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Discussion Starter #1
Alright, Im goin to the strip to race my car in a few weeks and I got a question. Before I chipped my car I esd dumping at about 2500rms and the seemed like the best i found. Anyways now that my car is chipped(APR 93oct)it seems like i acnt find where to dump it at. Like anywayer, 2g, 4g, 3grand, anywhere it feels like i have to shift to 2nd before i barley get going, almost like I am totally skipping 1st gear and jumping strait to 2nd. Any of you have any ideas on where to dump it at and the best way to get it out of 1st gear getting the most out of it? Thanx!

~Travis
 

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You can thank big dong for this - enjoy


<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>The best way to launch? Phew, this is going to be hard, but, I'll give it a go...
The best way I have found to get a good launch is to use the feedback that the car can give me and make the appropriate adjustments to the inputs I give it via the clutch and the gas pedals.

To apply this, you have to slip the clutch! This is the total opposite of the "drop the clutch @ XXXX RPM" philosophy.

The difference is that you cannot control what the engine will do once you have "let go" of the clutch. And what you can't control, you can't adjust or learn from. So in essence, anything good or bad that happens is almost pure luck, unless you happen to be racing in the exact same circumstances everytime! Not very likely. (Even the position of the moon will probably affect how the engine/tires respond that day!)

I have almost never found this style of launching a car satisfactory. (I start making excuses that the tires did not hook up because they were too cold, the engine bogged down because it was too hot, the fuel was different than last time or a million other excuses, all of which I cannot precisely control, which is why it is so easy to put the blame on them.)

However, by slipping the clutch and using that feedback to modify what I do with the clutch and gas pedals, I have nothing to blame but ME if I flub a (drag) race. Moreover, I can teach myself to become more sensitive to what the car was communicating, and not allowing that situation to happen again.

First, forget what your tach says! Just launch the car at various RPM's (by ear/vibration/feel) while slipping the clutch at varying degrees a few times. The car will "suck" in the clutch by itself, When and If you have the right balance of clutch let-up speed to gas pedal stomp speed. This is not an all or nothing proposition; there is not just one "perfect balance". This "balance" can be found in almost all the range of the engine. As a matter of fact, the reason I'm so good at this is because I don't just use it to just "race", but I "practice" it constantly in everyday driving - it's how I drive the car.

The difference is that when I'm driving in traffic and just "keeping pace", I am doing my little trick at a much reduced speed and a much reduced RPM range, as compared to when I am flat out racing.

Specifically:
Slip the clutch - as much as it needs to;
1) keep the wheels from spinning out of control, but you Do want some wheel spin!
AND
2) keep the engine from bogging down.

Don't be worried to modulate both the clutch and the gas if you are giving too much or too little of either or both. The point is to have the clutch totally engaged by the time the engine is giving full power. The faster you can accomplish this sequence, without stalling the engine or peeling out (too much!) or slipping the clutch needlessly (you'll wonder why all the noise but you're almost standing still!), the faster your takeoff, (and I'm sure your 60 foot times!).

Think of your feet acting like a scissors: when your right foot is pushing down, your left foot is coming up. Try to keep both feet doing something until you are either 1) redlined or 2) have used up all their travel - At The Same Time.

The other things I can recommend is to definitely turn off ASR and slow your right foot down! We have tons of power and torque: we will never get the best launch by just dropping the clutch - at any RPM.

The best lesson I can give you in driving a manual is that when the car is NOT rolling: First the clutch controls your speed and Then the go pedal controls it, (but only if we let it)! When the car is moving at anything above 2-3000 RPM, the go pedal takes priority (depending on the car - ours are above 2500 RPM's, because of the turbo. Below that, (to have the fastest acceleration from a rolling start), use the clutch almost like you have started from a dead stop).

If you want to practice this technique you first need to master 3 steps.

1) Go find an empty parking lot (if it has hills or big bumps it is even better!) and use Just the Clutch and the Brakes to manoeuver around - NO GAS PEDAL! Keep launching the car and coming to a full stop till you Know where the clutch "starts" and "stops". After mastering the clutch on level ground, start practicing on the up And the down hills. On the hills, the goal is to Never stall the engine uphill (without using the gas pedal) while getting a smooth launch and to launch the car as Quickly as possible downhill, without stalling the engine, but again; with no gas pedal. You should be much faster downhill than uphill. This sounds pretty obvious, but the point is to get our feet to know it, not our brain!

Also, Not stalling the engine is Not enough on the above exercises; you must also practice enough to launch the car as fast as possible without making it rock back and forth or lug the engine in the process! Only then can say you've mastered this step and move on.

2) After you think you are sick of traveling at sub ant-like speeds, (you get More sub ant-like speeds, but with cool racing engine sounds!), bring the gas pedal into play by feathering it between 1000 to 3000 RPM, But, Still slip the clutch so that when the clutch is fully engaged - You Are Still Travelling No Faster Than Idle RPM's (or just slightly above). This little exercise will leave little doubt in your mind that the Clutch is controlling your speed from a dead stop, and Not the gas pedal. (If you still have doubts, you are doing this wrong!)

What you are learning here is that, from a standing start:
1) It doesn't matter what the engine RPM's are on the Acceleration of the car, it depends on the Position of the Clutch.
2) You are learning to feel for the spot on the clutch travel where the engine really grabs the tires.
3) You are learning how fast the engine responds to your right foot - in this case how fast it Slows down and How you can influence this slowdown by the rate you're letting the clutch up.

Again, when you can do the above two exercises (#1 and #2) Without making the car rock or the engine lug, you can proceed.

3) The last exercise you can do is to repeat step #2 above, but instead of achieving the idle RPM speed, start by Picking the RPM speed that you want to be traveling at and practice getting there. This exercise should be done with the goal of having a steady speed at that target RPM.

Then, move on to having the clutch fully engaged when you're At the target engine speed, but instead of keeping a steady speed, keep accelerating while monitoring how responsive the engine is at that particular RPM, and how prone the tires are to lighting up at full throttle.

You want to get to the point where Just as you take your foot off the clutch, you are Floored with the throttle, but Without excessive wheel spin.

What are we learning here? For example, if you had picked 5000 RPM as your target, you will see that you have to stay on the throttle More than if you had picked 2000 RPM's. No kidding right? But teach your feet that! And more specifically, let your feet know by How much more it takes to get a 3000 RPM difference, (not much, considering we are more than doubling the speed of the engine)! When you're racing, you don't have time to look where the needle is - you listen for the engine's roar, you feel the cars vibration, or you feel the power output dropping - then you shift! But more likely than not (given a strong enough engine) you will not be able to look at the tach - except to confirm that you probably should have shifted already.

Once you can do the above exercises "at will" and "on command", you can combine them to achieve the fastest acceleration that the car is capable of, at that point in time (on that surface, at that temperature, etc...), with a little practice!

Don't practice doing full out drag's, though! Like I said before, my constant "practice" is just driving around town every day. Put all the skills you have learned above into driving Smoothly, with Precision and always under full Control. You will notice that as you "practice" driving like this, you will be undoubtedly faster than before, if for no other reason than you will want to give the car an "input" always - be it steering, accelerating, braking or a combination.

By this point, you should be able to predict what the car will do whether you give it full throttle from a dead stop or from full throttle to a dead stop. More importantly though, you should be able to compensate - almost instantly, when the car is not behaving how YOU want it to.

When you can launch the car in less then about 1/4 to 1/2 a second (flat out drag race...), you will know you have learned this technique by the speeds you can attain "effortlessly", almost like you're driving an automatic instead of a stick - but remember smoothness! Smoothness pays off by every ounce of the cars power being used as forward momentum, not in unsettling the chassis or rocking it around it's yaw axis.

BTW, I have never done any "real" drag racing, (but next week I'm hoping to make it to Race City Speedway to give it a shot!), but on the street, there is almost nothing that can beat me (at least across the lights!), - in almost any manual drive car I have driven. This includes a Miata vs. a Mustang (I was driving the Miata), an MR2 (me) vs. a Viper and my Jetta 1.8T vs. a Camaro SS. I guess I will find out how good "my" technique is next Friday at the track, (if I can make it down there).

Some of the very best launches I have done are right from idle! The other driver(s) did not know what hit them! They knew I was going to race them, but still, the car was sitting there so quietly at the lights... and then Wham! Light speed! While more likely than not, they are still peeling out at the lights, and I've almost reached the next intersection by the time their tires connect!

The very best launch I have ever done in my Jetta was against the Camaro SS - I was redlined in first by the time I had let go of the clutch, the tires did not stop singing all the way through 1st and 2nd gears (but I never let them totally go up in smoke like the Camaro's did)! And I was at least 5 car lengths ahead of him when I switched to 2nd and before I shifted into 3rd, I noticed he had given up - we were downtown and my speed was over 110 Km/h - at 3:30 AM. (Now this is not to say that my Jetta 1.8T is faster than a Camaro SS, except that on that particular day at that particular time I was the better Driver.)

Once you "perfect" this method of launching your car, you will surprise a lot of other drivers - even drivers with all wheel drives (I eat Jeeps/SUV's for breakfast, especially ones with attitude)! The bonus is that (on the street, anyway) when they see you take the lead like that, some cars which should easily beat you in the 1/4 mile will give up because they start to fear/wonder "What does he have under the hood?!?"

By the way, I'm not abusing my clutch by driving like this, as a matter of fact, I think I'm even babying it most of the time because I'm not "shocking" the drivetrain with the power of the engine all at once. Instead, I'm letting the tires/transmission take the full power of the car as fast as they can handle it. My last 5 speed (92 Golf) lasted me over 140,000 Km before the clutch even hinted of slipping (on it's own, not when I wanted it too!).

Even though I had a new clutch installed, it would have probably lasted another 30-40,000 Km easily, (without toooo many more races).

Let me know if my suggestions improve your times at all - but don't forget, I've been driving like this for many, many years (20+) so if you have to "practice" this style before you "get" it, don't worry, it will be worth it when you beat that first "muscle car" that is shaking the buildings and your car - at idle!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

[ February 12, 2004: Message edited by: Tommunist ]
 

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Read the above, it's about the best anyone could describe a proper non-trans grenading, non-tire slipping, fastest way to get shit done launch... but remember EVERYTHING CHANGES WHEN YOU'RE ON THE STARTING LINE!!!

Your car gets more traction... what worked on the street wont work on a VHT and rubber coated launch pad. You're also trying to keep your car from rolling out of the staging beams. Just as an example I set my 2-step launch control to about 2300 on the street and spin the tires. On the track the motor almost stalls if I launch it from 2300. 3500 is better for my car on the track.

Everyones car is different, you'll just need to practice.

I don't slip the clutch enough when I launch at the track... I leave the slipping to the tires. I'd say I need to work on my technique a little for my next trip to the track, but the next time my car runs it will be AWD, so I really don't have to worry about it too much.

I am building a 16v '78 Rabbit to run around town in though... guess I can practice with that.
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tommunist:
You can thank big dong for this - enjoy


[ February 12, 2004: Message edited by: Tommunist ]
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

good lord what a write up!
 

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Sorry guys...I can't claim credit for writing that one up...I simply cross posted it from an article that I read elsewhere....

Regardless........this is my launch technique. It has gotten me some excellent and extremely consistent 60' times as well.

I turn off ASR

I stage up and hold the rpm's at around 2500-2800

When the light goes green.......DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR REACTION TIME. At this point you are trying to learn how to appropriately launch your car. If I can't concentrate, I often will let the car next to me get half ways down the track before I actually launch......unless I am bracket racing I am only racing myself, reaction time doesn't count and the clock doesn't start to go till you move.

Slowly let off the clutch while gradually giving the car more gas. You should not be off the clutch completely till approx 5000rpms, and you should not have the gas floored in first gear till approx. 5000 rpms. You can practice this on the street to get the hang of it.

Once you are launched and in first shift at around 6000rpms, this comes quickly. Do not let off the gas while you clutch and shift, let it bounce off the rev limiter (I usually granny shift because of trying to preserve my tranny and don't do this but I am convinced that is why I don't run 13's).

Once in second, run it to 7000rpms, don't let off the gas and shift to third.

Once in third, depending on how modded you are and your wheel size, you may or may not need to shift to third. With the 03' tranny you will probably not have to shift to 4th, hold third till you hit the traps.

Edit - For the love of god......don't drop the clutch at any rpms.....this will grenade your differential bolts and ruin your clutch and tranny real quick. There is a reason I have over 75 1/4 mile passes and 72,000 miles on my car w/ no tranny issues and still on the stock clutch, and it is because I don't do stuff like this. "Dropping" the cluth is quite possibly the worst thing you can do to the tranny and clutch, plus is accomplishes the absolute worst launch possible...nothing but wheel spin and wheel hop.

[ February 12, 2004: Message edited by: Big Dong ]

[ February 12, 2004: Message edited by: Big Dong ]
 

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once again great info big dong!

from a mechanic's son's point of view try to keep your foot on the gas and shift b/c that's just totally bad for the tranny! one of my dad's old mechanic's used to have a mk2 golf and he did that every weekend when he raced and he always blew or really screwed up his tranny like that!

[ February 12, 2004: Message edited by: 1point8T ]
 

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WOW! I have no desire to ever line my car or A car up on the strip, but I give you guys tons of credit for all the work and thought you put into inproving your "game," instead of totally blaming the machine....HARDCORE. I'll keep worrying about how to have a few seconds off my exit of the hairpin by my house! Awesome comments BIG DONG!
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JustWannaVW:
I'll keep worrying about how to have a few seconds off my exit of the hairpin by my house! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

EASY NOW! vwf just lost a dub on one of those hairpins, a snazzy red GTI to be exact.... be carful!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I head speed shifting raelly F*'s up your car even worse then dumping the clutch, I havent sopped shifted my car at all, should I start now? Thanx everyone for the replys so far, Learned alot


~travis
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by 03 GTI Kitted Out:
I head speed shifting raelly F*'s up your car even worse then dumping the clutch, I havent sopped shifted my car at all, should I start now? Thanx everyone for the replys so far, Learned alot


~travis
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Dumping the clutch is DEFINATELY worse than speed shifting it....guaranteed. You can only shift so fast on these tranny's, just don't ram it into gear faster than it wants to go...it's very easy to shift faster than the syncros will allow and forcing it into gear will screw it up. It deefinately isn't the best thing for the car, but dumping the clutch at high rpms is way worse as it shocks the entire drivetrain.
 

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also, once you get a bunch of mods and get your power up you can change your gear ratio's..
 

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Well, that is the best description of a proper launch. At the risk of sounding like a moron, just one question: Doesn't slipping your clutch to that extent give you a good chance of glazing it? I do not speedshift my car, if it's between losing to a Camaro or replacing my gearbox, I'm a loser (not in the long run, though). But I do give mine some slippage before I engage it fully. Just enough to spool up. I tried the launch last night, it is definitely faster, but is it overly risky -- that is my ultimate question.
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Fahrfrömluzin:
Well, that is the best description of a proper launch. At the risk of sounding like a moron, just one question: Doesn't slipping your clutch to that extent give you a good chance of glazing it? I do not speedshift my car, if it's between losing to a Camaro or replacing my gearbox, I'm a loser (not in the long run, though). But I do give mine some slippage before I engage it fully. Just enough to spool up. I tried the launch last night, it is definitely faster, but is it overly risky -- that is my ultimate question.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I guess you will have increased chances of glazing the clutch, but if you want to go fast that's the price you pay. That is why I have a back up clutch sitting around just waiting for my stock one to shit the bed. Mine still seems OK though and I have tons of passes on it and practice this quite a bit as well when on the street. It does slip, but only slightly and when on APR 100, and only when I have heated it up pretty good by beating on it hard for extended periods of time.
 

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Thanks, and I generally don't "go fast", there are too many things I like about this car to beat the crap out of it. My old one, though, an 88 16V Scirocco -- that was a different story. I've made a couple of passes tonight, and my granny-shifting self managed a 14.93 best pass. On 19s, with full tank, and 190 pounds of music in the trunk. That launch does work.
 
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