The only time that I have ever been beaten was by a tuned ACR (250+ whp), on slicks, with a driver that had already had 5 years under his belt when I had 1.5. Really hasn't gotten close since, and that same car is usually 2+ seconds behind me, regardless of the track design. (Now a little over 3 years)
I got kicked around by a Buick and a diesel Rabbit when I started though, so the car barely even matters without driving experience.
My experience with driving an SRT was on a test drive when they first came out. I was impressed by the power, but I was expecting that. I came upon a twisty that would hardly even give me trouble in the SVTF, but seemed to seriously confuse the SRT-4. My first thought was honestly, "This thing handles like a milk truck!" Lots of body lean, not much front-end communication. The way it floats around especially would hamper it on course with quick transitions. It simply has a much harder time getting it's balance back before being able to get into the next manouver.
I will use one particular example. Another FFer (Venom713 I believe) came out to our last couple events with an SRT-4 owning buddy who had been saying the same kind of things. 3 days after the second event he told me that same buddy was trading his tuned SRT-4 in on an SVTF. What does that tell you?
The SRT-4 is a good street car, would be a decent open-track car, and is a great car for sport compact drag racing. It simply doesn't compete at the same level as the SVTF on the AutoX course though.
Don't waste another minute waiting on parts, or anything else. Just get out there and start racing! You will suck at first, and you will be slower than many other cars, but the only thing you will regret is not starting earlier...