If you want to be fast in any situation, whether it's professional drag racing or just having some fun, you need to be able to launch your vehicle properly off the line. Generally, this means maximizing traction and not putting down so much power that your wheels lose grip. While there are habits you can make that will ensure a good launch, more high-powered cars are coming with a feature called launch control that helps you achieve a good start every time.
What is Launch Control?
Essentially, all launch control is, is a computer system that works to get your car up to speed as quickly as possible from a dead stop. These systems were made famous by the Nissan GT-R but have since proliferated to several other models in the industry. The point of the system is to reduce excessive wheel spin, wheel hop and make use of things like weight transfer to get the right amount of power down to the wheels each and every time you launch your car.
How Does It Work?
Each car has a different sequence to initiate launch control. Rather than try to go into specifics, we’ll just hit the main things you need to know. First, you’ll have to engage a specific driver mode and traction control settings. Second, you’ll need to hold the brake down and let the engine rev to appropriate level. Third, you step off the brake and launch the car.
When you let off the brake, the clutch engages and the car will rocket forward. All the hard work is done by the car’s computer system. It regulates wheel spin, weight shifts, engine revs, transmission shifts and a lot more to help ensure you fly off the line like a winning driver each and every time you engage the system.
Why is It Important?
Before launch control systems, there were more than a few incidents of people damaging their cars. All the stuff the computer system does, you had to do yourself. This made it difficult. It also created scenarios where people could damage their cars.
Launching your car from a dead stop is never easy on the vehicle, but launch control can help reduce the amount of stress it puts on your vehicle. In general, dual clutch transmissions are used in cars with launch control because of the number of clutches and the way in which DCTs deal with heat and stress.
Some people consider launch control to diminish the driving experience because it automates things that you used to do manually. This is an unavoidable fact. If you get satisfaction from driving, you may feel you’re cheating a little bit in a car that has launch control.
It’s similar to the automatic and manual transmission debate that many car guys have. Many die-hard car fans feel an automatic takes the fun out of driving while others prefer the ease of use of an automatic transmission. We get both sides of the argument. While we see the merits of doing things yourself, sometimes letting technology do it for you yields favorable results.