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Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by amenasce, Feb 2, 2004.
In a normal car !
I guess its easier when you can set up the pedals no ?
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My 924 is perfect for it thr pedals are so close together! WooHOO But the grans am is another story
Being that i've never done it on a track or anywhere that was SAFELY enclosed, i would tone it down a bit, in the Saturn... i would be at speed, approaching a turn; disengage the gear, brake until i was moving at a speed i knew i could safely round a corner at, dip the throttle off the brake as i engaged a lower gear, dropped the clutch, mashed the gas and i was gone... Understeered a few times, but that happens in a front wheel drive car... i recall a few times dipping the throttle too hard and drowning the whole purpose in high revs, therefore not getting the proper "oomph" i needed once a gear was engaged and i dropped the clutch... Unless the pedals are positioned really close together, it's hard to dip the throttle while on the brake; also, the level of difficulty in maintaining a steady brake pressure whilst moving your foot to dip the throttle is pretty high... It seems like it takes years of practice...
Actually, even with size 12 feet, I find it very easy in my 550 & my M3. It's a bit tougher in my wofe's 328GTS, though..
It is actually really easy once you get the hang of it. I have yet to find a car where I've found it impossible ...
I have given plenty of suggestions on how to do it before and I realised when I actually watched my feet (after my last description) that I am not 'Heeling' the accelerator but using the right side of my foot ... er, moving close to the heel.
You would have to turn your foot (on a normal car) 90 degrees to do a HEEL and a toe ...
Thus toes on the brake pushing and blip the throttle with the side/heel of your foot ... and when you get real clever double de-clutch with your left foot at the same time
ps: NNO (DES), I might have read your description incorrectly (thus appologise) ... but I would not incourage coasting into a corner out of gear (ie. out of gear or with the clutch engaged). The accelerator is the most important control in your car and if you need to change the line of the car, or whatever, you need to be able to change the amount of torque to that rear axle fast. The steering wheel is the captain but the throttle is the one that actually does the important work
It's easier if the pedals are close together and your brake pedal level under braking is even or higher than the gas pedal. I always forget which car I'm in and go down under a hard braking situation and fumble the first time through before I remember. Funniest was when my brake booster went bad on the Rx7, so that the pedal would go to the floor and only the last inch of travel would the brake activate. So in the race I learned how to shin-toe by about the 4th lap.
Your comments are very illuminating. I share your views and I also find it very very hard to get the heel-toe right.
If you don't mind me digging into this, here is what I would like to say.
Referring to your comments, did you mean you would dis-engage the gear and wait until the car slows down to an appropriate speed before you re-engage the lower gear ? If that's the case, the rev would drop below its peak, right ? I thought the whole purpose of doing heel-toe was to keep the rev high when cornering !!!
how long do you keep the gear dis-engaged ---> 2-3 seconds ??? If that's the case, it may be better to just change the gears without heel-toe.
No the point of heeling and toeing is to get the engine revs up so that when you let the clutch out in the lower gear the engine does not get a fright and lock up the driving wheels.
You can imagine that you are racing say a 308 Ferrari and screaming down to a hairpin in 5th. You change down into 4th (without heeling and toeing) as you change down you use the clutch and thus the engine revs drop quickly ... then you let the clutch out!!! The cars road speed is still high even though you are braking hard and the engine has to accelerate up OR if it cannot accelerate fast enough the weakest link will fail. This usually is the tyre grip (especially as the car is nose diving and thus the rear of the car is light) and thus your engine locks the rear wheels up momentarily ... this causes the car to become unstable and you have a good possibility of spinning off into the bushes.
Smoothness is the best for getting the most out of your car and especially the tyres ... thus blipping the throttle as you down change improves the smoothness and is kinder on your engine and tyres.
That's the place to start... the point of it all:
The point of heel and toe is easiest to understand if we first look at the alternative...
You have the accelerator floored... 120mph and climbing... you're approaching a 90' corner... you release the accelerator and ease on the brakes quickly to threshold with your right foot... you engage the clutch with your left... you change to the gear that you want to be in when you exit the corner (but don't release either brake or clutch)... now you're to the turn-in point... you ease off the brakes as you turn-in the steering... you near the apex and you're ready to start accelerating... so you press the accelerator to rev the throttle to where it ought to be for your current speed and gear... you ease the clutch out gently as you do NOT want to disturb the car now (you're at maximum lateral g's; any disturbance and you're slidin')... once you have the clutch fully released then you can ease hard on the gas and accelerate out of the corner to track out and down the next straight.
That's how most people drive... that's how its done WITHOUT heel-and-toe. Sooo, what was wrong with that?? Two things... first, its too easy to miss the proper throttle level in the heat of a hard turn... and if you do miss too much, you're going to spin your car, because you are at absolutely the worst time to upset its balance. Second, since you're needing to ease the clutch out gently, you waste time from the point that you can start applying gas to the point where you actually have the clutch fully released so that you can apply the gas hard. A couple seconds of lost acceleration on each and every corner adds up to a lot of time.
So, how do you fix this? Finish the shift BEFORE the corner! While you're braking hard in a straight line... with brakes at threshhold and car in a straight line, you don't have to worry near as much about hitting the perfect engine speed when you shift... and then when its time to ease on the gas in the middle of the corner, the car is already in gear and you can just start applying gas... no time lost.
So, HOW do you complete the shift BEFORE the corner? Your right foot is mashing the brake... your left foot is mashing the clutch... you shift to the proper gear... now you release the clutch... with no throttle applied, you're going to be applying huge engine braking to the rear wheels... bad for the clutch, bad for the engine, and perhaps enough extra braking that you skid the back wheels upsetting the car... you won't spin most likely (since you're going in a straight line), but you will lose some of your stopping power... you NEED to rev the engine as you release the clutch... you need a third foot... OR since you're into the threshold braking at this point, while the ball of your foot keeps the brake pedal where it is, you can take the outside or heel of your right foot and press the accelerator to blip the engine revs up as you release the clutch... no need to hit it precisely, just reasonably close, and if you ease off the clutch with right foot giving you high revs, you won't be too hard on anything.
Hope it makes sense now.
Okay I can see where I may have caused confusion ...
Funny how difficult this is to explain . I still stand by everything I stated earlier but the reason we change down needs to be better explained.
Thus ignore heeling and toeing for a minute.
Why do you change down for a corner?
Mikey, you are right you change down to be in the correct gear to obtain maximum acceleration out of the corner.
What I explained in my previous post is the correct method to change down when on the limit of traction, ie. blipping the throttle as you change down. Note I have not mentioned heeling and toeing, because that is a method of braking and accerating the engine at the same time ... that can be used while changing down.
For example, if you did not need to use the clutch and left foot braked then you could blip with your right foot and you would not need to heel and toe at all.
If you have a normal car like mine then you need to learn how to use all 3 pedals (foot controls) at the same time ...
I would suggest that to learn this process, that you:
1. Start by ignoring the brake and practise blipping while changing down ... obviously at slow speeds so as not to damage your engine.
2. Once you have programmed your brain for that then start thinking about braking too.
Note: a misconception is that you need to brake very hard on a race track. If you have the right pads and master cylinder size versus calipers you do not need to have a right leg like Mike Tysons. Infact again smoothness is the most important. Slamming on the brakes is best left for blondes who are surprised while putting on their make-up while driving ... hopefully with ABS.
Braking is all about time and heat. Thus a high speed brake will take longer and generate more heat. You should not think of this as requiring a hard push on the brakes ... because (except for confidence dabs, or settling the car) you should brake just as hard everytime ... some corners just require you to brake earlier. This might be because your entry speed is faster OR the road is bumpy or otherwise grip is not as good, etc. Many people get this all wrong and think of the brake pedal as requiring a REAL hard shove at the end of a long straight and into a tight hairpin and then only an easy brake into other corners ... infact they are braking just as hard, but one is a lot LONGER than the other.
Once you get over the need to push OVER hard on the brake pedal then heeling and toeing becomes not as difficult ... I wonder if this is why some are having difficulty???
Practice makes perfect.
When you cannot see the nose of the car dip or raise at the release of the clutch, you are making progress. When you can not feel the engine change note as the clutch released, you are almost done. But never stop practicing.
Heal and toe is not something for the race track, heal and toe is a philosophy, that when properly applied, will allow you to drive closer to the edge of the envelope of any (manual transmission) car, under any circumstances. It is just part of the smooth control over a car that all great drivers develope.
Every minute that you are in a car with a manual transmission you should be practicing heal and toe, and smooth driving. Every minute that you are not, someone else is getting faster than you.
As a preparation for Skip Barber I practiced for a year in my VW Golf. I had to modify the pedals to make it physically possible. After a while I got the hang of it. To the point that the instructors at Skip Barber said I was doing the best heel and toe of the entire class.
However I still thought it felt awkward. Once I got the Ferrari I skipped doing it. I could modify the Ferrari pedals (there are some specifically for heel and toe with a bigger bottom latch for the gas), but I'm just giving myself a break at this moment. Been there, done that, didn't like it.
Awesome explanation gentlemen!
I find it very easy to do in my 308 GTB QV as the pedals are IMHO perfect from the factory. The gas pedal is long and hinged at the floorboard so I only have to angle my heel over about 30 degrees to have the ball of my foot on the brake pedal and be able to blip the gas pedal with my heel.
My S2000 is much harder as it has a tiny gas pedal hinged from under the dash. I have to angle my heel over a full 90 degrees which takes a lot of concentration, but can be done. Unfortunately it is too uncomfortable to do all of the time, so this season I am going to install a larger gas pedal on top of the stock gas pedal.
I once had to work in the gas pedal area on my 308 and when I had the console apart I have to say that Ferrari really did an amazing job of engineering the gas pedal. This is clearly a car built with the driver's needs in mind!
Kind Regards, Chris
PSK, being that i've NEVER driven on a track before and any driving i do takes place on public roads, the most important part of any car i'm in is the brakes, with the steering wheel and accelerator tied for a very close second... Seldom do i avoid potential collisions with the accelerator over the brakes (but i've done it, nevertheless)...
Mickey, before i go any further, please note that Brian C. Stradale has LOTS of REAL driving/track experience and i have NO track experience and i've only been driving for four or five years, now... You should listen to what he says and only take my comments for the 2 cents that they are...
Ok, yes, to answer your question, i would disengage the gear, waiting for the car to slow down to a speed condusive to making a 90 degree turn without losing control; keep in mind, this wasn't really a "waiting" thing, though...
Let's say i'm in my Saturn (R.I.P.) and i'm approaching a corner that i'll be making a right turn at, upon arrival; let's say i'm doing 50mph in 4th or 5th gear... i would disengage the gear (and clutch once car was no longer in gear) and "cruise" towards the corner; i usually didn't brake right away, so i reached the corner fairly quickly... At the last possible second (without roasting economy brakes), i would brake, usually releasing the brake and dipping the throttle (one right after the other) as i was half way into the turn; around the same time i was dipping the throttle, i was engaging a lower gear (was almost always 2nd- did 1st a few times, but that's for another thread); once engaged, i would release the clutch usually when the revs were just beginning to descend from my dipping the throttle, thus propelling me out of the turn and in the direction i pointed, (usually ahead of other traffic...)
Keep in mind, all of this transpired in a few seconds...
i can't heel-toe as Brian described and depressing the clutch for more than a second or two isn't good for a Saturn... Had i rode the clutch like that in my 10 year old econobox, the car would've died a lot sooner than it did...
One day, i'll have the means to get on a racetrack and i'll probably be brazen about and someone like Brian will come along and rightfully put me in my place... Damn, i look forward to that day...!
Sorry NNO (DES) but that is real bad practise IMO. The car should be out of gear as little time as possible IMO ...
But heh that is just my opinion , but I really find the concept of coasting into a corner dangerous.
If you find yourself going to fast what are you going to do? If you brake while entering the corner you will cause understeer and make the outside corner of the car dip badly ... if you turn in more you will also cause understeer. Atleast if you were in gear you would have engine braking still ... and if you did find you had understeer you could balance the car with the throttle and get the outside corner off the bump stop.
Then again one of the first rules of driving is to go in slow and come out fast.
Not meaning to critise but MANY, MANY people read these posts so we need to be careful that we do not give some young kid the wrong idea.
ps: I've been driving for 20 years and club raced for nearly half of that. Does not make me an expert, but I have pretty good experience I think.
Brian was not describing holding the clutch in any longer than normal. A heel and toe procedure should happen just as fast (or slow) as a normal down change. All you are doing is blipping the throttle while changing down ... nothing else, nothing more. Exactly the same as a normal down change except for the blip on the throttle.
I suggest that you get Roland to demonstrate to you next time you have a ride ... lucky bastard
Might sound dumb, but before I started doing it daily, I found that just practicing going into corners that were somewhat long and not so technical while easing off the gas, pushing in the clutch, baby the brake, and then giving the throttle (alone) a stab sort of set me up to use the brake and gas together. I also recommend learning on most cars to use the right half and left half of your right foot, instead of the actual heel and toe....
LOL... i'll have to ask him about it...
Pete, leaving the car in gear and holding the clutch in for more than a second seems bad to me... On the fly, my clutch was never depressed for more than a second... i can't imagine it would be okay if it was depressed for 5 seconds or more...
i've braked a few times entering a corner, but never had a problem; i usually do all the braking before i enter the corner; i've NEVER understeered or oversteered in a turn or GOING into a turn, unless i did it on purpose... i've never lost control of a vehicle at speed...
Like you said, go in slow, come out fast... Keep in mind, these are all sh_tty cars i've been driving; and all my driving is on the street or highway... i'd love to find a beater and take it on a track; go into a turn really fast just to find out i should've slowed down... There's only one way to learn.
In any case, it sounds like you've been club racing twice as long as i've been driving, period, so you probably know A LOT more about this topic than i do... Without lessons or a track or anything, though, i'm only left with what i read and what i have to drive, to practice with...
NNO, having the clutch in is absolutely fine, why wouldn't it be? if your heart desires, you could let the car roll to a complete stop in neutral, or when you say depressed, do you mean "clutch out" as in locked up? I think the clutch in is just fine, but incidentally I am the same, I never "horsepower brake" as I think it stresses the engine, and the drive train, consumes fuel etc..
I was reading in the Skip Barber book that heel toe shifting while regular driving will actually make you smoother. From my experience it does do this, but it's no where near the same level as it would be while racing. The amount you rev the engine, the amount of braking you put into it. It's just scaled back. It definetly makes for smoother down shifts.
So far most of the vehicles I've driven are capable of being heel toed but each usually has a specific method to it. But with my friend's truck, the spacing between the accelerator and the brake pedal is far enough apart that it really can't be.
best place to practice -
while going down the freeway at 50-60 miles an hour and blipping between each gear. back and forth and back and forth. don't think you need to be screaming the engine up high or blasting around corners. just do it on the freeway while driving somewhere. any speed, so long as it is under control. give it about 2 or 3 maybe 4 months and you'll be smooth.
All sounds good to me. What is funny about this thread is the difficulty in converting what we do with our feet while driving a car to bloody words ... just doesn't work.
Anyway keep the shiny side up and all the practise suggestions sound real good from where I sit
When I went to testdrive my Ferrari, the mechanic at the garage said: Remember to bring her back red side up. '
Provided you do it properly, it seems that you are somewhat "popping" the clutch, is this going to decrease your clutch life, afterall, this is a roadcar were talking about here, clutch life to me is important, I expect 50K out of mine!
I was thinking about this as I drove to work and it dawned on me why I have never had an issue doing this ... in my first few years of driving and probably even before I got my license when I used to help out at my fathers car repair garage ... I had to drive cars that would not run correctly thus I learned how to brake and keep the engine running while also playing with the gears.
I even in my youthful enthusiasm modified one of my first cars so that the accelerator linkage did not have an idle position (I was going to install twin carbs ... and being young and stupid I started to modify the linkage before installing the carbs, naturally the twin carbs never happened ...). Thus every time I came to a stop in that car I had to keep the engine running with my right foot ... and as it was a manual car thus I had to keep the left foot busy with the clutch ... thus the right foot was (is) the brake and accelerator at the same time if necessary.
Same thing was required when we got a customers car in that wasn't running right and thus driving it on the test drive to learn about the problem meant that your right foot had to do both ... unless you wanted to be towed back to the garage ...
Thus you COULD force your right foot to step up to this game by winding your idle screw in so your engine will stall without some throttle ... in about a week of stalling dramas you WILL learn how to play on the pedals I bet
Anyway up to you, but nothing like forcing the brain to relearn stuff