Wheel spin and tire smoke are common when launching a muscle car, and while Ford engineers worked hard to make the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 the most powerful production Mustang, they also wanted to make sure buyers could hold its 662 hp and 631 lb-ft of torque down with a clever launch control system.
“With so much more power and torque on tap from the new 5.8-liter V-8, launch control makes it easier for drivers to take advantage of the performance,” said John Pfeiffer, senior engineer, SVT Vehicle Engineering. Though launch control can be found in a number of high-performance cars, those systems are programmed to have a fixed engine launch speed — the GT500 kicks it up a notch. “We’ve given Shelby GT500 drivers the ability to adjust the engine speed to achieve best and most consistent performance,” said Eddie Khan, SVT Engineering supervisor.
That means drivers can dial in a desired engine speed via Track Apps on the instrument cluster, or with the flick of a switch located on the left of the instrument panel. Using TrackApps, the driver can adjust rpm between 3000 and 4500 in increments of 100 rpms. From there, launching the car is as easy as mashing the accelerator and releasing the clutch. But it gets better. Switching off the traction control while launch control is on produces an rpm-only mode that won’t let brakes get in the way of maximum speed, while it also works with normal, sport, and off stability control modes. “It’s not as intrusive as some TC systems have been in the past,” Khan said.
Another advantage of the system: after the launch control has been enabled or disabled, it stays in that mode even after the engine has been switched off and restarted. The system appears to be much simpler to operate than the one in the Lexus LFA we featured earlier this week .
“We developed this system to enable 90 percent of drivers to be able to achieve very fast, smooth and consistent starts…regardless of their skill level,” Khan said. “Experienced drag racers may be able to get away slightly quicker, but chances are they won’t be as consistent.
Stay tuned for more on the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 next week.