Should my 04 WRX be able to stay with a Vette?
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This is a discussion on Should my 04 WRX be able to stay with a Vette? within the Comparison: WRX vs World forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; That's right. It happened and I was shocked. Let me first say this is a long-ish story, but I think ...

  1. #1
    Registered User kempobmx1's Avatar
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    Should my 04 WRX be able to stay with a Vette?

    That's right. It happened and I was shocked.

    Let me first say this is a long-ish story, but I think it's a great one.

    I was driving along on the highway going home from Boston before the winter. It was near 1am and there wasn't a soul on the road.

    After a while I notice the only car out is what appeared to be a Vette, holding 6 lengths behind me in the same lane as me (middle of three). Just to be sure it was a Vette, I had my buddy in the passenger seat look behind me to make sure it wasn't a Statie pacing me (common in MA) and he confirmed it was a Vette.

    After a while we were coming up to a minivan driving in the slow lane and I eased off a bit to let the Vette catch up just so I could see it. Oddly enough he opted to pass me on the right and the minivan was only about 100 yards ahead in that lane. As he got even with me I dropped into 4th and jumped forward a bit, blocking him behind the minivan. I wasn't planning on racing him, I was just horsing around a bit.

    Clearly he took this as a challenge (not that I wouldn't) and he pulled back into my lane right on my rear bumper. The moment we were a car length past the minivan he flicks into the right lane and went for it. I dropped to 4th again (should have selected 3rd) and went WOT. Since he got the jump on me, I matched his speed just as his rear bumper was even with my front. To my surprise I kept exactly one length behind him like that all the way up to quite a speed (not sure if I'm allowed to or if it's a good idea to post the actual speed reached here). He then backed off, so I followed suit. Essentially the race was a draw.

    I dropped down to normal highway speed and he kept going a little faster. Then I saw him take the exit I was going to take so I gunned it to catch up with him at the toll so I could wave. I caught up and rolled down my window. I waved and gave him a thumbs up but he had heavily tinted windows, so for all I knew he wasn't into honorable racing and could have been flipping me off.

    I pulled out of the toll and went on my way. Then he caught up with me at a traffic light. He pulls up on my right and rolls down his window. I didn't know if he was going to say "good race," or shoot me. I rolled down my window to have a guy in his 50s saying "Great race! You've got a real nice car there! Good job, have a good night!" I waved and said "beautiful car, you too," and we went on our ways.

    Mine is a bone stock 04 WRX and this was a 50th Anniv. body style Vette. It was an amazing experience either way, but I would have thought a Vette would be better matched against an STI in a drag race. I can't understand how my WRX held even with him.

    Any input?

    As a side note, this was the only time I've ever actually raced someone. I don't find it worth the risk to get up to those speeds. Usually if someone in a Civic or an Acura or something tries to challenge me I'll just push ahead of them real quick to show I have more power and then I'll back off.

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    Registered User Mr Giggles's Avatar
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    Not Surprising

    First of all, I'm not surprised you kept up. Your car makes up for its power disadvantage with several things. One is AWD. Your power is going to all four wheels, reducing the power lost to wheelspin to an absolute minimum. The Vette is RWD, meaning overdoing the gas can cause wheelspin (and thereby wasting power and time) with as much torque as that car has. Another thing is your turbo. Your engine performs best at high RPM (when the turbo kicks in), with a late-spiking power curve. The power curve on most naturally aspirated V8 engines, like the Corvette's, starts off high and drops off quickly past a certain point. This is why you can burn out so easily in that sort of car. Since your car performs best at high speed, the power outputs of the two cars may have been near equal at the speed you were traveling. There are other things like suspension, remaining tire tread, etc. that could have given you an advantage but those two are the big ones.

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    Registered User kempobmx1's Avatar
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    Your turbo-based justification is the one that would make sense. This race was initiated as speed so tread, suspension, and likelihood of wheel spin aren't really factors because we were in too high a gear for that to happen. I'm guessing the Vette started in 4th on a 6spd gearbox so he wouldn't be able to spin his tires.

    What you said in regards to the turbo is how I've explained it to friends that I've told, but even given that fact, I'm still surprised.

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    Registered User callmedoc's Avatar
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    Sounds like you raced a base C5. Its a mid/low 13 sec car stock. On the street, anything is possible. Good run.

    For reference, the C6 is a low/mid 12 sec car and I had no problem beating a new modded Sti hatchback (see a few threads below).

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    UnBanned Sinister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by callmedoc View Post
    Sounds like you raced a base C5. Its a mid/low 13 sec car stock. On the street, anything is possible. Good run.

    For reference, the C6 is a low/mid 12 sec car and I had no problem beating a new modded Sti hatchback (see a few threads below).
    Nailed a C6 to a wall at bandimere Altitude really seems to kill those naturally aspirated engines unfortunately...
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    Registered User Colossus's Avatar
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    Mr. Giggles your making me . AWD does more to hurt on a roll through weight and drivetrain loss than RWD does. I can put me car in 3rd at 4,000 rpm's and romp on it and guess what? It sticks. I'm not going to start wildly blowing off the tires. I also make a lot more hp and tq than a stock C5 Corvette. Also I didn't realize my power spiked high and then fall off so quickly. I could swear my dyno graph showed me producing power at 6,000 rpms. I highly doubt the power was "near equal" at that speed. Not if we are talking two stock cars.

    Was this ACTUALLY a 50th Anni car or just the C5 body? 97-2000 were kind of disappointments. They used a 2.73 rear gear so their gearing was AWFUL! Also different years got different camshafts and cylinder head designs with a different intake manifold starting in 01. These changes make an 04 and a 97 completely different animals. So there is that difference. Oh, and can you be sure it was a manual? I'm not trying to take away from the race at all, you just seemed like you were looking for possible answers.
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    Administrator RayfieldsWRX's Avatar
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    Don't Vettes from 2003'ish trap in the 109 or 110mph range?
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    Registered User John M's Avatar
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    That's the direction I was thinking too. Say the WRX traps around ~ 94 mph. The Vette is going to have at least a 12 mph advantage. I just don't see it being close unless this happened at high altitude or the Vette simply wasn't at full throttle. Or, he may not have downshifted.

    To drive this point home, my old Grand Marquis (intake, programmer) was a match for a friend's 02 WRX when starting anywhere after 40 mph.
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    Registered User Colossus's Avatar
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    Glad folks think about this stuff. I know my Z28 did 108 in the quarter stock. At least a lot of tests yielded 108. Never ran mine.
    "I am not made of steel. Rage...I...am made...OF RAGE!" - Colossus

    2001 Bright Ralley Red Camaro Z28 M6: Pacesetter Long Tube Headers, TSP Off Road Y-pipe, Hooker catback, SLP Air Lid, stock throttle body ported to 78mm. 353 rwhp 366 rwtq untuned

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    Registered User CGimpreza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayfieldsWRX View Post
    Don't Vettes from 2003'ish trap in the 109 or 110mph range?
    Maybe this one wasn't in "tip top" shape? Admittedly I'm baffled on how a stock 04 could beat a C5..

    Ah well. Kudos on the run!
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    Registered User kempobmx1's Avatar
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    Colossus, it's completely possible it was an auto. I personally believe it was not based on the driver, but I could be wrong. This guy seemed too quick to jump on the gas for someone who doesn't enjoy driving, and driving fast. Also by the things he said, I got the feeling this was not at all his first highway drag race.

    All of this is of course speculatory, but I really think it was a manual. Also when he pulled out on my bumper as the race was starting he would have to have been in a lower gear for him to get the jump on me the way he did. When he pulled out into the right lane to go for it there was no lag that would usually be indicative of an automatic transmission dropping down a gear or two.

    As for all this fuss about 1/4 mile trap speeds and such, it doesn't apply directly when the race starts at 75mph.

    One theory I have is this. I spent the whole race in 4th gear. I have a feeling the Vette, with a closer ratio gearbox, probably had to shift 4th to 5th whether it was a manual or not.

    edit: This car was beautiful. I take the driver to be a retired guy that's a big car enthusiast. I highly doubt it was in bad mechanical condition.

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    Administrator RayfieldsWRX's Avatar
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    I guess I'll just answer your question, then.

    No, your '04 WRX shouldn't be able to stay with a C5 Vette (especially after a dig), unless you've had a much larger turbo installed, with supporting mods and tune. I've owned basically the same car as you (a 2.0 liter WRX, with a brief hyatus) since 2002, in various states of tune ranging from dead stock to Stage 1, Stage 2, VF34, and now with a 2.5liter/18G hybrid. I would think that even now I would have trouble keeping up with a 2003 Vette at WOT past 55mph. 350hp and a flatter torque curve isn't something to sneeze at.

    Maybe, as said, there's something not quite right about the engine, or maybe the driver was a little shy about uncorking it.
    Last edited by RayfieldsWRX; 03-15-2010 at 11:21 AM.
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    Registered User cjm1991's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by callmedoc View Post
    Sounds like you raced a base C5. Its a mid/low 13 sec car stock. On the street, anything is possible. Good run.

    For reference, the C6 is a low/mid 12 sec car and I had no problem beating a new modded Sti hatchback (see a few threads below).
    First off, nice race. Vette drivers are nothing like viper drivers(not stuck up).My dad has an 08 or 09 z51, and its fast enough to put my old 05 sti down. The sti was protuned stage 2, and ran a 12.3 @ 109 by the previous owner. My stage 2 02 wrx would hang in any gear but maybe first with his vette. His is an auto w/ paddles btw. Once again nice race.

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    Registered User kempobmx1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayfieldsWRX View Post
    350hp and a flatter torque curve isn't something to sneeze at.
    I'm not disputing what you're saying overall. I'm surprised I kept up with it. However I think we all ought to know that it's not all about straight hp. For any TopGear fans, you may have seen when they used a stock EVO VIII to keep up with a Murcielago around a track. The EVO's 300hp held up against the Murcielago's 570, both in a straight line and in the curves. It's not all hp, it's how the car makes use of that hp.

    Another example, using cars that we might think of as normally being a little more even on the playing field (seeing as they were within two seconds of each other on the Nurburgring). The Nissan GTR makes 480bhp to the Vette ZR1's 635. Yet the GTR will do 0-60 in 3.2 to the ZR1's 3.3. I can attest to this as I've done 0-60 in a GTR in 3.3 (different road conditions might have yielded the 3.2).

    The number of horses a car has is no solid indication of it's ability in a drag race against another car.

    That being said, I'd like to reiterate my point that I'm not disputing your overall standpoint that I shouldn't have been able to win. I'm just saying that hp isn't the deciding factor.

    I will cite more examples if needed.

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