Ford has released the first details about their new variable-rpm launch control system on the 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

John Pfeiffer, senior engineer, SVT Vehicle Engineering, explains:

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. 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.

Eddie Khan, SVT Engineering supervisor, says:

We recognize not every driver has the same style, and surface, tire and climate conditions vary. 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 drive.

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.

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 100rpm increments from 3,000 to 4,500rpm.

Once the desired engine speed has been set, launch control can be toggled on or off by tapping the instrument panel switch. After the launch control has been enabled or disabled, it retains that mode even after the engine has been switched off and restarted.

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