What Is Stabilitrak Competitive Mode? – Is It Safe to Use?

StabiliTrak Competitive Mode is an advanced driving mode that helps drivers control their vehicles during extreme driving conditions like street racing. It disables the Traction Control System (TCS) and enables full engine power. This allows improved cornering, precise braking, and greater handling.

Ever wondered what StabiliTrak competitive mode on your vehicle is? What does it actually do, and should you use it or not? It’s not just you who has these questions.

So, today, I’ll be explaining what is StabiliTrak competitive mode.

Alright, now let’s talk about the StabiliTrak competitive mode in detail.

What Is StabiliTrak Competitive Mode?

StabiliTrak Competitive Driving Mode is a feature in some modern vehicles that allow drivers to optimize their vehicle’s performance settings for track use. This mode typically alters the function of the engine, transmission, suspension, and stability control systems to enhance the car’s performance and handling on the road. 

Additionally, it can change the car’s power delivery, suspension stiffness, and stability control intervention to suit track conditions. Some vehicles have the competitive driving mode button on the steering wheel, while others have it at the bottom of the dashboard. 

The feature is intended for use on closed track or race circuits. It can improve the vehicle’s performance and handling. However, it may not be suitable for everyday driving or on public roads, as it may reduce safety and stability.

Furthermore, keep in mind that not all vehicles have this mode. Ideally, Camaro and Corvettes have this competitive mode, but all modern cars are equipped with Active Handling (AH) and Traction Control System (TCS)/StabiliTrak by default.

Please refer to the following table to better understand the driving modes, what they do, and how to activate them. 

Driving Mode FeaturesDescriptionActivation
Traction Control System (TCS)1. Detect and limit the wheel spin.
2. Controls the spin during acceleration 
3. Automatically applies the brakes for better handling and control.
Press and Release TCS/StabiliTrak button.
StabiliTrak System1. Automatically controls vehicle stability at emergency moments.
2. Assists in maintaining the vehicle’s intended direction and on track.
3. Activated when the computer detects a mismatch between the intended and actual direction of the vehicle.
4. Applies brake pressure to individual wheels to guide the vehicle back to its intended direction.
Press and hold the TCS/StabiliTrak button until the Traction Control Off and StabiliTrak Off lights come on.
Competitive Driving Mode1. Enhances vehicle performance during acceleration and cornering.
2. Optimizes the engine, brake, and suspension system for improved performance.
3. Adjusts settings for optimal performance while driving in closed tracks or race circuits.
Press the TCS/StabiliTrak button two times quickly.

That was the relationship between these driving mode features. Now, let’s find out what this StabiliTrak competitive mode means on the most popular vehicles like the Camaro SS and the Cadillac CTS. 

What Is Competitive Mode in Camaro SS?

The Camaro SS offers drivers an exciting feature called Competitive Driving Mode. Through this mode, drivers can optimize the handling and performance of their Camaro SS to optimize their driving experience as required. 

Also, the mode includes settings for the suspension, steering, and engine calibration. With the push of a button, drivers can adjust the settings to their desired level. And ensure to tackle any driving challenge on the road and ensure driving safety.

What Is Stabilitrak Competitive Mode Cadillac CTS?

Some Cadillac CTS models are equipped with Stabilitrak Competitive Mode, which makes the system more responsive while driving. This mode is intended to give the driver more control over the vehicle’s handling and performance while maintaining the Stabilitrak system’s safety benefits.

How does StabiliTrak Competitive Mode Work?

Stabilitrak competitive mode turns off the traction control, allowing the wheels to spin more freely. However, the StabiliTrak itself remains active in this mode. As a result, this mode allows you to have more straight-line slips but protects you from drifting sideways.

Additionally, the StabiliTrak feature is further enhanced in Competitive Mode, providing a more performance-oriented driving experience. The engine will get full power and unlock the full brake controls in competitive modes. As a result, it allows more aggressive cornering and higher speeds before intervening.

Furthermore, it allows drivers to maintain control while cornering and turning at higher speeds because it provides a more controlled and responsive feel with more precise steering. Overall, StabiliTrak Competitive Mode gives drivers greater control and stability when driving. Despite their safety features, they have their own pros and cons.

For a quick overview of the concepts and their functionality, watch this video.

For a detailed understanding with an easy demonstration, watch this video instead.

How to Use StabiliTrak Competitive Mode?

The process for using StabiliTrak Competitive Mode will vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle. To use StabiliTrak Competitive Mode, follow these steps:

Step 1: Locate the StabiliTrak button or switch: The StabiliTrak button or switch is typically located on the dashboard or center console of the vehicle. Consult the owner’s manual for the exact location of the button or switch.

Step 2: Now, press and hold the button or switch to activate Competitive Mode. Depending on the vehicle, you may need to press and hold the button or switch for a few seconds to activate the Competitive Mode. In some cars, you need to double press the StabiliTrak button to initiate competitive mode.

Step 3: Finally, check the instrument cluster or driver information display. You should be able to see when Competitive Mode is active in your vehicle’s instrument cluster or driver information display. Some cars display “Traction control Off ” dialogue.

Following these steps, you can easily activate and use the StabiliTrak competitive mode. Remember that different vehicles may have a different procedure and button location.

[In case your StabiliTrak is not working and the warning light is on, it means it has an issue. You can perform a reset, see how to reset service stabilitrak light.

StabiliTrak vs Competitive Mode: What’s the Difference?

StabiliTrak is an electronic stability control system that helps drivers maintain control of their vehicles in challenging driving conditions. The system monitors the vehicle’s speed, wheel speed, steering angle, yaw rate, etc. And it brakes or reduced engine power as necessary to maintain a stable driving position.

Competitive mode, on the other hand, unlocks more control of the car. This feature enables your Active Handling (AH) mode and disables the Traction Control System (TCS). This allows the driver to push the vehicle beyond its computational limits and provides more control to the brakes and the car during racing pursuits.


StabiliTrak combines active handling and traction control in a single system, enabling safe and normal driving conditions. Competitive mode is more suitable for competitive driving conditions like racing, drifts, stunts, etc.

Advantages of StabiliTrak Competitive Mode

StabiliTrak Competitive Mode offers drivers several advantages, including improved cornering and handling, more responsive acceleration, and enhanced overall control of the vehicle. With StabiliTrak Competitive Mode, drivers can feel more control to handle road twists and turns.

Additionally, it allows drivers to make real-time adjustments to refine their driving technique. This can be especially beneficial on tight corners, where drivers can make split-second decisions to correct their trajectory and stay on track.

Furthermore, the increased control offered by StabiliTrak Competitive Mode allows drivers to adjust their driving style to improve their lap times. With StabiliTrak Competitive Mode, drivers can take their performance to the next level.

Disadvantages of StabiliTrak Competitive Mode

Firstly, StabiliTrak Competitive Mode can cause a vehicle to handle differently than it normally would. This can make the vehicle more difficult to control. Meanwhile, the increased performance of the vehicle can make it more difficult to safely navigate sharp turns or other tight driving maneuvers.

Finally, StabiliTrak Competitive Mode can be dangerous in certain situations. It is more dangerous to drive at high speeds than normal speeds and can result in accidents or other dangerous events. StabiliTrak Competitive Mode can also cause drivers to overestimate their abilities, leading to dangerous driving practices.

Due to these reasons, StabiliTrak Competitive Mode should be used with caution. It can be beneficial in certain situations, but drivers should be aware of the potential risks.

Should You Use StabiliTrak Competitive Mode?

If you’re a regular user and want a safer, more comfortable, and enjoyable ride, then the StabiliTrak mode is suitable for you. 

But If you want to unlock the full potential of your car by gaining more control, the competitive mode is the perfect choice for you. Also, if you’re prone to extreme driving situations like professional street racing, drifting, performing stunts, etc, you may want to use the stabiliTrak competitive mode.

Apart from these, some other driving modes are also available in certain cars.

What are Other Driving Modes Available?

Some vehicles have multiple modes, such as Eco mode, Comfort mode, and Sport mode. Track and Race modes are also available, each with different settings. Let’s discuss all the driving modes briefly.

Eco mode: This mode is designed to optimize fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. It typically adjusts the vehicle’s powertrain, HVAC, and other systems to consume less fuel. It can also reduce the power and responsiveness of the engine and transmission.

Comfort mode: This mode is designed for everyday driving, focusing on comfort and a smooth ride. It typically adjusts the suspension settings to be softer and the powertrain to be less aggressive, making the vehicle less sporty but more comfortable to drive.

Sport mode: This mode enhances the vehicle’s performance and handling, offering a more dynamic and sporty driving experience. The suspension settings are typically stiffened to increase agility and sportiness, and the powertrain is more responsive.

Track mode: This mode is intended for use on closed track or race circuits and can improve the vehicle’s performance and handling. It can also adjust the cooling systems for the engine, transmission, and brakes and reduce the electronic assistance for a more direct driving experience.

Race mode: This mode is typically the most aggressive, focusing on maximum performance and minimal electronic assistance. Professional racers generally use this mode for racing.

These modes may vary depending on the car brand, type, and model. Remember that no matter which mode you use to drive, the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) will always be turned on for safety and improved vehicle control.


Normal driving modes include eco, comfort, and sport modes. Professional racers use Track mode and racing mode.


What Vehicles Have Stabilitrak Competitive Mode?

The Stabilitrak Competitive Mode is offered by a variety of vehicles from different manufacturers. Some examples include the Chevrolet Camaro, Cadillac CTS-V, and GMC Sierra. Availability of Stabilitrak Competitive Mode may vary depending on the model and year of the vehicle mentioned.

Can Stabilitrak Competitive Mode Damage My Vehicle?

If used incorrectly or on the wrong surface, Stabilitrak Competitive Mode could potentially damage the vehicle. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the feature safely on a closed course or track. You can find the recommended preferences and details about the driving modes on the vehicle’s user manual.

How Do I Fix Service StabiliTrak?

“Service StabiliTrak” warning can have various causes, including faulty steering components, worn wheel bearings, software issues, and malfunctioning brake control modules. You can reset the system by turning it off and on if it’s a software issue. Certified mechanics or dealerships can diagnose and repair more complex problems.

The Bottom Line

That was everything to say on your query on what is StabiliTrak competitive mode. Hopefully, you’ve got all the answers and cleared out all the confusion if you have any. 

For a safer ride, always use StabiliTrak and avoid using the Competitive mode unless you’re an experienced racer. Thank you for your time and patience, goodbye for now.

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at Autoglobes.com with a passion for the automotive industry.