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Drag Racing Tips

 
Old 03-21-2008, 12:23 AM
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Drag Racing Tips

Lately, I've been getting a lot of questions about drag racing and some tips to improve ET/MPH. So here you go.
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:27 AM
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Your first race

You're probably going to be running during "Grudge" night or what they can Test-n-Tune. Don't worry, they will seperate out the big dogs from the slower cars. Usually the cut off is mid 11s and quicker and then they'll be a sub 9 second class.

You can try to pair yourself with a friend or other comparable car, but usually it's just the way the lane if it's busy. That means you might be running a low 12-second Viper or a 17-second Civic. It really doesn't matter because you shouldn't be focused at all on the other car. You worry about you.

Some tracks require helmets regardless of the car's ET's and most tracks require helmets in sub 14-second car. I'd call the track and ask. They'll usually have loaners, but you'll need to get there 45 minutes before they open to get one.

I suggest you watch a few runs before jumping in an racing. It will answer a lot of questions. Here's what you need to do to race:

Lining Up
You're in the staging lane and you're next. A guy will flag you and will point to the lane to get in. You'll roll into the pre-staging area. You'll see a puddle of water or the water box. If there is enough room, drive around it. You might not have a choice. Another flagger will stop you to wait for the cars in front of you to race. Once they leave, he'll point forward or make a motion to spin the tires or burnout. If you avoided the water box, simply pull ahead and do a quick spin of the tires to get the dirt off. If you had to go through the water, then you'll need to spin them until you hear the squeal of the rubber. There is NO NEED to do a burnout on radial tires. Radial tires do not behave like slicks. When you get the rubber hot, traction gets WORSE.

Staging for the run
Now it's time to pull up to the timer box. This is a 3' long, 8" tall box located about 30' IN FRONT of the tree. The timer box has two beams that sense your tires and set/release the timers. Slowly roll up to the timer box and pay attention to the tree. When you cross the first beam, a set of yellow prestage lights will come on at the top of the tree. When you see those lights come on, stop. Then very slowly creep until another set of lights come on. Those are the stage lights. Once those come on, you're ready to race.

Launch
Now you're staged. Now you start focusing on what you're going to need to do to launch. That is all dependent on your type of tranny, power, and drivetrain layout. Watch the tree. The tree will have three sets of amber lights, green lights, and red lights. The ambers will light off in a .5 second sucession. Green is go and red is a foul. When you see the second set of ambers light up, launch. That will allow you to cut a decent reaction time; however, remember that reaction time holds absolutely no bearing on your ET. A red light does not effect your ET either.


Just remember to take your time and don't worry about that other car. Just focus on what you need to do.
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:28 AM
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Shallow Staging

Shallow staging at the track can help reduce ET and add MPH. Shallow staging is simple and effective. Simply roll up to the line and set the prestage light. Then creep forward just enough to set off the stage light. By doing this, you'll get 6-8" of rollout before tripping the timers. This means you basically get a rolling start. Shallow staging on a 14-second car can mean as much as .1 and .7mph improvement in the 1/4 mile.

The disadvantage to shallow staging is slightly worse reaction times which is meaningless to most us because we're usually not bracket racing.

REMEMBER, reaction time has NOTHING to do with ET/MPH. You could sit at the line with a green light for 7 days and it still wouldn't effect your ET/MPH.
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:29 AM
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Correct shift technique for 6MT drivers

I thought I'd post this because I constantly read about manual drivers mis-shifting the 2-3 and 3-4 in the 1/4 mile. There is a specific way you need to hold your hand when shifting gears. This will greatly reduce your chances of hitting gates and missing gears. This is how professional drivers shift gears.

1-2 shift
Hold the shifter pistol grip style and pull directly back. Easy enough.

2-3 shift
With your palm, place it BEHIND the shift knob. Your finger should wrap around the right side of the shift knob. Your wrist should be at a 90 degree angle. Use palm of your hand and push forward. The shifter should easily slide into 3rd.

3-4 shift
Invert your hand so that your thumb is pointing down. Wrap your hand around the front of the shift knob and pull directly back. You'll hit the 3-4 everytime.
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:30 AM
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How to build more stall rpm (ie launch rpm) with a 5AT

The technique:

1) Foot on brake
2) Put the tranny into neutral
3) Blip the throttle to around 4000rpms or so, foot still on brake. You should feel the pedal get a bit softer and you can push the brake down a bit more. Do not hold the gas to 4000rpms, simply rev up the engine and release the gas.
4) Once the rpms fall below 1000rpms, put tranny back into gear
5) While your foot still on the brake, mash the gas pedal fully and hold for nearly 1 second (no more) to bring up the rpms.
6) Release brake with gas fully depressed.

This is not neutral drop. The technique allows you to build more stall at launch (~200-300rpms more stall).
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:43 AM
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Launching a manual

I don't know how many times I've heard someone say that their FWD car can't put down the power in 1st. It just keeps spinning and spinning. Well, you're doing it wrong then. The key is throttle modulation, clutch slip, and patience. Believe it or not, you're probably going to have to launch that 6MT TL or TLS at 4000-5000rpms. I'm sure most of you are saying, no freaking way. Well, I was able to launch my 2850lb Maxima with 205whp/200wtq on bald 215/60R15 Goodyear RSAs from 4500-5000rpms and net low 2.1 60 foots like clockwork. It's easy once you understand what needs to happen.

1) Release the clutch just right before it catches and bring up the revs to 3000rpms.

2) Release the clutch slowly until you feel the car start to roll, then quickly release the clutch while feeding in the gas. You're goal to keep the rpms up above 3000rpms and keep spin to a minimum. Also, you may not be able to go full throttle until 4500 to 5000rpms. You shouldn't have to slip the clutch a whole lot either. DO NOT GET GREEDY WITH THE THROTTLE!

3) If the car bogged down then took off, you need to increase launch rpm by 500rpms and see what happens.

The overall goal is to come off the line with the most force possible and the least spin as possible. With street tires, it's going to be an interesting battle between spin, clutch slip, and probably a litte wheel hop.
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:49 AM
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Excellent post.

Sticky?
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:35 AM
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Sticky for sure. Thanks Dave_B!

I've read come of this before and know from experience that these all hold true.

~Cheers~
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave_B
The technique:

1) Foot on brake
2) Put the tranny into neutral
3) Blip the throttle to around 4000rpms or so, foot still on brake. You should feel the pedal get a bit softer and you can push the brake down a bit more. Do not hold the gas to 4000rpms, simply rev up the engine and release the gas.
4) Once the rpms fall below 1000rpms, put tranny back into gear
5) While your foot still on the brake, mash the gas pedal fully and hold for nearly 1 second (no more) to bring up the rpms.
6) Release brake with gas fully depressed.

This is not neutral drop. The technique allows you to build more stall at launch (~200-300rpms more stall).
So this won't shorten the life of my tranny?
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:38 AM
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Awesome! this is going to help a lot of people here!
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Old 03-21-2008, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Soseductivesf
So this won't shorten the life of my tranny?
It's called preloading and it's much better than just neutral dropping it. Still puts more wear than usual on the tranny, though, but it's not an everyday thing.

~Cheers~
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Soseductivesf
So this won't shorten the life of my tranny? (in reference to building more stall rpm)
No, as long as you don't hold the brake and gas (full throttle) for more than about 1 second. Holding the brake and gas for more than about 2 seconds will build excessive heat in the tranny fluid which isn't a good thing; however, my G35 Field Service Manual indicates that you can hold the brake and gas for up to 3 seconds with no concerns when testing the operation of the torque converter, but to me that's still excessive and not needed when drag racing. See my Flash Stalling the Torque Converter post for more information.
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:15 AM
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Flash stalling the torque converter for a launch

In order to get the best launch with a 5AT, you're going to need to get the rpms up much like what a driver with a manual needs to do for a launch. What you're going to do is hold the brake and gas to the floor. This is brake stalling, which means you're using the brake and throttle to bring the torque converter up to near it's stall rpm (which probably in the 2300-2500rpm on the TL). The ideal technique is what they call a flash stall.

First things first though, you need to understand what's going on in the tranny. As stated, you're raising the engine rpm to match the torque converter's stall speed. What the hell is that you ask? A torque converter is a torque multiplication device. It can initially multiply engine torque by to 200% to 400% depending on how much stall rpm is built into the TC. The stall rpm is the rpm in which the TC is a full torque multiplication which will result in the best launch. In simple terms, a TC works like this. Visualize two fans facing each other. Turn on one fan and the other one will slowly start to spin and will try to match the speed. The turbines of the TC work the same way, but instead of air moving the fan, tranny fluid is used. When turned off fan is matching the speed of the other, the stall rpm is acheived. That's it. When driving normally, especially from a 0 to 40mph, the TC is slipping a lot because you're rarely above the stall rpm (visualize the turned off fan is trying to match the speed of the other, but never gets there). That's why you can be accelerating though the rpms are hardly rising. This slippage isn't very efficent hence the reason why autos tend to get slightly worse MPGs in city driving.

Okay, the flash stall technique, it's simple. The goal is to get the rpms to shoot up near the stall speed and then immediately release the brake. The purpose is to reduce tranny wear, reduce the potential of torque management systems to awaken and kill power, and to get the most efficent and powerful launch.

1) Roll up to the line and get staged.
2) Foot on brake and foot on gas just a little to take out the drivetrain slack.
3) When it time to go, foot hard on the brake and foot to the floor on the gas pedal.
4) Hold for 1-second, then release the brake. 1-second should be enough time to build enough rpm to match the stall speed. Holding the brake longer to generate a little more launch rpm really isn't worthwhile because the chances are you'll build too much heat in the tranny and loose the efficency. Additionally, a lot of late model cars have torque management systems that kill power if you do this technique for a prolonged period.

As you get better, then you can use the technique I described to get more launch rpm.
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:41 PM
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Good writeup!

Stalling the car up won't hurt a thing and is probably gentler on the drivetrain than just mashing the gas on green. The thing to remember is it generates a lot of heat very fast. I would try and keep it under 10 seconds at a time.

My other car stalls at ~3,600rpm on the brake. I can sit there and hold it at 10psi waiting for the lights to drop and see the trans temp creeping up. Granted it's a lot more power and stall than a TL but it has much, much better cooling too.

I haven't heard the increasing the vacuum boost trick for the brakes in a lot of years. My auto TL doesn't have enough power to require that. The brakes easily hold it back.

It's best to be conservative on the launch and shifts the first time and slowly get more aggressive. You will get a much worse ET from sending the tires up in smoke or missing a shift than an easy launch and moderately fast shifting.

Very good points about street radials. No heat required and no need to let pressure out unless they were already overinflated. I laugh at the guys burning their street tires down in the burnout box. Driving around the water box will make everyone behind you happy, especially the high powered RWD guys.
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Old 03-21-2008, 03:46 PM
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Great info...thanks!
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:16 PM
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Dave_B Thanks. I know I was one of the people who have asked recently. Great info.

Sorry to say, your post came an hour or so late for me, I was already headed to the strip. No worries though, I was able to sort out a lot of what you recommend (although only grossly; I'll have to study the finer points for next time).

F23A4 provided the information that got me off to a good start today.

I'll post times for the "Time Slip" Thread.
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Old 03-22-2008, 01:05 AM
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WOW, def. some GREAT info here
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Old 03-22-2008, 07:56 AM
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Before You Race

Empty out the car of all unecessary items to reduce weight. Systems, spare, jack etc. Arrive at the track low on fuel as well. Once there if you can park it with the hood up and let it cool down. Ice down the intake manifold as well.

TRACK AND WEATHER CONDITIONS

While we can't control the weather, we can control when we race. Cool, dry high barometer (blue sky) days are best. The closer the track is to sea level, the better too. While colder air is better, too cold and the track may lose traction. Conversely, hot humid days will slow you down.
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:16 AM
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Good write up
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Old 03-22-2008, 11:05 AM
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Do you think that will damage an automatic doing that? Nice write up!!!
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Old 03-22-2008, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by ChucksCL-S
Empty out the car of all unecessary items to reduce weight. Systems, spare, jack etc. Arrive at the track low on fuel as well. Once there if you can park it with the hood up and let it cool down. Ice down the intake manifold as well.

TRACK AND WEATHER CONDITIONS

While we can't control the weather, we can control when we race. Cool, dry high barometer (blue sky) days are best. The closer the track is to sea level, the better too. While colder air is better, too cold and the track may lose traction. Conversely, hot humid days will slow you down.
Yep. Density altitude has a huge effect on ET/MPH. I've seen swings as much as 0.35 seconds and 3mph racing in 55 degree temps vs 95 degree temps. I've given up racing in temps above 70 degrees because I just don't like giving up the performance. The DA at my track (1,100' above sea level) can range from sea level in exceptional conditions (cool dry air, high baro) to as high as 6,000' in 100 degree humid air.

When you see guys post insanely good ET/MPH for their mods, more often then not, it's because of the density altitude. Case in point, a couple of months ago a bonestock 07 G35 sedan auto ran a high [email protected] at Houston Raceway Park. The temps were in the 40s, baropressure at a whopping 31.00, sea level track, and hardly any humidity. The calculated DA was over 1,700' BELOW sea level. The motor making over 10% more power than stock because the air was so dense with oxygen. Correcting the ET/MPH to sea level conditions showed a more realistic [email protected]

That modded 13.7 second TL 6MT on this site that everyone nutswings from was run at Toronto Motorsports Racway. That track is often uner exceptional DA conditions too and I've calculated the DA for that TL's run. The DA was -1,800'. There is a bonestock 04 G35 sedan 6MT that holds the record best stock time of a [email protected] and it too ran at TMR. The DA that day was -1,700'.
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Old 03-22-2008, 11:25 AM
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good stuff. thread stickied.
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:18 AM
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Pretty entertaining drag racing video:

http://moddinart.com/DragRacing101.wmv
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:27 AM
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imma try all this tomarrow =]

lots of good information! THANKS
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Old 06-25-2008, 01:19 AM
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im pretty sure the answer is "KEEP IT OFF" but i have to ask for asking purposes. so traction control. on or off? if the trick to low times is to be moderate on the gas to keep the tires from spinning all day, wouldn't it be a little convenient for the traction control to keep it gripping? or it probably outweighs its benefits by removing power from the wheels too much. what do you think, experts?
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Old 06-25-2008, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by vypercat
im pretty sure the answer is "KEEP IT OFF" but i have to ask for asking purposes. so traction control. on or off? if the trick to low times is to be moderate on the gas to keep the tires from spinning all day, wouldn't it be a little convenient for the traction control to keep it gripping? or it probably outweighs its benefits by removing power from the wheels too much. what do you think, experts?
Traction control on these cars is way too conservative. When it detects wheelspin, it backs off the gas way too much and takes way too long to get back on it. You're much better off without the TC.
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Old 09-17-2008, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave_B View Post
In order to get the best launch with a 5AT, you're going to need to get the rpms up much like what a driver with a manual needs to do for a launch. What you're going to do is hold the brake and gas to the floor. This is brake stalling, which means you're using the brake and throttle to bring the torque converter up to near it's stall rpm (which probably in the 2300-2500rpm on the TL). The ideal technique is what they call a flash stall.


Okay, the flash stall technique, it's simple. The goal is to get the rpms to shoot up near the stall speed and then immediately release the brake. The purpose is to reduce tranny wear, reduce the potential of torque management systems to awaken and kill power, and to get the most efficent and powerful launch.

1) Roll up to the line and get staged.
2) Foot on brake and foot on gas just a little to take out the drivetrain slack.
3) When it time to go, foot hard on the brake and foot to the floor on the gas pedal.
4) Hold for 1-second, then release the brake. 1-second should be enough time to build enough rpm to match the stall speed. Holding the brake longer to generate a little more launch rpm really isn't worthwhile because the chances are you'll build too much heat in the tranny and loose the efficency. Additionally, a lot of late model cars have torque management systems that kill power if you do this technique for a prolonged period.

As you get better, then you can use the technique I described to get more launch rpm.
So I tried it, but I am only getting 2000rpm on my 08 type s, and the 0-60 time is horrible, any suggestion?
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:20 AM
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1 to 2 i usually just put my fingers on the front of the knob and pull back

2 to 3 palm on the back of the knob no fingers wrapped and push forward, it slides into 3rd.

and 3 to 4 hand over the knob not touching with palm and i pull back with my fingers
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Feigau View Post
So I tried it, but I am only getting 2000rpm on my 08 type s, and the 0-60 time is horrible, any suggestion?
What tires? If they are stock MXM4, that's a good bit of your problem.

I did a "regular" brake torque (At the line, hard on the brake, throttle up to ~2000 RPM. On green, release the brake and roll into the throttle) and ran some pretty decent times.


Also, did you have VSA On or Off. If it was On, that's another part of your problem.

Last edited by Bearcat94; 01-13-2009 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:12 PM
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good right up! I've done a lot of drag racing, but all with manual transmission cars. It was good to see the automatic tips...
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:47 AM
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Very good write up.

Hopefully there will be fewer questions about how to launch and such . . . wait, sorry, that assumes everyone will do a search first.

Just a few comments regarding launch rpms. When you mention the variations in weather conditions (track conditions) and such, you will need to vary your launch technique. Unfortunately, there are no real hard tips as each car and track varies greatly. Unless you go several times through out the year you'll always be making adjustments. Don't forget, the more mods you make between trips to the track will have you tweaking your launch as well. Assuming the HP gains are significant enough. Which is what I'll be facing tonight as I've got lots of new mods since the last time out and traction will be a challenge.

Ruf
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:39 PM
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Here are a couple of videos of drag racing a FWD car.

Street tires- On this one I slipped the clutch from 3500 rpms and went WOT by around 4500 in 1st gear. 2.08 '60 foot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-YGnHsHp7c

On this one I dumped the clutch from 4500 rpms and floored it thereafter. 1.8 '60 foot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q8jUGr4aXY
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:18 PM
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This was a great write up. Very useful!
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:28 PM
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i have a 04 tl 5at. what rpm is best to change gears using the sport shift?
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:22 PM
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would it be okay to just mash the gas with it in "D" and VSA off? Or would that give too much tire spin?
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:41 PM
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^ Depends how well the track is prepped and what kind of tires you have.
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Old 09-15-2010, 06:47 PM
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Good write up, thanks
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave_B View Post
The technique:

1) Foot on brake
2) Put the tranny into neutral
3) Blip the throttle to around 4000rpms or so, foot still on brake. You should feel the pedal get a bit softer and you can push the brake down a bit more. Do not hold the gas to 4000rpms, simply rev up the engine and release the gas.
4) Once the rpms fall below 1000rpms, put tranny back into gear
5) While your foot still on the brake, mash the gas pedal fully and hold for nearly 1 second (no more) to bring up the rpms.
6) Release brake with gas fully depressed.

This is not neutral drop. The technique allows you to build more stall at launch (~200-300rpms more stall).
nice!
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:20 AM
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Wax your car if you want improved quarter mile time....


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Old 04-19-2012, 03:21 PM
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Go geat a set of used tires and don't use brand new tires.
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