Launch Techniques

3SX Peformance 1

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What is the best way to launch a VR-4?

      Launching at the drag strip (or anywhere where a good launch is required) is a delicate art. The AWD can be difficult to master - we get so much traction in our cars that launching involves a lot more than "raise throttle, dump clutch". Start from too low of an rpm, and you'll get shoddy acceleration and high turbo lag. Start from too high of an rpm, and it will be difficult to prevent clutch spin. Let the clutch out too slowly, and you'll superheat the clutch face and get clutch spin all the way through first gear (and maybe second, and maybe even third if you *really* screwed it up). Let the clutch out too quickly, and you'll bog (rpms drop) due to all of the traction from the AWD, leading to the same poor acceleration and turbo lag as if you had launched from a low rpm.

      I have 99 drag strip launches under my belt (not over 100 as I claimed earlier today - recounted the time slips, and it's exactly 99 - heh). The technique I use is similar to what a lot of the other folks on this list use - basically, tach up to about 4500rpm (give or take), and in between the second and third yellows, start to slip the clutch while applying more throttle. The exact rate of each (clutch out, throttle in) is what requires mastery - your goal is to get the clutch and flywheel locked up as quickly as possible *without* letting the rpms fall whatsoever.

      There is another camp of folks on this list who believe that a better way to launch is to tach up to a higher rpm (5000-6000) and dump the clutch as quickly as possible.

      Basically, the "slack" has to be taken up somewhere I believe that the method I use causes the clutch to absorb all of the slack and causes no shock-loading to any of the gearing (transaxle, transfer case, driveshaft, differentials). The other method relies on the hope that the drivetrain will lock up instantaneously, causing the slack to be taken up by tirespin instead of clutch spin. I believe that this method creates shock-loading of the transaxle and transfer case and can lead to premature failure of either or both, but that's just my opinion.

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