise, the “record” was set by a fellow running a Rover 827 around. We knew the Rover 827 as the “Sterling 827” in the United States. Basically, it was a first-gen Acura Legend with super-cool wood trim that fell off as you were having it loaded onto the tow truck for another fresh-transmission dealer trip. Here’s an example of one:

You get the idea, right? This was a racer having some fun. By contrast, the new “record” was set by a full factory race effort, complete with photographers and the inevitable video. So, just so we are currently clear on things, I’ve created this chart.

Isle Of Man Lap Times, Ranked

1. Subaru STi, 19:37
2. Old Acura Legend With Wood Trim, About 21 Minutes

I think Trackpedia should use this chart immediately so I can charge royalties.

The fastest motorcycles, by the way, are about two minutes faster. Will IoM TT laptimes become the new hotness? Don’t bet on it. To begin with, the “course” is only periodically available, since most of the time it is used to carry sheep to market. Furthermore, unlike the Ring, people actually live on the course. Cars have much more kinetic energy than motorcycles. The first time somebody puts a GT-R though some innocent pensioner’s front door at 185MPH, the party will be over.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!


23 Comments on “Isle Of Man Lap Times Are The New Ring Times. Maybe....”

  • avatar

    1. Subaru STi, 19:37
    2. MB SLK200, 20:XX?
    3. Old Acura Legend With Wood Trim, About 21 Minutes.

    Make it so.

  • avatar

    What we need are laptimes from somewhere that represents real-world conditions.

    Pockmarked pavement, big potholes, frost heaves, corners you really don’t want to go off on, surface changes, bad surfaces, elevation changes, the works.

    In short, the reference track should be Nelson Ledges, but I’m not sure if the farm country near Cleveland can be made to seem as exotic as the Eifel Mountains.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Hey, Ledges is in decent shape now! :)

      • 0 avatar

        Does your setup book indicate how many times per lap you go airborne, or is it still too many to count?

        Have they done something about the latrine?

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        We run springs that are soft enough to make the Kink the only place the wheels come up — and it’s only the right side.

        The bathrooms are okay enough. I mean, it’s a hole in the ground, but Mid-Ohio is no better by Day 2 of any local race.

    • 0 avatar
      John Fritz

      I can think of a few thousand possibilities right here in southeastern Pennsylvania. Just what you’re looking for.

    • 0 avatar

      Honda has their Arizona proving grounds up for sale, tracks and all (was for sale, don’t know if there has been a buyer or not).

      Provides laboratory conditions for just what you’re stating, but I suspect the GT-R is not going to pass the ground clearance section; oh it will eat the high speed oval and handling sections alive.

    • 0 avatar

      Napier _Taupo Highway New Zealand 117 km of steep hills and tight corners and 25km of straights Taupo end.But its got a speed limit!100kmh most people cannot maintain the speed limit

  • avatar

    How about a circuit in Chicago, hitting all the scenes from the final Blues Brothers chase?

    Or, dare I say it, a paved rally stage?

  • avatar

    I thought the Top Gear Test Track were the only lap times people cared about these days.

  • avatar

    The Ring will always be a great testing facility, but yeah, the preoccupation with lap times is really missing the point. I think its time to move on.

    I notice that Jaguar tests there, but refuses to indulge in the ‘faster is better’ myth when it comes to road cars. They don’t talk about times, but rather the ride / handling balance and the durability issues surrounding high speeds and full throttle over long periods of time — all of that sort of stuff, which is what I think makes for a better car… The rough road sections of any testing course are what really matter in my book, and a good frost-heaved section of Detroit sounds about right to me.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Faster *is* better, when the point of the car is to be fast.

      And when you have the corporate resources to actually *make* the car fastest in class.

      If you don’t, then you do like Jag – test to an acceptable level of performance, but don’t get into any contests with the big dogs.

      • 0 avatar

        You’ll have to excuse my ignorance. I thought the point of a good road car was to be a lot of things besides the fatest around the old ‘Ring: provide a decent ride, not break down, be enjoyable to drive, not be too expeniseve, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        In what way is any of that classic Jag.

        Particularly the “not break down” part?

        Don’t Jaguar owners always buy 2 so they have something to drive while one is in the shop?

      • 0 avatar

        On the back of my ‘classic’ Jaguar XK150 that I’ve owned for over 40 years and driven nearly 200,000 miles, is a small badge which reads ‘LeMans Winner 1951, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957’.

        I’d like to know – What part of winning the premier 24 hour race five times in a decade spells unreliabile and slow?

        Please, share your wisdom about the speed and reliability of classic Jags. Sounds like you know a lot more than me or anyone else.

  • avatar

    They’ve had a bad year on the IoM bike TT. Some 92 crashes, countless injuries and 4 fatalities. That course ain’t no breeze.

  • avatar

    The M25 (London Orbital)- 117 miles of ring road.

  • avatar

    You are not giving the original Rover record enough credit..the car was driven by Tony Pond and was fairly stock but prepared quite well and sponsored by Rover. Just looked up a video on youtube.

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • SCE to AUX: Thanks for the notice. Steady as she goes.
  • Tim Healey: Turnover is common in any form of journalism. That said, Tim was presented with a great opportunity in...
  • APaGttH: This is a bummer. Good luck to you Tim!
  • LeMansteve: “Remember when you looked at the back of a German car and could instantly decipher its engine...
  • SCE to AUX: Best wishes, Tim. I hope things can settle for you soon. As a numbers guy, I am enormously grateful for...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote


  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States