Yup the 2.3 is lighter ... but even rarer to find than the SVT.
I do agree with the low-end grunt, but a bit of tuning and you should be good to go. Get the torque back, lose the top end and competition here we come.
I drive my SVT for STF, and I love it ... especially now that the Civics are out of the class. But to tell you the truth, as many have said before, it's not all the car, it's of course the driver as well. Car helps, but it takes guts and talent to hold the speed through a corner after a tight slalom.
I have taken out the Civics back in standard ST in the years before a couple of times, so if I would have been more brave and setup the car just a bit more better ... I think I would have had them fully.
Good luck on your choice and finding a car.