||The present work considers the turbulent air flow inside an annular high speed rotor-stator cavity opened to the atmosphere at the periphery, where the pre-swirl ratio of the fluid is low. The interdisk spacing is sufficiently large so that the boundary layers developed on each disk are separated and the flow belongs to the regime IV of Daily and Nece (ASME J. Basic Eng. 82 (1960) 217–232). In such a system, the solid body rotation of the core predicted by Batchelor (J. Mech. Appl. Math. 4 (1951) 29–41) in case of infinite disks is not always observed: the flow behaviour in the whole interdisk spacing is governed by the level of the pre-swirl velocity of the fluid which is closely linked to the peripheral geometry (Debuchy et al., Int. J. Rotating Machinery, (2007)). In the first part of the paper, experimental results performed by hot-wire probes introduced through the stator including mean radial and tangential velocity components, as well as three turbulent correlations, are presented for several peripheral boundary conditions leading to the same value of the pre-swirl ratio. In the second part, comparisons between experiments, numerical and analytical results are provided. The numerical approach is based on the Reynolds Stress Modeling (RSM) developed by Elena and Schiestel (Int. J. Heat Fluid Flow 17 (1996) 283–289). A good agreement between the different approaches is obtained for the mean and turbulent fields and especially for the distribution of the core swirl ratio.