We get a little car sick just thinking about it.
Last July, Subaru driver and rally veteran Mark Higgins covered 52.4 miles of tarmac in just under 41 minutes. That doesn’t sound terribly impressive until you learn the road in question was the Transfăgărășan Highway in Romania. Within that ribbon of asphalt lies endless switchbacks, spooky tunnels, and sheer drop-offs that are a nasty side effect of climbing and descending a mountain. Another side effect – weather that can vary from clear skies to fog and rain quicker than a dog chasing its own tail. 688 turns pepper this stretch of road, so yeah, completing the circuit in 40 minutes 58.8 seconds is, in a word, fantastic. Another word? Record.
It took Subaru corporate a tad longer to produce the video above, which was just released and condenses the 41-minute adventure into a little over 7 minutes of interviews and video from the run. We aren’t sure why it took quite so long, but we’re happy to see it because damn that’s quite a road. And the Prodrive-built WRX STI used in the assault is quite a car.
We knew this already, as Motor1.com US Brandon Turkus was there for the excitement. If you haven’t read his behind-the-scenes story for this Romanian adventure you need to check it out, like now. Not only did he witness firsthand the challenges posed by the imposing mountain pass, he drove them. In his words, the Transfăgărășan “takes all the best parts of the Nürburgring; adds rougher, more uneven pavement; dozens of switchback turns; sheer drops; and enough distance to be physically and mentally demanding for anyone foolish enough to tackle it at speed.” It should be noted that he also called it heaven – with the right car.
At the end of the video, Subaru boldly proclaims “the gauntlet thrown down” with the record run. Others have made timed passes over shorter sections, but as far as we know, there hasn’t been any other such attempt to cover the 52.4 miles. Should anyone step up, we suspect it will indeed be quite a challenge to top the Subie on this – the best driving and stage rally road – in the world.