to Heel and Toe down shift
Words and Photos: Marcus
The first thing is what is heel and toe down shifting? In its most basic form, it is applying both the brake pedal and the gas pedal at the same time. The second thing is why would you want to do that? Well when driving a car near the limits of it's tires grip, unsettling the car can cause it's tires to loose traction completely and slip. In addition to that you get braking help from the engine. You will be in the correct gear for leaving the corner as quickly as possible. You will also impress your friends if you do it correctly. But most importantly it sounds really cool. Okay, now that I've got your attention, here is how you do it. Well actually here is one way how to do it. (the second way I will cover in the next issue.) The first thing you should check is that the brake pedal is an inch or so closer to you than the gas pedal. Now I know that many auto makers do not make it easy for you to heel and toe, so if your stock pedal placement is not right for this method of heel and toeing than you will have to check back next issue. By the way, when I bought my car, my pedals were not set up to heal toe this way. So I had my mechanic bend the brake pedal over so I could. I am not telling you to modify your brake pedal because if I did you could try and sue me if you got in an accident SO DON'T DO IT. Getting back to it.
Okay here is the scenario, your running along in fifth gear and a tight second gear corner is approaching. When you put your foot on the brake pedal place it on the right half only. You might have to twist your ankle so that you don't hit the gas pedal at the same time. Because when you press the brake, it goes down doesn't it? Once you have scrubbed off enough speed to switch to fourth gear, put the clutch pedal in and pull the shifter out of fifth this is all while your foot is on the right half of the brake don't forget. You should always be slowing down at the same constant rate. Once the shift lever is out of fifth, rotate your right ankle so that the right side of your right foot presses the gas pedal enough to rev up the engine to the correct RPM (do this with a hard stab of the throttle). This depends on your car and the speed you are going (it might take some trial and error for you to know the correct RPM shift point.) Side Bar: Cars with light flywheels that rev up quickly are easier to heel & toe. Once the correct RPM is reached shift into 4th and release the clutch. If you do this properly, your passenger will not feel you shifting they will only hear it. When you are really good you will be able to heel & toe down shift through all of the gears in your transmission including first all perfectly smooth. The best place to practice this is coming off the freeway where there is a stop sign at the end of the ramp. Next time I will teach you how to double clutch heel toe down shift.