Launch control (automotive)

Launch control (automotive)

Launch control refers to an electronic device that is used to assist a Formula 1 driver in the very moment of the start of a race.Launch control also refers to an electronic setting on many modern sports sedans and coupes that let the driver take off from the line at a certain high speed without the wheels spinning much. Popular cars with launch control include the BMW M series, certain Volkswagens, certain GM products, and the Nissan GT-R. [ [ 2009 Nissan GT-R - Full Test: InsideLine ] ]

How it works

This device combines the effort of an electronic-driven accelerator and a computer program in the car. The software drives the accelerator according to engine specifications to make the car accelerate smoothly and as fast as possible, avoiding spinning of the drive wheels, engine failure due to over-revving and clutch and gearbox problems. This feature is only available at the start of the race, when the car is stopped in the starting grid. After the car is running at a certain speed, this device stops its work.

The reason

In high-performance racing vehicles, the driver has a very small threshold when it comes to acceleration. High power delivered by the engine to the gearbox and driven wheels cannot be easily managed even by the most experienced drivers.

Facing this issue, and with the growing development of electronics during the 1980s, led to the introduction of this type of software.

However, a rule change was made in the start of the 2008 season banning Launch control along with several other electronic aids including traction control and engine braking.Fact|date=October 2008


In 1985, Renault's RE60 F1 car had a device that hosted a diskette which stored information inside and was unloaded at the pits, giving the engineers detailed data about the cars' behaviour.

Later on, telemetry allowed the data to be sent by a radio connection between the pits and the car. The increase of electronic-driven devices on the car allowed the engineers to modify the settings of certain parameters on the car while it was on the track, this being called bi-directional telemetry.

Among the electronic driving aids there were semi-automatic transmission, ABS, traction control and active suspension. The pinnacle of the automated driving aids was achieved by Williams F1 team on its 1993 FW15C model, which featured them all. This rising trend was put to a halt by the FIA by outlawing them for the 1994 season, considering the fact that it took too much work out of the drivers' hands. Also bi-directional telemetry was forbidden, which was soon reinstated as the FIA found it too hard to analyze the engine programs in order to search for hidden code that could be found breaking the rules.

Fully automatic transmission and launch control were allowed again from the Spanish GP 2001 onwards, but as of 2004 those are forbidden for the sake of budget reduction of F1 teams.Fact|date=October 2008


* [ Honda S2000 Launch control]
* [ Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo Launch contol]
* [ Racelogic after market launch control]


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