When a high-performance car needs to launch itself off the line, the driver sometimes has to use something called ‘launch control’.
If it sounds like something out of an Apollo moon mission, that’s because it’s the same – in theory.
Launch control works exactly as it says on the tin – to assist in launching your high-performance Porsche, BMW M car or even the famous Nissan GT-R.
But I can do that myself without this nannying software, we hear you say. Why do you need launch control?
Why do I need launch control (LC)?
In short, launch control is a piece of software that helps you accelerate your car without any histrionics like wheelspin or worse, blowing a cylinder on your engine.
Anyone can launch off the line, especially in a manual car: clutch in and depress the throttle to a certain RPM, and then dump the clutch. Pretty simple, right?
However, doing so can damage many things on your car like the clutch, drivetrain, engine and gearbox, especially after repeated attempts.
Launch control helps to prevent all that.
How does LC work?
First, the software must launch you off the line in the most fuss-free yet quickest way possible.
That means it needs to take in lots of parameters in order to do so.
Specifically, LC must first ensure there is no wheelspin – otherwise, all that power is wasted – which means detecting wheel slip and adjusting power to the wheels accordingly.
It also needs to make sure the engine doesn’t over-rev, nor the transmission overheat.
Usually, cars have a specific button to activate launch control. Those that don’t have a specific procedure to activate it.
Normally, you depress the brake with your left foot, while your right foot depresses the throttle.
Once the engine revs to a pre-set limit – and in a turbocharged car, once boost builds to a certain level – you release the brake pedal, and away you go!
Launch control will deploy power as much as possible to the wheels and initiate shifts as quickly as it can, all while minimising wheelspin.
That ensures the most amount of power gets put down to the road without any wastage.
Of course, your tyres must be suited for repeated attempts at breaking the sound barrier too!
With all that, take care on the road and happy launching!