Some of you may already heard the term heel-and-toe before and i believe most of you don’t even have an idea what it is all about. In short, the heel and toe technique is one of the advance way to downshift your gear.
A heel-and-toe downshift refers to a specific technique used to downshift a manual transmission car. It might seem bizarre to the general populace, but racecar drivers use it all the time. Once mastered, the heel-and-toe downshift offers the benefits of reduced vehicle wear-and-tear, better driver control and faster lap times on a racetrack.
The heel-and-toe is a complex moves involving both of your feet, on all three of the pedals while one of your hands is at the gear knob, downshifting the gears and the other is at the steering. It is a common moves among the racing drivers during racing or sometimes even normal driving condition. Even if it sounds complicated, it is not very hard. Just practice for sometimes and it’ll be as easy as ABC.
Why do we need to do Heel-And-Toe?
Imagine a situation, where you are driving at speed of 80 kmh at the 3 rd gear. And few meter a head there is a sharp corner. You will start to brake and reduce the speed of the car to around 40 kmh. Right after the corner you realize you car doesnt have enough power to accelerate. Then you will start to downshift to second gear. You will start by depressing the clutch, moving the gear stick from third gear to neutral then to the second gear, release the clutch and accelerates away.
The problem with this technique is that when we lets out the clutch, it is not going to be a smooth shift. The car is going to buck a little. Why? Because when we depress the clutch pedal, the engine revs drop to idle speed. When we releases the clutch, the mechanical locking effect between the engine and the front wheels forces the engine revs to match the rotational speed of the rear wheels. In this case, 40kmh in second gear would mean the engine has to be at roughly 2,600 rpm. When we release the clutch after moving the shifter to second gear, the car’s engine must instantly go from idle to 2,600 rpm. This sudden change causes the car to buck, as well as causing undue wear-and-tear on the clutch, transmission and engine mounts.
What Is The Solution?
The solution is simple. We have to blip or give the car some throttle before releasing the clutch. By doing this, we can match the engine speed with the tyre speed which would lead to a smooth gear transition.Th heel and toe technique is better used before entering the turn to maintain the car at a suitable powerband for fast and responsive acceleration during the exit.
Heel And Toe Step By Step
1. Start by applying the brakes with your ball or toe when approaching the corner.
2.Then depress the clutch pedal.
3. The hard part.While you are still depressing the brakes, rotate your feet outward to the accelerator and blip the throttle.Blipping the throttle means temporarily raising the engine rpms to match the wheel speed. The exact amount of revs needed is dependent on a variety of factors, but it is usually between 1,000 rpm to 2,000 rpm more than the current engine rpm for a one-gear downshift.
4.Release the clutch and accelerates away.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpVoAN7pE9Q 425 344]
The trickiest part is getting the correct amount of rpms to match the new gear. If you blip the throttle too much, the engine has too much speed compared to the wheels and is forced to drop down to the wheel speed when you let out the clutch. If you don’t blip the throttle enough, the engine rpms are forced to rise up. Either way, you know you didn’t do it right as the car will jerk a little.
But practice makes perfect. And by using this technique, you can have a smoother gear downshift, a faster exit acceleration and reducing your transmission wear and tear.
So keep on practicing and do ask me if you have any problems.