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Posted at 10:26 AM ET, 09/04/2012

What Does This Button Do?

Calling the 662-horsepower 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 a muscle car is an understatement. It’s like lumping a semi-truck-pulling, keg-hurling competitor from The World’s Strongest Man competition in the same league as your Facebook friend who abuses your wall by constantly checking in at the gym.

Numerous features harness the GT500’s immense power. One is activated by an “LC” button located to the left of the steering wheel. After using this feature, we think LC should stand for “Last Chance,” like it’s your passenger’s last chance to tighten the seat belt, put a death grip on the door handle and prepare for a wild ride.

Punching the LC button activates the GT500’s Launch Control mode, which attempts to launch the car cleanly from a standing start with minimal wheel spin.  The GT500 is an extremely squirrely ride and needs all the help it can to harness 600-plus hp to ground. Using launch control is easy: hit the button, push the clutch to the floor with one foot, push the accelerator pedal to the floor with the other and quickly let out the clutch.

After pushing in the clutch pedal and hitting the accelerator, the engine jumps to a predetermined rpm and hangs there, depending on where the rpm limit is set within the customizable launch control menu. When the clutch pedal is released, the car launches forward, and then it’s all about hanging onto the steering wheel, keeping the car floored and waiting for your passenger to tap out.

Launch control does a good job keeping the car moving forward by modulating the rear brakes through the traction control and limiting engine torque, instead of obliterating the rear tires. The GT500 is far from the first car to use this feature, but we especially like the mode’s individual button because it’s easy to use. Other cars require selecting multiple stability, transmission or engine modes before launch control is activated.


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By  |  10:26 AM ET, 09/04/2012

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