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Can You Do Launch Control on Any Car?

by Jesse Sears

The purpose of launch control is to achieve the best possible standard start from a vehicle. Manual transmission cars and those with electronic launch control systems provide the best launches. Conventional automatic transmission drivers can use a system called brake-torquing for better launches.

Manual Transmission

Performing the best launch in a manual transmission-equipped car involves depressing the clutch pedal all the way while in first gear with the left foot and using the right foot on the gas pedal to rev the engine to the desired amount. The driver should then simultaneously release the clutch and floor the accelerator. The exact revolutions per minute (rpm) the engine should attain before dropping the clutch varies from car to car.

Automatic Transmission

In an automatic transmission, a brake-torquing launch can be attempted by shifting the car into neutral, firmly depressing the brake pedal all the way to the floor, shifting the car back into drive then giving just enough gas so that the wheels do not spin. The left foot then comes off the brake while the right foot stomps on the gas. This places high strain on the transmission's torque converter and should not be attempted too frequently.

Electronic Launch

Some newer cars, especially those with dual sequential, automated, manual gearboxes, have electronic launch control built in. When actuated, these systems automatically spool the engine up to the ideal rpm, then engage first gear for a successful launch.

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