• Jan 27, 2011
2011 Lexus LFA – Click above for high-res image gallery

As any drag racer will tell you, achieving the perfect launch is something of an art form. Or maybe it's closer to a religion to the people constantly struggling to find exactly the right RPM, clutch technique and number of prayers to the God of the Quarter Mile.

Naturally, having a computer take all the guesswork out of the process (cheating? Not if everyone else is doing it... and they are) makes everything more than a little bit easier. The Lexus LFA is the latest supercar to get the technology here in the States. But how does it work?

Glad you asked. Lexus' carbon fiber wonder-mobile is finally hitting the streets, and its handy-dandy owner's manual outlines the launch controll process rather nicely. Nicely, but not exactly easily... as you might expect from a factory-installed technology that is known to be rather stressful on drivetrain components. See what we mean after the break.



Photos copyright ©2009 Damon Lavrinc / Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Lexus Enthusiast]

Lexus LFA Launch Control Technique:

When set, launch control enables the vehicle to accelerate from a standing start at 4000 rpm. Launch control uses overall optimized control that considers vehicle acceleration performance, stability and clutch durability. (Do not use launch control on public roads.)

Setting the system

1. Ensure that you are seated well back in the driver's seat with the seat belt fastened. Make sure that the passenger is also seated well back with their seat belt fastened.
2. Start the engine. Firmly depress the brake pedal with your left foot and release the parking brake. Continue to depress the brake pedal.
3. Select SPORT driving mode.
4. Select shift speed level 7.
5. Pull the "+" paddle shift switch to select 1st gear.
6. Pull the "-" paddle shift switch and hold it for 5 seconds. "LAUNCH" will be displayed on the meter.
7. Release the "-" paddle shift switch.
8. Depress the accelerator pedal firmly. Continue to depress the accelerator pedal. The engine speed will be automatically maintained at 4000 rpm. The vehicle is then ready for launch.
9. Release the brake pedal. The vehicle will launch forward.

Once the accelerator pedal is released completely, launch control will be canceled and SPORT driving mode will be engaged.

Start-off acceleration

Start-off acceleration depends on how much the accelerator pedal is depressed.

Usage restrictions

* Launch control can not be set if the total mileage shown on the odometer is less
than 310 miles (500 km).
* Launch control can not be set until the engine and transmission are fully warmed up. Before using launch control, warm up the vehicle by driving it.
* Launch control can not be set if there is a malfunction in the engine, transmission, drive control system or other relevant systems.
* As launch control places a significant load on the vehicle's mechanisms,it cannot be used two or more times in succession. After using launch control, cruise at a normal speed for approximately 10 minutes to allow vehicle mechanisms to cool down.
* To protect the systems,the number of times that launch control can be used is limited. To check how many times launch control has been used on your vehicle, contact your Lexus dealer.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Want to see the VIDEO of the launch! I want to hear the engine roaring at 4000 RPMs, and the drive engaged!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Really doesn't seem all that difficult: hold the break, change two settings, put it in first, tell it you're ready by engaging Launch, GO GO GO!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like how they release the steps for a launch yet don't say how fast it'll go 0-60. If its anything over 3.5 seconds this car is nothing more than just any other supercar. No feat of engineering.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't really understand the 3 tail pipes.

      #1 for the left exhaust manifold
      #2 for the right exhaust manifold
      #3 for ???
        • 3 Years Ago
        well, not everything on a supercar needs to have a specific performance oriented task
        • 3 Years Ago
        aesthetics im assuming
        • 3 Years Ago
        "#3 for ???"

        sex
        • 3 Years Ago
        the 458 Italia has 3 tailpipes too
        • 3 Years Ago
        Oh. If that's true that's pretty lame.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Ah ok. If it's to create a particular sound, that's cool.
        • 3 Years Ago
        the 3 exhaust was made to create a specific sound resonance
        • 3 Years Ago
        Well shoot, glad we have your approval now.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Let's assume it's a toned-down idea of Lamborghinis with machine guns or rockets or lasers.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mact:

        Not approval, opinion. That's what the comment section is for after all.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Launch control? More like fun control.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another Japanese car with launch control that can only be used a certain amount of times. Whats the point of having it then?

      Talk about a sure way to kill the car's resale value... can you imagine trying to sell one where all the launches have been used up?? Sheesh...
        • 3 Years Ago
        It's not just Japanese Auto makers. Japanese Car makers are just more forthwright on the restrictions. They give you the 'buzz kill' info in sheets you have to acknowledge at purchase or in bold font in the owners manual.

        Ferrari allowed fewer launches on the 430 than Nissan does on the GTR, but you never hear anything of it. I'm sure it's the same with the 458.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Hence, you want a really performance car, by a lower end supercar... and modify it.

        You want bragging rights and exclusivity, buy this car. And never use valet service.
        • 3 Years Ago
        +1

        With all those restrictions, it looks like Toyota is trying to learn from Nissan's experience with the Launch Control system's affect on the GT-R's drive-train.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I know for a fact that all of the Porsche's equipped with LC (including the turbo S, which will do 0-60 runs of 2.7 seconds all day) do not have a limit on how many times the feature can be used, nor does it void the warranty, and I think the new Ferrari transmission is the same.
        • 3 Years Ago
        From what I understand most of them have limits on how often(I don't think it's an overall number) you can use LC. With the R8(and probably Gallardo) it won't let you do it back to back. It says the transmission needs to cool down.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cars no longer have that raw human element to them. They are nothing but computers on wheels that take driving skill and challenging fun out of the equation.
        • 3 Years Ago
        To connect with the car, learn and understand it, how it behaves on a track. That was always the point for me. If you 'wanna go real fast' then by all means, have fun with your automatic transmission Lexus.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I think you completely missed my point.

        I'd love to hear your first hand experience of how challenging those cars are to drive...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Last time I checked this car was still challenging to drive. And there are other new cars out there that are still challenging to drive, 458 italia, any 911, ZR1. It's not like they are non existent just less around then use to be. If the only thing you care about is launching a car from zero you are missing out on what cars like these offer. I was always told that the most challenging part of making a car go fast is proper braking and entering. Living a "quarter mile at a time" is hardly progress or fun for long.
        • 3 Years Ago
        They were cool.

        Howd you like em?
        • 3 Years Ago
        All I'm saying is that the more electronic crap you put on a car takes away from its character and personality, for the most part. Of course there will always be exceptions. A car with stability control, ABS, launch control and what not will be faster around a track. But at the price of what? An inhuman feeling. Nothing beats the simplicity, character, and personality of an old muscle car. All engine, all mechanical, no electronic nannies, just pure unadulterated car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      this isnt too different from the 430 Scuderia's launch control system. at least the Lexus doesnt say "warning" when activated
        • 3 Years Ago
        True, but that transmission has been discontinued for a while now, and Ferrari's new dual clutch tranny; like Audi & Porsche's, can be used as many times as you want.


        Does anyone know if Mercedes Benz's new (and horribly slow) dual clutch tranny has a launch mode, and if that can be used repeatedly without limit?
        • 3 Years Ago
        in the F430 it has been for almost 2 years, but it was still used in the 599's.
        that wasnt my point though
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why is it Lexus and Nissan have such a hard time with this. Both in terms of execution from the activation standpoint and stress on car standpoint. The veyron has launch control. The GTI has launch control (hell for half a decade now). If VW can make it work at the bottom and top of their product lineups, why is it so vexing for two companies who are no strangers to performance cars?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Funny is you can have a modified Mustang or Camaro with an S/C for same power levels and launch as many times as you want on the stock t5/45/t56s trannys. And hit the dragstrip for a number of runs if you want. I've seen this case on cars with hundreds of passes and stoplight launches over years and still have original trannys... albeit the LS-F having better traction and a electronic launch control.

        Of course, the ponycars do hold this case only on radials. Slicks are another story.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I think the point is to discourage owners from using it at every stoplight. They discontinued launch control on the mid-cycle GT-Rs because owners were showing off to their friends every chance they got.

        The GTi doesn't have the 500-plus horsepower that makes launching the other cars so damaging, so VW doesn't have to worry about owners grenading their transmissions while the car's still in warranty.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm beginning to think that ones post rating on this site is inversely proportional to IQ and/or auto knowlege
        • 3 Years Ago
        Thank you.

        I wonder the same.
        • 3 Years Ago
        "I think the point is to discourage owners from using it at every stoplight. They discontinued launch control on the mid-cycle GT-Rs because owners were showing off to their friends every chance they got."

        False. They discontinued it because nissan needed to revise the launch rpm as they set it incorrectly resulting in the transmission committing seppuku.

        "The GTi doesn't have the 500-plus horsepower "

        Cool. I mentioned the GTI AND the VEYRON to illustrate that damn near EVERYTHING VW and their associates put out, with a sport focus, has it. 200hp GTI, 500+ hp 911 turbo, 500+ hp R8 V10, 600 hp GT Speed, 1000 hp veyron.

        So... If you'd mind actually addressing the question next time, vs picking the slightest part of my example and running, that'd be great.

        Why are Nissan and Toyota having such a hard time? I don't understand it. We know they have experience, each with a history of sports cars in one form or another under their belt. Power's not an excuse, as VW happily demonstrates with a half dozen cars producing equal or greater power who've featured the tech for a generation now.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, wonder how long it takes for some aftermarket company to build in a hack to make it happen all in a single push of a button. Bad news is it would probably void the warranty, on the other hand if you can afford this the warranty may not actually matter to you. still I dont think anyone who was going to buy this wont buy it because of all the steps needed for launch control.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow....an overpriced exotic Toyota.....Yawn!....
      • 3 Years Ago
      No restrictions on the C6 (including ZR1) launch control.
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