True Car Nut
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Holt, MI & Lima, OH
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How you need to launch a car is different from car to car. My best advice for you is going to be very general, and with practice you could be much better than you would be by just listening to me, but I guess it is a start.
One of the main things that is going to help you launch your car is how you prep your car for drag racing. Since your car is front wheel drive, this will be much different than in most cars at the track. You need to raise your rear tires to the maximum pressure that is listed on the sidewall of the tire. This will give you less rolling resistance, and make the rear of the car stiffer to hold the front wheels to the ground better. Another thing that helps is to put rubber spring blocks in your rear springs to hold them up so the back end of your car doesn't "sag" down when you launch. Now that you have the rear of the car taken car of, you need to work on the front. Really the only thing you need to do is adjust your tire pressure. So if you are running street tires you want to drop the pressure to somewhere around 22-24psi. This will give your tire a bigger "footprint" for more traction. With drag radials you want to run 16-20psi depending on the tire and size. With slicks you want to run between 12 & 15psi depending on the tire, size, and track condition. My dad has found his best 60' times with ~13.5psi in his slicks. Doing that should have the car prepped fairly well for launching, but if you would like to help it out a little more, you can also put spring compressors in the front springs to try to hold the front end down over the front tires more to keep more weight over the front tires for more traction.
Launching the car:
Make sure your traction control is OFF at this point. As you pull up to the waterbox, if you have street tires, by all means possible AVOID the waterbox, don't drive through it. Go around it, and when the track official directs you to do a burnout, push your foot to the floor for about 1 full second to let the tires spin a little to clean them off, then pull up to the tree and stage. On street tires all you want to do is clean them off, getting them hot isn't going to help you get any more traction, and all it will do is wear your tires. With drag radials and slicks you want to pull into the waterbox and set your emergency brake to lock up the rear brakes. When instructed to by the official, push your foot down pretty hard and then let off until you get both tires spinning, then get back on the gas so it shifts into 2nd gear. Hold the revs at about 4000 in 2nd gear for about 3 seconds, just long enough to get a little smoke. Then release the emergency brake while still holding your foot on the gas. Once the car starts moving forward, let your foot off the gas. Pull up to the tree and stage As soon as the stage light comes on, put your left foot on the brake and hold that down pretty hard. Put your right foot on the gas and watch the tach. With street tires, depending on track conditions, and the power your car puts out, the revs you need to hold it at will vary. I would start out at the beginning of the day at about 1500rpms, and move up ~250rpms at a time from there if you don't get any spin. At the rpms you start getting spin, go about 100rpms lower than that and launch from that speed. I have found for me in our 2 door '90 Turbo Grand Prix, that I need to launch at right around 2800rpms, and the tires will chirp about twice, and it is perfect, but in a different car you will get different results. With slicks or drag radials, I would start out at about 2000rpms and then do the same thing as with street tires. When the lights come down let off the brake when you see the last yellow light, and take about a half second to put your right foot to the floor. Then hold it there. When you get to the end, let off. Its simple once you get the launch down. Some people choose to start off in 2nd gear and then shift to 3rd when necessary, but I don't think you will even see 3rd gear in your car in the 1/4, so it probably won't help you much.
Hope that helps.
1990 Maroon Grand Prix STE McLaren 3.1 Intercooled Turbo, 14.695 @ 94.49 on 12psi before cam/heads/etc.
1990 Bright Red Grand Prix McLaren 3.1 Intercooled Turbo, 14.819 @ 92.72, 189whp
1999 Grand Prix GT 9.75:1|K&N|160 tstat|No Ubend/Cat/Res|UD Pulleys|Ported M90/TB/Heads|XPZ|2.55"|Pacesetters|Stage 2 I/C. 12.442 @ 112.78
2000 Blue Bonneville SSEi Supercharged Gutted Airbox|K&N|3.4"|1.9'*|WP Pulley|Custom DHP|180*stat|41932'*|No Cat. 14.681 @ 94.80
2002 Dark Cherry Grand Prix GTP Supercharged & Intercooled
12.084 @ 114.38 w/1.743 60', 315.6whp, Fastest Stock Cam M90 GTP!
NOW XP CAMMED, 340.6whp with XP, stock heads, Gen 3 M90, 11.984 @ 115.84 w/1.750 60'!
Most HP Stock Heads Gen 3 M90 GTP!
2004 Red Monte SS Supercharged K&N|3.4 Pulley|1.9'*|180*stat|41919 plugs|3" dp|No cat/ubend|DHP|Shift Kit. 14.2 @ 98
GOT BOOST??? Friends dont let friends drive stock!