Although we’ve known for some time that the Lexus LFA is equipped with Launch Control, details have been far & few between. This system, which optimizes fast starts off the line by holding the transmission at a higher RPM, is essential for racing and providing the best track times.
Now, with the first production models now reaching customers around the world, finding out the specifics on any LFA feature is made much easier by simply referring to the owner’s manual — here’s what it has to say about Launch Control:
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
- 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.
- Start the engine. Firmly depress the brake pedal with your left foot and release the parking brake. Continue to depress the brake pedal.
- Select SPORT driving mode.
- Select shift speed level 7.
- Pull the “+” paddle shift switch to select 1st gear.
- Pull the “-” paddle shift switch and hold it for 5 seconds. “LAUNCH” will be displayed on the meter.
- Release the “-” paddle shift switch.
- 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.
- 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 depends on how much the accelerator pedal is depressed.
- 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.
No question, all limits placed on the Launch Control are necessary and fully in line with other supercar manufacturers. This is a system that places a lot of stress on the transmission, and these controls will prevent any permanent damage.
(Although the Launch Control upper limit isn’t specified, I have it on good authority that the maximum is well above the range of normal usage — especially given its little use outside of the track. At the very least, it will avoid situations like this from happening again in the automotive press.)
Update: Edited for clarity.