Your launch isn't very critical, just get to where you get a little bit of chirp or spin off the line. Work on being smooth on the launch so you can be to WOT as soon as you can without wheelspin. Note this will vary with course design. More critical than launch is how you line up at the start. Position the car for the best line at the first turn you have to make.
Walking the course is very important, people sketch the course, some don't. Personally I don't sketch it, but I have some friends that do. I just try to walk as many times as I can, when I walk, I walk a line where my car is going to be, not just blindly following the course.
On key thing that helps me with looking ahead, is asking myself where I need to be looking ahead to at each element, while I walk the course. I used to find myself focused on a turn while I was walking to it. Now I focus on the turn that is one or two or more from where I am walking at.
While I'm waiting for my first run in grid, I'll sit in the car with my eyes closed and visuallize myself running the course. Hands on the wheel and visuallize where I'll brake, turn, and so on. I get weird looks from people, until I beat them:D
Also, take advatage of instructors, and ride along with other fast drivers. Don't be afraid to let others drive your car during fun runs, if your club does them. This is probably on of the quickest ways to learn to be faster when you're a beginer.
Also, don't forget to talk to people, BS about stuff, ask questions, look at other cool cars, and have a good time!
Parking Lot Hero
2008 WRX daily driver
2003 ZX3 23D Autox Car 42 FSP
"Hella Functional - Raced, Not Hard Parked"