You wont see this match up very often but I own a sum-what heavily modded 1996 Saab 900 SE turbo and got a chance to match up with a STI today. It was a great setup for a friendly race. Got on the highway behind him and as he merge over he started to speed up I got behind him by three car lengths and matched his speed of 50mph. He realized I wanted a go at his STI, and probably thought the Saab would be easy prey, so he hit the gas. I down shifted to third and stayed right with him, actually gaining slowly closing to two and a half car lengths. He smoothly changed lanes to get around a car and I followed. Maintaining a safe distance from him and the other cars I dropped back to a 3 car length from the STI. The straightaway we were on was coming to an end and a long curve was coming up.
At this point I hit the rev-limit in 3rd at 7000 rpm and shifted into fourth. I knew that the rev-limit at 3rd meant I was going 115 mph and the curve ahead, which I have taken before, would not let me go more than 125 mph. I again gained on the STI and closed to the gap to 2.5 car lengths by the beginning of the curve.
The STI fell victim to the same lateral g-forces as me in the curve and was forced to maintained a steady speed of 127-130 mph. I held the curve as best I could but my old suspension and winter tires would not allow me the same steady speed as the STI. With a few mph difference the STI was able to widen the gap to 3.5 car lengths by the end of the turn. But once I was on the straight I floored it again and was able to cut the gap down to 3 car lengths.
At this time he tapped his brake lights realizing that our speeds were getting dangerous. I looked down at my speedometer, 138 mph was fast enough for me and I slowed it down, race over. He pulled over to his exit ramp and I came up next to him. He was in his late 20ís to early 30ís and gave a friendly and rather surprised wave. I smiled back and gave him the thumbs up and we went our separate ways.
My ski rack didnít help my aerodynamics and if the road was completely straight I would have been able to pull along side him by the end. I was actually surprised my Saab was faster than the STI at speed, especially since I was using my low boost setting of 20 psi. But I do know that an STI will absolutely kill me off the line and post 1/4 times a least a second faster than me.
It was fun. Now I just have to wait for the Saab 9-2 STI to come out.
For info on my Saab's mods check out my website.
My Saab Site