How Can You Enjoy Launching Your Car on the Dragstrip?

06.18.16 - Manual Transmission

You have a sports car that includes a manual transmission which is meant to jump off the line and give you a lead right away, but you have never driven a sports car like this before. How then are you going to get the jump on your buddies and learn how to properly get a jump off the line to be the one in the front of the line when you finish the drag race at the track? Here are some tips as to what you need to do to get the lead and launch your car ahead of the rest.

Clutch – Before you plan your launch, and even if you plan to practice on a deserted country road, you need to choose a location that has a flat surface. Once you have the right place to launch from you will press in the clutch while not pressing the brake or gas pedals (hence the need for the flat surface).

Throttle – While holding the clutch you need to press in the throttle. The amount of throttle you need has several variables, but once you know what rpm you want you need to press it and hold the revs at that position. If you have a high torque engine you want a lower rpm and if you have a lower torque engine the rpm needed would be higher. Other factors in determining the amount of throttle used include the drive of the vehicle with FWD, RWD or AWD. FWD needs the least amount of torque while RWD can handle higher rpms and more torque. AWD vehicles will be able to handle the highest rpm in order to put power to all four wheels, allowing you to use the highest rpm for the launch off the line.

Engage – This next step is one of the trickier ones. You need to smoothly and quickly engage the clutch to your pressure plate by releasing the clutch. If you do this too fast you could spin the tires or break something in the drivetrain, both of which you don’t want to do at all. It’s important to get this right as it will put the power to the wheels and help you launch off the line with the most grip rather than spinning the wheels needlessly.

Accelerate – As you release the clutch pedal to engage you want to press the accelerator to gain the best jump forward. This takes a lot of practice to get right because you could experience some issues. If you have wheel spin when you engage the clutch it means you either have too much rpm at the initial hold position or you are putting too much throttle down as you release the clutch. If you are getting no wheel spin at all you could use more power at the hold before engaging the clutch.

Redline and Shift – As you work through the gears, rather than shifting like you would on your normal drive allow the revs to reach the redline point and then shift to the next gear. This will allow you to have the greatest advantage and use of the torque through the gear shift and give you the best continued launch and the most impressive times from zero to sixty mph.

Traction Control – Before you prepare for your launch you need to make sure the traction control is turned off to ensure it doesn’t interfere with your driving at all. If you leave the traction control system on you see a car that takes over some of the control away from you and limits the ability for the car to launch properly.

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