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Nissan GT-R: Launch control back!

2011-01-25 08:27

QUARTER-MILE QUEEN?: If you are one of those childish GT-R owners who cannot resist some drag-racing (instead of early morning breakfast runs), Nissan’s refitted its supercar’s launch control function.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Nissan
Model GT-R 2012
Engine 3.8l twin-turbo V6
Power 384kW
When Nissan launched its GT-R towards the end of 2007 there was one feature that led to much disagreement between GT-R owners and Nissan – the car’s much-vaunted launch control.

Configured to allow optimal take-off acceleration, primarily when racing over the quarter-mile, owners unknowingly voided their warranty the very moment they engaged the GT-R’s traction aid.

There was much unhappiness and the GT-R’s halo image as a bargain supercar slayer was initially tainted as rumours started trickling in of a spate of disputed warranty claims about the car’s sophisticated dual-clutch transmission.

Truth be told, many of these launch-control warranty disputes were caused by severe abuse, where the feature had been used many times over on a single day, way past the requirements of even the most enthusiastic owner.

The result was that Nissan discontinued launch control in 2009 - but it's made a comeback with the new facelifted GT-R, …


Euphemistically renamed "R Mode Start", Nissan's newfangled GT-R launch-control system allows owners to deploy the upgraded 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6’s full 384kW from a standing start.

How does it work this time around? Well, you simply dial up the R setting on both the vehicle stability control and transmission functions, engage the brake, dial up 4000rpm by fully depressing the throttle and then you have a three-second window of opportunity to release the brake, allowing the GT-R’s sophisticated traction aids and transmission slippage electronics to effect the quickest possible getaway.

Nissan claims the new GT-R will run a benchmark 0-100km/h sprint time very close to three seconds with "R Mode Start" engaged. Launching at 4000rpm, instead of the original launch control threshold of 4500rpm, results in a negligible performance difference, primarily offset by the facelifted GT-R's additional power.

The GT-R’s new version of launch control does come with one operational caveat – you can't use it more than four times in a row before it shuts down for a "cooling down" period. If the acceleration runs, or surface friction, have been particularly severe the system might not re-engage  for quite some time.

Moral of the story? If you're going to take your GT-R down to a Friday night drag meeting, make sure you class starts with no more than 16 competitors, or you could possibly find yourself in the final without the benefit of "R Mode Start".

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