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Subaru Rally Driver David Higgins Breaks Mt. Washington Record 10
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, David Higgins, Kurt, Mt. Washington, Subaru, video on 08 10th, 2011

Mount Washington’s Climb to the Clouds sounds simple enough: a solo driver, in a purpose-built race car, crosses a starting beam and then tries to produce the fastest time up the mountain. Along the way, he’ll likely encounter wet pavement, dry pavement, loose gravel, clouds, fog, and wind. He’ll also encounter the kind of sheer drop-offs that ensure making a mistake is a one-time thing. There are no guard rails, there are no corner workers and there are no safety nets.

This year marks the first official running of the Climb to the Clouds in a decade, and the official time to beat was 6:41.99 seconds, set by Frank Sprongl in 1998. Travis Pastrana did an exhibition run up the mountain in 6:20.47 last year, but the time didn’t count since it wasn’t recorded during a sanctioned event. Pro rally driver David Higgins clearly had his work cut out for him, and his goal was to beat both the “official” time and Pastrana’s unofficial record pace. In the end, Higgins crossed the line in 6:11.54, beating Pastrana’s time by nearly nine seconds and shaving over 30 seconds off the record. His 2011 run, in the video below, is epic enough, but the driver has set a new goal for next year: weather conditions permitting, Higgins wants to run a sub-6:00 time.

Source: YouTube via Autoblog

Subaru Prepares For The Sno*Drift Rally 28
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Dave Mirra, David Higgins, Motorsport, rally, Rally America, Subaru, video on 01 28th, 2011

David Higgins, on the throttle.

Subaru may have pulled out of WRC competition, but the brand is still very much active in the Rally America Championship. Travis Pastrana has moved on to NASCAR, but Dave Mirra is back for the 2011 season, joined by fellow driver David Higgins. Both will pilot Vermont Sports Car built Impreza WRX STIs for the 2011 season, which kicks off with this weekend’s Sno*Drift Rally in Atlanta, Michigan. The Sno*Drift event features some 130 miles of racing, over snow and ice covered roads. Nearly 33% of the event is run at night, and northern Michigan’s ever-changing winter weather usually creates some interesting challenges on the course. Rally America doesn’t allow the use of studded tires, which puts a heavy emphasis on car setup and smooth driving. Check out Mirra and Higgins shaking down their 2011 cars in the video below.

Rally America has lost some big name drivers in the off-season, which won’t help to boost the series popularity. Ken Block appears to be focusing on WRC, since he’s not running this year’s Sno*Drift (but I wouldn’t count him out for next month’s 100 Acre Wood Rally, which Block seems to win every single year). Travis Pastrana is figuring out the whole go fast, turn left thing, which leaves Dave Mirra as the closest thing Rally America has to a rock star driver. Look for Mirra to mature as a driver this year, since he clearly understands the importance of working with a co-driver to develop solid pace notes. In rallying, being fast is less important than being smooth and consistent, since nothing chews up time more than mistakes and crashes. Like the old racing wisdom says, “To finish first, first you’ve got to finish”.