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Launch Control: What Is It And How Does It Work?

How to use launch control?

Checkered flags, crowds and big prizes used to be what came to mind when you thought of supercharged performance cars being put through their paces. Truth is, the Subaru brand owes a huge part of its popularity to that arena — but that doesn’t mean the capacity is sequestered to professional racing alone.

Let’s talk about Launch Control

Facts and Benefits of Launch Control

Once consigned to only the most expensive supercars, launch control is far more widely sought after and found across more “everyday” super-powered cars today.

Launch control explained: Launch control eliminates wheel spin and hop, maximising usable power, weight transfer and traction and — in forced-induction powertrains — it builds boost to a required level.

Newer cars (with launch control options) will allow you to engage a specific driver mode within the traction control settings to initiate launch control. Once the setting has been selected, the brake needs to be held down for a given time before the throttle is floored. The rev counter then hits a predetermined limit where it’s then up to you to step off the brake. At this point, the throttle is specifically applied to allow for the least amount of wheel spin and maximum acceleration. The brake pedal effectively works as a trigger mechanism, with a sensor telling the ECU to engage the clutch to get the car going.

Pre-set rev limiters (set within the car’s computer) will cut ignition to ensure that the engine cannot reciprocate any higher. Rev limiters are mostly set to between 3500 and 4500rpm, which dips accordingly once the torque has been released to the wheels. This limit has been calculated by the engineers who programmed the ECU, finding the maximum torque output through to the wheels that will make for the fastest acceleration.

While launch control has become ever more popular across supercar spec sheets worldwide, it’s most effective on those that are turbocharged or supercharged specifically. By allowing your car’s engine to reach a rev limit at standstill, launch control systems allow a turbocharger to spool up in preparation for launch — thereby delivering a much higher power output from the engine than from a regular launch.

Launch control vs anti-lag

Don’t get launch control confused with anti-lag which essentially creates small explosions in the exhaust system just ahead of the turbocharger to keep it spooled.

Do Subaru vehicles have launch control?

While many newer models have a launch control button, this is something many people with older models are still keen on trying out, and can do so manually.

In the Subaru WRX STI

  • Find a clear safe space with straight-away to try your launch control
  • Take off traction control
  • Use the access port to set the rpm to 5200
  • Hold the clutch in
  • Press down the accelerator and you’ll see the rev counter ascend to 5200rpm
  • Release the clutch

Remember to be careful and enjoy exploring your launch control experiences responsibly.

Speed enthusiasts don’t look like they used to. In fact, that’s the point. It’s anyone’s game to explore their interests, meaning that race-car experiences are now enjoyed by drivers of all walks of life. With our world-class safety tech in place, we at Subaru only ask you to be careful with the safety of those around you too.

Whether it’s high revs or not, we’ve got a Subaru that will fit into your lifestyle so well, you’ll wonder how you did life before it! Why not book a test drive and see if all this talk translates to enough torque to have you convinced?

Use our store locator to find your nearest dealership, and if you would like to know more about the Subaru range, you can call us on +27 11 608 0116 or email info@subaru.co.za and a skilled member of our team will be happy to assist you.

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