As the teasers pile up about the 2018 Dodge Demon, it can be hard to keep track of what we already know. It launches super hard? Didn’t we already hear that back in Teaser 8 (Launch Assist)? Or was it the last one, the two-step style launch reserve? There was something else too, oh yeah, it comes on drag radials. With all this starting line kerfluffle, we’ve seen plenty of online comments saying, “Whatever, all new performance cars come with launch control.” Ok, let’s talk about some of the different ways to prepare a car for a strong drag launch. This is short version, you can get more detailed information in any drag racing forum.
- Just floor it when the light turns green. This is the simplest method, and the one most often seen at test-n-tune nights. It’s also the most likely to go up in smoke or end with a bog, depending on your horsepower to tire ratio.
- Foot brake. Hold the car with your left foot on the brake, and bring the RPM up with your right on the throttle. This is old school drag racing stuff and highly effective, but it’s hard on your brakes, you can only get so much RPM before you push through, it takes skill to be consistent, and on a turbo-charged car, you’ll have a major boost delay. Moving on.
- Line-Lock. Electronically control the pressure on the chosen brakes (front or rear) with a button. Good for burnouts, easier on your rear brakes (assuming RWD), and doesn’t require fancy footwork for clutch cars.
- Launch Control. Set the launch RPM, and hold your foot on the floor. Let the car manage the wheelspin.
- Trans Brake. Lock the gears of an automatic transmission so there’s no load on the brakes no matter how much throttle is applied. Release the button, and BAM. Go.
Ok, feel free to add to those descriptions in the comments. We just wanted to make sure you knew what we were talking about when we announced Dodge’s latest in Demon teasers; the Demon will come with a trans brake–which Dodge seems to have trademarked. “TransBrake™”
In the video, you see the driver controlling the launch with the paddles, and releasing one after the RPM is set–you can go up to 2,350 RPM without the brakes, which leads us to believe that you won’t have to sit there with both hands on the steering wheel paddles waiting for the lights. That’s a thoughtful touch. It’s not easy to release two switches at the same time. Let’s look at the marketing hype now. Dodge says, “The SRT Demon’s TransBrake feature provides improved reaction times and more consistent launches by utilizing the steering wheel paddle shifters as a launch trigger. Using the driver’s finger exclusively to trigger launch of the SRT Demon results in a 30 percent reaction time advantage over foot-brake launches.”
The Demon’s trans brake also has the programming to preload the driveline, which we imagine will cut down on the axle hop and broken propshafts we saw with the Hellcat. Dodge promises full engine torque delivery (and what are our torque number guesses?) 150 milliseconds after paddle release. We’ve said this before based on other teasers, but it seems likely that the Demon will only be available in an automatic, since a trans brake is not really a manual car thing.
Ok, go nuts on the license plate guesses and what not. We’re over the conspiracy games, but fully ready to test this mofo.