Ferrari Launch Control Can't Beat A Professional Driver's Reactions

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But it takes a highly-skilled pro race car driver to do it.

As the options for manual transmissions continue to shrink, automatic shifting continues to get faster. We passed the point where humans can outperform slush-boxes but not all modern electronics can beat us. Case in point, a few intrepid testers who took a Ferrari 488 Pista and attempted to answer the question: is launch control or a human faster out of the hole?

One would think that the Ferrari electronics are quite capable at quickly and efficiently beating a human, so the "ringer" in the driver's seat wasn't just any "human" but a capable race car driver. So, we can finally settle the argument, are computerized nannies making us all look like amazing drivers? Driven Media / YouTube
2019-2020 Ferrari 488 Pista Wheelspin Ferrari
Driven Media / YouTube
Driven Media / YouTube

To test the theory, professional race car driver Scott Mansell got his hands on a 488 Pista that boasts a 3.9-liter V8 twin-turbo pumping out 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of twist. The 488 Pista will rip from 0-62 mph in a scant 2.85 seconds and complete the quarter mile in the 10s but is still a handful to drive. The Italian supercar is properly fast and has decent grip afforded by its mid-engine rear-wheel-drive configuration and accelerates quickly with advanced launch control.

The aim of Ferrari's launch control system would be to modulate power to reduce wheel spin with computers and sensors to exceed the acceleration of human control. Just mash the gas and go fast is the aim for novice drivers here. But the pro driver manages to come within 0.03 of a seconds of the computer in the quarter mile with an 11.18-second initial run.

Driven Media / YouTube
Driven Media / YouTube
2019-2020 Ferrari 488 Pista Engine Bay Ferrari
2019-2020 Ferrari 488 Pista Side Angle Driving Ferrari

"That's surprising. I think I can beat it! I actually think I can beat it because I got too much wheel spin then," said Mansell. "You can feel the system taking over with a little bit of wheel spin at the top of first... sometimes wheel spin can be good but only in the right amounts."

But with a better idea of how fast the 488 Pista is by simply stomping the throttle and side-stepping the brake, Mansell was now determined to beat the Ferrari computer at its own game. While the launch control runs were only able to boast 11.15-second runs, Mansell handily beat it on subsequent runs by hitting an 11.11. Eventually, he really figures out the matrix of how much throttle to modulate and ends the contest with a resounding 10.99-second quarter-mile run.

Launch control has done wonders for bringing down sprint times in recent years, but this test proves that a skilled human hasn't been outdone just yet.

Driven Media / YouTube
2019-2020 Ferrari 488 Pista Burnout Ferrari
2019-2020 Ferrari 488 Pista Steering Wheel Details Ferrari
2019-2020 Ferrari 488 Pista Front-End View Ferrari

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