Topic: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

Impressive video....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZeHNGA … e=youtu.be

Although I'm not sure learning to do this kind of stuff will really make a difference in my slow, beater of a car... but might be fun to try..

MarioKart Driving School: 1987 Honda Prelude Opus #28  (still can't win anything...)

Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

AS someone who started road racing nearly 30 years ago I still have not tried this.  I tell myself that I should try left foot braking (I can already heel & toe downshift.) but when I'm in the car those thoughts seem to leave my head. Perhaps one day I'll try it during a test & tune track day rather then on a race day.  I know of a few tracks that left foot braking could benefit me. But until you try it you don't know if it will work for you.

The funny thing is when I drive an auto trans car I do left foot brake all the time. Such as in traffic where you never know if you will have to accelerate or have to brake, I keep the left foot over the brake pedal.

Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

Brian's a good shoe, but his car is disturbingly clean.

Heel-toe is mandatory, not optional for proper use of the brakes.  There are threads around here that provide the reasoning behind that statement.

Left-foot braking in turns that do not require shifts can pay dividends in speed and consistency.  Extra-special speed and consistency bonus points in corners that can be run flat with the addition of a bit of left-foot brake.  Generally only an option for high-speed corners in lower-power cars.

It is my opinion that switching from right-foot to left-foot braking mid-corner carries more risk than reward.  Unless done perfectly there will be either an increase or a decrease (or both) in brake pressure during the switch and the gains are limited to a smoother and theoretically optimal transition between brake and throttle.  But Ghidinelli is a former SCCA San Francisco Region champion in Spec Miata, and I am not.

Vehicles with centrifugal clutches can benefit greatly from left-foot braking everywhere.  It is a way to keep the engine spooled up against the clutch and can reduce belt wear due to the clutches cycling open and closed.  I doubt very much that it works as well with a slushbox, but there's no down-side in any two-pedal car if you can keep from riding the brakes.

4 (edited by jrbe 2017-11-18 03:14 PM)

Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

I see your grippy racing surface with a very different kind of run off and raise you dirt, https://youtu.be/wqREtbLe4sY

You likely don't want to be left foot braking (while accelerating) in an endurance car unless you have magic brake pads.

-Killer B's (as in rally) '84 4000Q 4.2V8. Audis never win?

Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

It's cool watching those marbles sloshing around the footwell.

I've been experimenting with left foot braking (sometimes) into 2, and down the hill at Big Willow. Also into Riverside at Buttonwillow. Two turns that get brakes but no shifts.
Until it's fully committed to muscle memory, I won't decide if it's worth it or not.

Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

jimbbski wrote:

AS someone who started road racing nearly 30 years ago I still have not tried this.  I tell myself that I should try left foot braking (I can already heel & toe downshift.) but when I'm in the car those thoughts seem to leave my head. Perhaps one day I'll try it during a test & tune track day rather then on a race day.  I know of a few tracks that left foot braking could benefit me. But until you try it you don't know if it will work for you.

The funny thing is when I drive an auto trans car I do left foot brake all the time. Such as in traffic where you never know if you will have to accelerate or have to brake, I keep the left foot over the brake pedal.

Like Jim I left-foot brake in my auto trans street car.  Close to 100% of the time.  I've never driven a Lemons car that had pedals that worked for me to try heel-toe, usually because the pedal box is too small for my big feet.  My wheel+pedals sim racing setup doesn't work for it either.  I do it all the time in Forza Motorsport 4, where the controls are all operated by different fingers.

I have done left-foot braking in manual-trans Lemons cars and sim racing, when going through a turn that doesn't require shifting.  You can transition between brake and throttle much more quickly and smoothly.

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Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

I have no feel in my left foot for braking. At least that's been my experience the last few times I tried on track. Very jerky. With practice it could probably work for me, but I don't really think that last 10th on lap times is going to be what makes the difference for me over 14 hours.

8 (edited by MZAVARIN 2017-12-03 09:23 PM)

Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

almitydave wrote:
jimbbski wrote:

AS someone who started road racing nearly 30 years ago I still have not tried this.  I tell myself that I should try left foot braking (I can already heel & toe downshift.) but when I'm in the car those thoughts seem to leave my head. Perhaps one day I'll try it during a test & tune track day rather then on a race day.  I know of a few tracks that left foot braking could benefit me. But until you try it you don't know if it will work for you.

The funny thing is when I drive an auto trans car I do left foot brake all the time. Such as in traffic where you never know if you will have to accelerate or have to brake, I keep the left foot over the brake pedal.

Like Jim I left-foot brake in my auto trans street car.  Close to 100% of the time.  I've never driven a Lemons car that had pedals that worked for me to try heel-toe, usually because the pedal box is too small for my big feet.  My wheel+pedals sim racing setup doesn't work for it either.  I do it all the time in Forza Motorsport 4, where the controls are all operated by different fingers.

I have done left-foot braking in manual-trans Lemons cars and sim racing, when going through a turn that doesn't require shifting.  You can transition between brake and throttle much more quickly and smoothly.


Yea....I hear what you're saying....I tried left foot braking and it was tough to brake smoothly....and the whole heel-toe deal was not easy for me either....I also blame it on my big feet, pedals that are not close together, but mostly on my long legs....my knees are significantly bent in the car even with the seat all the way back....seems like it would be easier if you could stretch your legs out to do the left foot braking and heel/toe than to do it with legs significantly bent at the knee under the steering wheel
(I've spent my life sleeping on beds with my feet hanging over the edge...)

(of course, it could also just be lack of talent...?)

I wonder if just: letting go of brake and tapping the throttle pedal before releasing clutch to get the revs up would work adequately enough (rev-match)...to substitute for the heel/toe (rev-match) deal...

As for driving an Automatic with left foot braking??....that has always been an anathema in our family....to the point of ridicule.
Since it seems everyone eventually gets lazy and rests their left foot on the brake pedal, and drives around with their brake lights ON all the time...

maybe it's ok when you're racing?

MarioKart Driving School: 1987 Honda Prelude Opus #28  (still can't win anything...)

Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

MZAVARIN wrote:

I wonder if just: letting go of brake and tapping the throttle pedal before releasing clutch to get the revs up would work adequately enough (rev-match)...to substitute for the heel/toe (rev-match) deal...

Picking out this line to address. Yes, that does work, and it's what we teach our new drivers to do when they can't heel/toe. BUT, you NEED to get that downshift done before you turn. And that means braking earlier into the turn. If you don't you run the risk of upsetting the car in the event that you screw up the rev matching. If you try to rev match as you turn in and you miss (under rev, or over) you can easily send the car into a spin. The benefits to heel/toe are that you can do this downshifting while slowing down and pointing straight, but keep the braking point later. You'll have the downshift done and can still do a little trail braking into the turn.


Left foot braking and Heel/Toe take practice. You can't just try it once, realize you suck, and then push it off as impossible. The way I learned heel/toe was through street driving and years of practice. Start out with just rev matching. getting off the highway, driving around back roads, things like that, practice rev matching to downshift with no braking involved. Do it until you don't have to think about it anymore. You will get it wrong at first, a lot. But after a lot of practice you'll be able to perfectly nail downshifts just about all the time. When you are there start working in the heel/toe aspect.

First you need to figure out what method works for you. There's several ways to position your feet for heel/toe and it will come down to the size of your feet, your car, your pedal arrangement, and your seating position. This picture shows the two main methods. I use a hybrid somewhere in the middle. Basically my big toe of my right foot sits on the brake pedal, and then the edge of my foot just below the smallest toe hits the gas. My heel kind of stays around where it would be if I was fully on the gas. I then rock my foot to keep brake pressure even and hit the gas.
http://www.golfmk6.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=1215&d=1268081608

It's going to be weird and awkward for a while. Just keep at it. Best places are highway off ramps since you're slowing down a lot more aggressively than say a slight corner on a back road. But keep doing it until it's second nature. Last step is learning it on track. This will be different because of the aggressiveness of your braking on track. It will feel different because the brake will be depressed so much further, but it shouldn't take long to adapt at that point.

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Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

Another way to practice "rev matching" is to try driving a manual trans car without using the clutch. On some cars that is easy, on others not so much.

On my 3 Fox V8 Mustangs and my V6 Ranger PU it was easy. I could drive on the street using the clutch only when starting out from a stop.
On my Ford SVT Contour it was not due to Ford using a "special" lighten flywheel on this model. My current DD is a VW TDI Jetta 6-sp. It  seems to be the easiest of all to drive without the clutch. Perhaps due to the fact that you don't rev it as much as you do a gas engine?

Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

jimbbski wrote:

Another way to practice "rev matching" is to try driving a manual trans car without using the clutch. On some cars that is easy, on others not so much.

On my 3 Fox V8 Mustangs and my V6 Ranger PU it was easy. I could drive on the street using the clutch only when starting out from a stop.
On my Ford SVT Contour it was not due to Ford using a "special" lighten flywheel on this model. My current DD is a VW TDI Jetta 6-sp. It  seems to be the easiest of all to drive without the clutch. Perhaps due to the fact that you don't rev it as much as you do a gas engine?

I've tried this exactly once in my daily WRX. I decided it was not worth the chipped gears. I was almost perfect in rev matching but damn that thing still ground with very light pressure trying to engage the gears. If I had a beater I'd try it more, but not worth it in a car I need to be around for a long time. Clutches are cheap compared to transmissions.

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Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

One thing that really helps with toe-heel is a very, very firm brake pedal.  So firm that there is practically no travel.  That allows you to maintain pressure with the left side of your foot without having to deal with where the brake pedal is relative to the gas pedal.  You simply kick your right knee to the right, pivoting your foot from the right edge of the brake pedal.

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Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

TheEngineer wrote:
jimbbski wrote:

Another way to practice "rev matching" is to try driving a manual trans car without using the clutch. On some cars that is easy, on others not so much.

On my 3 Fox V8 Mustangs and my V6 Ranger PU it was easy. I could drive on the street using the clutch only when starting out from a stop.
On my Ford SVT Contour it was not due to Ford using a "special" lighten flywheel on this model. My current DD is a VW TDI Jetta 6-sp. It  seems to be the easiest of all to drive without the clutch. Perhaps due to the fact that you don't rev it as much as you do a gas engine?

I've tried this exactly once in my daily WRX. I decided it was not worth the chipped gears. I was almost perfect in rev matching but damn that thing still ground with very light pressure trying to engage the gears. If I had a beater I'd try it more, but not worth it in a car I need to be around for a long time. Clutches are cheap compared to transmissions.


Just to be clear. You won't chip a gear tooth as the gears are all constant mesh.  What you will do is wear out your synchronizers which while cheaper to replace won't matter much when you have to pull the trans to fix it or send it out for a rebuild. I guess having learned to drive a "big truck" helps in doing this as the "good" drivers almost always shift without the clutch.

14 (edited by jiggermyster 2017-12-05 10:25 PM)

Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

jimbbski wrote:

Just to be clear. You won't chip a gear tooth as the gears are all constant mesh.  What you will do is wear out your synchronizers which while cheaper to replace won't matter much when you have to pull the trans to fix it or send it out for a rebuild. I guess having learned to drive a "big truck" helps in doing this as the "good" drivers almost always shift without the clutch.

Synchro's hide the feel, making it nearly impossible to know if the revs are truly matched.
Even if the dogs are perfectly aligned, the synchros still have to rattle around until they're centered before the dog will drop in.

15 (edited by TheEngineer 2017-12-06 07:29 AM)

Re: Heel/toe downshifting, left foot braking, etc. cool video

jimbbski wrote:
TheEngineer wrote:

I've tried this exactly once in my daily WRX. I decided it was not worth the chipped gears. I was almost perfect in rev matching but damn that thing still ground with very light pressure trying to engage the gears. If I had a beater I'd try it more, but not worth it in a car I need to be around for a long time. Clutches are cheap compared to transmissions.


Just to be clear. You won't chip a gear tooth as the gears are all constant mesh.  What you will do is wear out your synchronizers which while cheaper to replace won't matter much when you have to pull the trans to fix it or send it out for a rebuild. I guess having learned to drive a "big truck" helps in doing this as the "good" drivers almost always shift without the clutch.


I know you don't chip the gear teeth, but you can still grind and chip a dog, which is part of the gear, which then puts bits of metal floating in the transmission. All things I don't need. I get enough of that with the unsynchronized reverse which grinds if the car is rolling even the tiniest amount when trying to engage.

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