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A lot of toes and not enough heel


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So here it is:  I can't heel-toe.  I've been driving stick for almost 30 year and I have not been able to get it - but also my legs don't work perfectly and I just can't turn my leg/ankle/foot properly, either trying the traditional way or rolling my foot/toe if the pedals are close.  Also, our car is a 2001 and an auto-blipper can't be installed to work.

 

I've gotten around this because all of the cars I have been out on track with were dual clutch, but now I'm in a 5 speed.

 

So, does anyone have advice for how to handle this?  We have a low horsepower car (maybe 130hp) so I'm thinking that it will be brake for the turn, turn in, clutch in, downshift and bleed out of the clutch on apex.  The sequence is important because I want to figure the best way to not upset the balance of the car.  (I would like to practice this ahead of time but I know no one that owns a stick shift -- sad.)

 

Suggestions/ideas appreciated.

 

Thanks.

 

 

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Don't stress about it, we have four drivers on my team, all within 0.5 seconds best lap at any track.  Three heel-and-toe, I don't.  I am the only one that gets out of the car with tire marbles melted onto the heel of my right foot because it rarely moves for two hours.

 

Right foot is throttle only, left is either brake or clutch.  Brake for turn, turn in, as soon as your foot is off the brake stab the clutch to shift and release right away and blip the throttle as needed, do not bleed out the clutch as you are thinking as it will likely overheat.  Roll on the throttle as soon as you let out the clutch.

 

Going into a hair pin from a straight is a bit different.  Brake for turn, turn in, stab the clutch and downshift 4 to 2, blip the throttle to bring the rev's up to match then release the clutch.  As soon as the clutch is out roll on the gas.

 

If you are not as fast as your teammates it is your driving, not because you are missing heel-and-toe.  If you are faster then you are the better driver.  I used to heel-and-toe but I find my braking to be more optimal and able to fine tune only concentrating on one thing.  As I said, don't stress about it, you will get the hang of it within 10 minutes.

Edited by Ron_e
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59 minutes ago, Crazylegs said:

So here it is:  I can't heel-toe.  I've been driving stick for almost 30 year and I have not been able to get it - but also my legs don't work perfectly and I just can't turn my leg/ankle/foot properly, either trying the traditional way or rolling my foot/toe if the pedals are close.  Also, our car is a 2001 and an auto-blipper can't be installed to work.

 

I've gotten around this because all of the cars I have been out on track with were dual clutch, but now I'm in a 5 speed.

 

So, does anyone have advice for how to handle this?  We have a low horsepower car (maybe 130hp) so I'm thinking that it will be brake for the turn, turn in, clutch in, downshift and bleed out of the clutch on apex.  The sequence is important because I want to figure the best way to not upset the balance of the car.  (I would like to practice this ahead of time but I know no one that owns a stick shift -- sad.)

 

Suggestions/ideas appreciated.

 

Thanks.

 

 

Whether you can heel/toe or not, you must complete the shift before you turn in. Can’t be rev matching and smoothing the clutch in while your trying to hit an apex and ease on the throttle. Too much to think about, too difficult.

 

So you reach braking zone, brake hard, clutch, shift, engage slowly, complete shift. Do all that fast enough that you are just turning in when you complete the shift. If you fully engage abruptly it can chirp the tires... and if you do that while turning it will really screw you up. 
 

Im not saying it can’t be done... I do it from time to time (downshift during a corner)  but it’s only when I have screwed up in the braking zone or couldn’t concentrate on the shift when I was supposed to.

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Also, regarding the heel/toe shift technique.... it’s really hard to practice on a street car on the street because the movement is so different when you aren’t going fast, like, it’s not even worth practicing if you don’t practice it right. 
 

Find some roads where you can go fast, get the RPMs up where you will be on track, and can brake really hard.  It has a lot to do with height of the brake pedal and pressure applied, so if you are just grazing the pedal because you are in traffic and driving in the city, it’s nothing like the track technique. 

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Used to heel toe really aggressively, then I got into a fuel conservation situation and stopped blipping to save that tiny bit of fuel and discovered it wasn’t really necessary. Now I mostly don’t bother and focus on braking and line. No problem whatsoever getting all my downshifting done before turn in, just don’t coast w the clutch in. Brake hard, stab clutch and change gear at more or less the same time and then release the clutch just slightly slower than “dumping it” and everything seems to match up just fine. Probably using the clutch more than I need to but it’s OEM (at least for another couple months...) and designed for 80K or so miles so I don’t sweat it. 

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I had two kids go through the transition from karting to racecars both before they were old enough to drive on the street.  I told them to just ignore it.  While braking, clutch in, downshift, clutch out SLOWLY, drive on.  They did just fine.  They eventually learned how to heel toe and even double clutch, but I also know that when it all gets busy, or if they find the pedals aren't to their liking, they skip it.

 

I've seen lots of in car videos of drivers who don't bother.

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When sitting in a chair are you able to roll on the ball of your right foot (big toe to little toe and back) but by spreading your right leg from your left?

Even with legs that have limited movement I feel cannot do this is more a function of car than driver (for example many cars, the throttle is just way too deep relative to the brake).

I do not 'heel & toe', I press the throttle while I brake by whatever means, usually by using the right half of the brake pedal pad and 'spreading my leg' to push throttle with the right hand ball of my foot. 

Revmatching with downshifts will save a lot of drivetrain damage.

Please revote a lot of time to the pedals in your car before concluding you can't.

Consider the following changes

-Make throttle and brake level in dept in resting position

-widen throttle to bring closer to brake pedal

-narrow brake pedal (if you want to press on the middle of the pedal but still easily be able to roll the ball of your foot)

In conclusion I feel there is no technique to the misleading name of 'heel & toe' the goal is the ability to apply the throttle while braking when you want

Good luck!

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Crazylegs said:

So here it is:  I can't heel-toe.  I've been driving stick for almost 30 year and I have not been able to get it - but also my legs don't work perfectly and I just can't turn my leg/ankle/foot properly, either trying the traditional way or rolling my foot/toe if the pedals are close. 

I assume your nom de plume is related to this. :)

 

One of my drivers can't turn his leg to bring his heel into play but he has wide feet so he can "roll" his foot to move the throttle while braking. I can do either action, either rolling or using my heel so no problem for me. What limits your ability to either use your heel or roll your foot? Is it the action or the amount of movement? If you press on the floor with the ball of your foot while sitting in your chair, can you move the rest of your foot even slightly? Can you apply pressure to the outside of your foot?

 

While we're on the topic, we might as well discuss the whys and wherefores a bit.

 

Why?

1. To get the car in the right gear before throttle is needed to exit the corner. A smoother transition from entry to exit can be achieved by having the shifting out of the way during the braking process. 

2. Rev matching when done properly is easier on parts (synchros, clutch, U-joints/CVs, diff, tires). It upsets the car less so the car can be closer to the edge of traction during all phases of the corner. By association, not rev matching correctly or at all can be harder on those parts and can limit one or more phases in the corner.

3. Someday you may need to be able to rev match in order to keep racing. If the clutch linkage goes and you don't have a V8 that you can drive around the track in one gear, you can either keep going by rev matching or park it.

 

Most driver coaches feel that even today it's an important skill to have. How important it is to your lap times can depend on how your car is set up and how you drive. For instance, if your car needs throttle during the corner to take a set, you'll probably be giving up time. If your car understeers into the corner and you typically get on the throttle late, you can probably do the shifting just before you get back on the throttle on corner exit and not lose too much time.

 

Proper pedal set-up can make the difference between "can't do it" or "not doing it well" to smooth and controlled shifts on the entry phase and one more tool to use to balance the car as needed. Worth doing and doing it right. 

 

Edited by mender
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For those wondering whether it makes a difference, watch at 4:42 in this clip:

And listen to the Civic.

 

The BMW forced the Civic to go around the outside of the corner to make the pass, and the Civic driver was a little late on the downshift but was able to gather it up and complete the pass. If he had to waited until after the apex to shift, he would have lost noticeable time and maybe not be able to keep the position due to the BMW's better acceleration. As it was, he lost a bit while getting the car turned and before getting back on the throttle. At 5:47 and on for a little bit, you can see the normal difference in cornering speed when the Civic is under power during the corner.

 

That was in a car that is set up for mild off-throttle oversteer; in a mid-engined car that same maneuver would have likely ended in a spin if the driver was in the wrong gear or shifting that late in the corner.

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10 minutes ago, turbogrill said:

What's up with the pumping?

 

Also seems like he is shifting without using the clutch?


it’s a whole lot easier to left foot brake and match revs with a non synchromesh racing gearbox. Blip the throttle and shift it no clutch needed. Up shift just breath off the throttle and shift. No clutch. I’m looking for a bell housing to mount a Gforce to the M20. Worth the swap points. 

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22 minutes ago, turbogrill said:

What's up with the pumping?

 

Also seems like he is shifting without using the clutch?

The pumping is to make sure he has brakes before he gets to the corner. 

Edited by mender
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16 minutes ago, mender said:

The pumping is to make sure he has brakes before he gets to the corner. 

 

11 minutes ago, veris said:

The old courtesy pump. 

 

haha I always assume I have brakes.

 

Maybe I need to revisit my assumptions. 

 

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One thing not to do is use the engine for braking. Also, don't shift too early and overrev the engine. Here's a video that has that:

 

At 25:50 and 26:18 (and every lap at those corners) the driver shifts too soon and the revs go up. Shift light was set at 5500 rpm, fuel cutout is 6300 rpm and the telltale on the tach showed the engine was hitting 6600 rpm, 1000 rpm higher than the shift point. As the car gets to the point where the driver reapplies the throttle, the rpms are around 4000. Much easier on the engine and clutch to shift later in the braking zone and gently match revs instead of making racy sounds.

 

Engine builders call these drivers "rod stretchers". :)

Edited by mender
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2 hours ago, TimS said:


it’s a whole lot easier to left foot brake and match revs with a non synchromesh racing gearbox. Blip the throttle and shift it no clutch needed. Up shift just breath off the throttle and shift. No clutch. I’m looking for a bell housing to mount a Gforce to the M20. Worth the swap points. 

Most of the imsa and lemans racers near the end of h patter gearboxes that I am aware of used synchros for longevity. I think that most found that dog rings became too rounded or damaged in endurance races. Could be wrong though!!

 

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2 hours ago, wd6681 said:

Most of the imsa and lemans racers near the end of h patter gearboxes that I am aware of used synchros for longevity. I think that most found that dog rings became too rounded or damaged in endurance races. Could be wrong though!!

 


I believe that is correct but these gearboxes/transaxles are also electricity/hydraulically shifted by ECU or gearbox controller. No more shifters and shift linkage. 

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No worries if your braking system is set up for the heat that is generated by racing. Especially the brake fluid. 
 

The first time one is coming in hot to a turn in traffic and the pedal goes to the floor it will tighten up the gastrointestinal area. The Ricky Rudd car was 3500lbs and 12 inch brakes. Your tow truck most likely has bigger brakes. This is the reason Mr. Rudd was tapping the brake To make sure someone was home. He was also one of the better road race drivers at that time.

 

12 hours ago, turbogrill said:

 

 

haha I always assume I have brakes.

 

Maybe I need to revisit my assumptions. 

 


 

 

 

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On 10/22/2020 at 10:52 AM, turbogrill said:

 

 

haha I always assume I have brakes.

 

Maybe I need to revisit my assumptions. 

 

Some brake systems need a courtesy pump or residual brake pressure valve like this: https://www.amazon.com/Pirate-Mfg-Residual-Pressure-Valve/dp/B00OG5AV18 to keep the pedal firm.  Most OE systems have them built in. 

 

You probably won't need to revisit your assumptions until you get a faster car. ;)

 

Edited by veris
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