2013 Shelby GT500 Launch Control Ensures Smooth Starts Regardless of
? 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is the first to be equipped from the factory
with launch control
? SVT engineers have given Shelby GT500 drivers the ability to
fine-tune the launch control settings, spinning wheels for consistent,
DEARBORN, Mich., May 17, 2012 ? Paraphrasing a classic quote ?
"With great power comes the need for great control" ? the
engineers at Ford's Special Vehicles Team have stepped up to the plate
to manage the massive output of the 2013 Shelby GT500.
Whether a driver is a track-day veteran or getting his first
ultra-high-performance sports car, the new launch control system on
the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 will help ensure he gets smooth, consistent
and fast starts every time.
Uncontrolled wheel spin is generally undesirable, whether commuting to
work or racing away from the Christmas tree on a Friday night at the
drag strip. Both safety and performance suffer when the wheels can't
get enough grip on the road. However, properly regulated, some wheel
slip can be your friend.
"Launch control is essentially a special mode of the traction
control system that integrates the brake and engine management systems
to keep the tires balanced on the peak of the mu-slip curve in order
to achieve maximum thrust," explains John Pfeiffer, senior
engineer, SVT Vehicle Engineering. "With so much more power and
torque on tap from the new 5.8-liter V8, launch control makes it
easier for drivers to take advantage of the performance."
With launch control enabled, the driver just has to press the
accelerator pedal to the floor and then smoothly and quickly release
the clutch pedal just as he normally would when executing a clean
start. The difference is that the electronics will automatically hold
the engine steady at the desired speed and manage the rear brakes to
allow the optimum amount of wheel slip for maximum traction.
"We recognize not every driver has the same style, and surface,
tire and climate conditions vary," said Eddie Khan, SVT
Engineering supervisor. "Most of our competitors' launch control
systems have a fixed engine launch speed. We've given Shelby GT500
drivers the ability to adjust the engine speed to achieve best and
most consistent performance, no matter where and when they
Shelby GT500 drivers can enable launch control in two ways ? either
through Track Apps? on the 4.2-inch LCD in the instrument cluster or
simply by tapping a switch on the left side of the instrument panel.
When using the Track Apps screen, drivers can also adjust the desired
engine speed for the launch in 100 rpm increments from 3,000 to 4,500
rpm. When first getting accustomed to launch control or if the
pavement is cooler, a lower speed may be more appropriate. Switching
to racing tires or running in an autocross event on a warm Saturday
morning may call for a launch speed closer to the upper end of the
Once the desired engine speed has been set, launch control can be
toggled on or off by tapping the instrument panel switch ? more
convenient than the intricate multistep process required on many other
vehicles. After the launch control has been enabled or disabled, it
retains that mode even after the engine has been switched off and
restarted, something drag racers frequently have to do as they slowly
make their way through the lines to the next quarter-mile pass.
"We developed this system to enable 90 percent of drivers to be
able to achieve very fast, smooth and consistent starts with the
Shelby GT500 regardless of their skill level," said Khan.
"Experienced drag racers may be able to get away slightly
quicker, but chances are they won't be as consistent."
Veteran drag racers will find the Shelby GT500 also gives them extra
flexibility. Switching off the traction control while the launch
control is on produces an rpm-only mode that engine calibration
engineer Tom Siebyla has tuned to keep the engine speed rock-steady
with the electronic throttle and ignition without scrubbing off any
speed with the brakes. Autocrossers or track-day racers can also mix
and match the normal, sport and off modes of the stability control
with the launch control to achieve the degree of sliding or control
that best suits the conditions or their personal driving style.
For those times when there isn't enough grip to use launch control
effectively, such as dust or moisture on the pavement, Ford electronic
brake control development engineer Dan Dunn has built smarts into the
launch control that enable it to automatically switch off and revert
to traction control.
"It's not as intrusive as some TC systems have been in the
past," added Khan. "We wanted to help the driver make
consistent starts without getting in the way."
Launch control won't do the driving, but it is a tool to help drivers
extract consistent high performance from the most powerful production
"For drivers who want to have some fun at their local drag strip
with a stock machine, the 2013 Shelby GT500 is the ultimate bracket
racer," said Khan. "We've given our drivers the ability to
exert control over all the power and torque this Mustang can
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