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How to Launch a Z06 Corvette

by Rob Zona

Warning: This can be hazardous to your car!

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the Corvette Challenge can take responsibility for your results using the described method. The method is provided to give you insight as to how one a Z06 driver launches with his car and configuration.

The biggest limiting factor is obviously the tire. Depending on the type of tire will determine the launch rpms. Also, the amount of hp the car has will make a big difference in technique as well. Thirdly, the clutch will also be a big limiting factor especially when the hp increases and youíre running a drag radial or slick. Lastly, the track conditions will be a factor.

Letís assume you have an aftermarket clutch, ET streets, around 400rwhp and ET streets, and average track prep. I would normally air the tires down to 10-14 psi. Full burnout for me always, and spin up to the line to avoid picking up too much debris. Bring the rpms up to 5000-6000 rpms to start and let her rip, ALWAYS slipping the clutch.

Two important points here.

  1. Launching above 5000 rpms can cause breakage but my philosophy is your there to go as fast as you can and get the most out of your car. So, if you want to see what it can do you need to launch high.
  2. The key to finding the sweet spot is to log accurate data especially in the beginning. It's simple; make sure you know the exact tire pressure (with a good gauge to the 1/2 psi) and the exact rpm (to the 100rpm) on each launch. This way you can adjust for the next pass.
For example, if I come out at 5300 rpms on 12.5 psi COLD in the rears and find I had no wheel spin and a slight bog, I know I must increase the launch rpms or raise the tire pressure. Since I like the tire pressure low I would raise the launch rpms. I don't change the amount of clutch slip. I keep that a constant.

On cold days I notice the car can get squirrelly on the high end with 10psi even with skinnies so I usually won't go lower. Try to be smooth. I find my best 60ft times are when I'm aggressive yet smooth. Smooth slip of the clutch and steady rpms. The tendency for beginners is to:

  • Not do a good burnout
  • Not bring the rpms high enough
  • Bring the rpms high but drop off at the moment of launch
  • Stare down the tree. I would get a good technique down first and ignore the tree [sorry Edgar] until I did)
  • Dump the clutch
  • Not know where the hell they launched at
  • Panic when they hear their car buzzing at 6000 rpms

Click for Video of Z06 Launch.
To view a video of with a 1.43 60' click image above
You won't cut 1.4's consistently without a system and a plan and seat time. So hopefully here's a start and be prepared to break something. That's just racing. Videos are great for analysis. Usually you can pick out what someone did wrong right away. Another observation: Too often people blame track prep on poor 60' times. My best 60' time on a well prepped track is only .05 better than my best 60' on a track with NO prep. That's with ET streets.

I will defer the launch of a Zo6 on street tires to guys with more experience. I feel you always need to get a good burnout even on f1's. Always slip the clutch and launch obviously lower but have a system in place. Know your numbers! Same with drag radials.

If anyone has question just shoot over an email or a PM on The Corvette Forum.

Hope some of this helps.

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