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Left foot braking with automatics?

Discussion in 'Tracking & Driver Education' started by James_Woods, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

    May 17, 2006
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    James K. Woods
    Probably this has come up before, but I was asked if I brake with the left foot on an auto, (yes, ever since I learned to drive in the 1960s) and got clobbered by many posters on another forum about what a horrible habit this is. Except that nobody could give a clear answer about just WHY it is so horrible.

    Any opinions? Is this really so bad? Has it been done by any competition drivers? Does anybody do this on paddleshift cars?

    I mainly drive manuals, but transition to left foot on an automatic just out of habit. << No, I do not drag the brakes while driving. >>

    Thanks for your input,

    James
     
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  3. Jedi

    Jedi Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I was taught that if you left-foot the brake you will:

    a. Be FAR more likely to ride the brakes and prematurely wear them
    b. Be less likely to "forget" you're pushing the accelerator when slowing,
    and might not be able to stop in time.

    But that was in Driver's Ed in high school in 1978.

    However, to this day I only ever left-foot brake if I'm on a steep hill
    with someone right behind me.

    Jedi
     
  4. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    In the words of Sammy Hagar: "I've got one foot on the brakes, and one on the gas"

    carry on.
     
  5. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    Thanks, forgot about that. I think the left foot prohibition is sort of a car urban legend.
     
  6. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    I agree. really, I think it is something they tell uncoordinated morons just to "be safe". you know, so their Toyota doesn't ram into something :)

    both of my cars are manuals but I instantly switch back to left foot braking when I'm in an automatic. same with anything with paddle shifters.
     
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  8. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
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    LFB is a more complex problem than you think. LFB is a very important skill in track driving and you rights to be able to do it are being taken away as we speak. I think it is feinstein and rockefeller who are looking into more legislation to add another layer or electronics to an already messed up ECU to prevent you from LFB all due to the toyota sudden aceleration problem. Unfortunately, instead of adding more electronics they ban electronic tranny lockouts and the problem would be solved or mandate the ability to shut off the car. Write to your congressmen we don't want "brake pedal throttle kill". If you are on track and ever have to deal with the pain of the tire pressure monitoring system mandated since the ford explorer rollover problem this LFB issue is exactly the same. So if we don't all start writing to congress you can kiss LFB goodbye.
     
  9. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    why were you on track in an Explorer? :)

    good point re: nanny ECU's being forced on us by a nanny state.
     
  10. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

    May 17, 2006
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    +++ - enough on all the nanny rules.

    I would think that LFB would be a safety factor to AVOID unintended acceleration. That Prius accident in New England is now said to be caused by driver having right foot on accelerator (but thought they were on the brake) and car ran away under driver mistake.

    That was also the case in the 1980s AUDI unintended accelerations...LFB could well have prevented these.
     
  11. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Well the problem with Toyota is the ECU's are all messed up which they do not want to admit because they got no solution and replacement is big money. There is no reason to believe the black box recordable data from the messed up ECU's are correct. As dumb as 90% of drivers are out there people, even dumb old people, know what a brake pedal is. My big problem is that there is ONE main ECU. It is the fox in the hen house. How can we all acknowledge that there is some kind of obvious problem with the ECU allowing unintended acceleration at the very least ,yet still believe the same ECU when it says there was no acceleration? That ECU has no clue what it is doing. Worst yet congress wants more electronics on that same ECU! Congress needs to be made aware that a "fail-safe" needs to be separate from the parts that are potentially failing! Write your congressmen!
     
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  13. cwwhk

    cwwhk Formula 3

    Nov 13, 2003
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    I left foot brake in 360C and 430C as well as Formula Renault with sequential gearbox.

    You can get on the brakes a fraction faster, but you have to develop a sensitive left foot to avoid over trail braking.
     
  14. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    Thanks - I was wondering if anybody did this with sequentials.
     
  15. Bas

    Bas Three Time F1 World Champ

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    I can do it. The first few times it feels VERY weird, you brake much harder than you think. But after you practise a while you can brake better (quicker reaction time as CWWHK already said).
     
  16. cwwhk

    cwwhk Formula 3

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    Not all sequential boxes can withstand the abuse of down shifts without using the clutch. On the Formula Renault the box is very robust, so all you have to do on down shifts is blip the throttle with your right foot and brake with your left foot without touching the clutch.

    In my 550 GTS, 997 Carrera Cup, and Renault Clio Cup the sequential box requires use of clutch on down shifts so no left foot braking.
     
  17. CornersWell

    CornersWell F1 Rookie

    Nov 24, 2004
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    +1

    CW
     
  18. b-mak

    b-mak F1 Veteran

    Plus ones on the above. I LFB in the race cars all the time.

    Here's one thing to keep in mind. In a street car without a racing seat and harness, stabilizing your body in the car is that when LFB in high-g situations, you can no longer brace your body with your left foot on the dead pedal.
     
  19. CRG125

    CRG125 Formula 3

    Feb 7, 2005
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    Vivek
    Been LFB ever since i started racing. I feel its safer, because you can get on the brakes alot quicker. I know its a fraction of second, but in racing thats alot of time
     
  20. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    #17 Nuvolari, Mar 20, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
    Assuming that your braking is as sensitive with your left foot as your right there is no reason at all for it to be a problem or a disadvanage. In many instances it can actually be advantageous because it reduces the time it takes to actuate both pedals compared to using one foot. A fraction of a second may mean nothing to most but on a track at 100+ MPH you cover a lot of gound in a fraction of a second.

    On a race car I use LFB all the time in the wet to balance the car but in the dry I'm just more sensitive and percise with only the right foot.

    In a road car in regular driving conditions LFB is really up to the driver if they are sensitive enough to do it with their left foot. This whole throttle interupt thing really should make no difference as in regular driving there is no reason to be depressing both pedals at the same time. You really should be off the throttle before applying the brakes.
     
  21. RS man

    RS man Formula Junior

    Nov 30, 2008
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    Scotland
    Don't have any fancy automatic cars ie paddleshifters but I regularly use left-foot braking on the road. You get used to it after a little while and your left foot does learn to modulate the brake pedal. I have no issues moving from automatic to manual and vice versa.
     
  22. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Not true at all. 90% of amature racing is with tin-top cars meaning converted streetcars. When your Vette and your porsche have throttle kill you can balance with brake and throttle or progressive press one while letting up on the other to slow down transfer at limit. We are already having issues with tire pressure monitoring systems that are set for street tire pressures that don't work at all for real race tires. These feedback systems will put your race car in limp mode if the pressure are out of line. In ten-15 years are you only going to race cars pre-2010?
     
  23. Jedi

    Jedi Two Time F1 World Champ
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    We've all seen the cars going down the freeway with the brake lights on
    at 65 MPH.... for MILES. Often with a meaningless blinker on as well...

    Nuff said.

    Jedi
     
  24. Trevor_Baker

    Trevor_Baker Karting

    Apr 13, 2009
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    Trevor Baker
    I've been left-foot braking for years. With a paddle-shift Ferrari, especially on a track, I find that left-foot braking improves car control.
     
  25. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Let's try this again. My comment was directed to DRIVING ON THE ROAD. Driving on the track is a totally different ball of wax.
     
  26. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Agreed! but when you are locked out of your ECU by federal nannies you are outta luck when you want to put that car on track. All I am saying is that the days of "driver's control" of the car is numbered. Think about how it will be to race a converted streetcar when tire pressures will not allow you to use a proper race tire, throttle kill will not allow you to LFB/trailbrake, proximity detectors will not allow you within 2 carlengths, traction control will not allow you to apply power when wheel slip is detected, car will only run in "limp" because the driver's seat airbag is gone because you put a race seat in, when ecu's prevent repeat redline? We are very close to the end and WE are letting it happen.
     
  27. cgh1

    cgh1 Formula Junior

    Nov 5, 2003
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    Charlotte, NC
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    Chuck Hawks
    There are two skills that are mandatory to be truly fast on track (assuming standard tranny with no paddles):
    1. Heel-Toe downshifts
    2. Left Foot Braking

    One of the best places to practice LFB is in a street car that is an automatic. I LFB in my 7 series Bimmer (or pretty much any other car I drive for that matter) all the time. I RFB as well to keep both feet in practice and sensitivity. Point is to answer your question - LFB in an auto on the street is not a bad thing. Just most people have club foot syndrome until their left leg & foot can execute smoothly.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers & C U @ d'Track!!
    C

    Chuck Hawks,
    Pro-Driver, Coach, Instructor & Facilitator
    DreamsFulfilled, LLC & rEvolution Performance Driving System ©
     
  28. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
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