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Heel-Toe Shifting Explained

The purpose of heel/toe downshifting is simple. It allows the driver to both slow and car and select the proper gear for the corner. If the downshifting and braking are finished by the turn-in point, the driver can concentrate on the proper line and exit though the corner. This greatly increases the exit speed and lower lap times.

The heel/toe downshift is a technique that minimizes the imbalance on the car while downshifting. A second benefit is that it is much easier on the engine and the drivetrain than simply selecting a gear and releasing the clutch.

This is how you do it.
Position your right foot on the brake pedal so that you can roll your foot across its ball (first metatarsal bone) and catch the throttle pedal with the right edge of your foot(not necessarily the heel if your foot is wide enough).

The sequence of a Heel/Toe Downshift:

- Move the right foot from the throttle to the brake pedal. Position your foot as described above.

- Apply pressure to the brake pedal.

- Depress the clutch

- Move the shift lever to neutral.

- With the ball on your right foot, depress the throttle pedal until the engine is rotating at the appropriate speed for the next lower gear. This is called a "blip" and should sound just like revving the engine. Remember, you are slowing the car for a corner. Keep on the brake.

- Just at the peak of the throttle "blimp", select the next lower gear and release the clutch.

Repeat the process if necessary.

This whole process should take well under a second per shift. The car should decelerate smoothly and rapidly. You should emerge from the braking zone in the correct gear with even weight distribution on all four wheels of the car ready to enter the first phase of the corner.

I usually tell my students to practice in a straight line by slowing the car down first then put in the desired lower gear then rev the engine and let the clutch out. If done right the engine and transmission speed will be matched and the car would not jerk. Then once you get the hang of it, try incorporating the brake while you are doing the downshift.

The key is practice and more practice. Practicing the technique is your daily driving is the best way to have it for the track on the weekend. Good Luck!

Used from

Keeping It Safe!

Article by Ryan C. Smith

I've been meaning to write this article for some time now. We all are into cars, going fast and having fun. A lot of us don't realize the consequences of racing around though. I'm not a preacher, and what I say you could care less, or you could take it to heart. To me it really doesn't matter, It's all on you. The things that you do, you are responsible for. Nobody else!
When you get behind the wheel of your car, you get that feeling that your just invincible. You car is a beast and you are the master. You can haul ass around town feeling great, but you really have to realize that your ride can be a weapon. It can kill you, or innocent others around you. Punch yourself in the face. Does it hurt? Hell ya. You are not invincible. Your car is not a protective device. If you crash your car, your most likely going to get seriously injured. After tearing apart our car, I realized how flimsy it really is. The bumpers are plastic, the metal is thin. If I kicked the sheet metal hard enough I could dent it pretty easy. Now imagine crashing into something doing 60 miles an hour. At 60 miles per hour your traveling at 88 feet per second. Just imagine at 120, 176 feet per second. Now imagine the force of hitting a stopped object at 60 miles an hour. Your car still wants to do 88 feet per second, but can't, and the weight of your car has a lot of inertia to keep going. Your car will either sandwich together crushing it's own self with you inside, or 2 both items will just fly all over the place.
Unfortunately I've seen many accidents, had many friends killed who could still be here today if they were wearing their seat belts. You think not wearing your seat belt makes you cool? How cool is it when all your friends are hitting your funeral when your 16? Accidents happen, but safety measures can help reduce the risk.
We were coming home from Tahoe and pulled up to this one accident, a head on collision. A mother and her four children were in one car. Unfortunately the kids were not wearing the seat belts. They were all killed on impact. We were about the 4th car to pull up. A few bodies laid on the ground, I wasn't sure if they were ejected or pulled out. In the other car, a lady was in the back seat screaming. Her legs were stuck. There were a mass of guys trying to get her out of her Honda Accord. A small fire started at the front of the car. Someone quickly ran up with a little fire extinguisher and doused the flames. It wasn't good enough. The flames came back stronger. The men tried to get her out but the flames got bigger and bigger. We could hear her screaming frantically, but the the car turned into a huge fireball with 10 foot flames engulfing the whole car. There was a silence after that....... We all knew that she had passed. I felt as if I wanted to fall to my knees and vomit... That experience will never leave my mind.. I always wonder if there was something we could have done differently to save her.
I've seen a lot of bad stuff. I've lost a lot of great friends from car accidents. What can be done? Although accidents can never really be avoided (that's why their called accidents), safety measure can be taken.
Here are a few tips I would offer my friends and all of you.

1.) Wear your seat belt. It can really help

2.) Don't follow too closely. Give yourself at least a 3 second leeway behind the car in front of you. Count how long it takes to pass an object that the car in front of you passed. You can time it that way. For bigger cars in front of you such as SUV's and Trucks give it a bigger gap.

3.) Watch your speed. It's fun to speed but losing control at high speed or getting a blowout can be deadly. Slow it down in bad weather conditions.

4.) Learn your car. I always suggest people go to an autocross or High Performance Driving Event. It's a lot of fun and really helps you learn your car better. I seriously thought I was a bad ass driver. The first time I went out on the track I spun out. It really proved me wrong. It's all good though, it's better to spin out on the track than on a public road.

Here are some links:
National Auto Sports Association (NASA)
Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)
For us Amateurs, we want Solo 2 Here is the link :
The Autocrosses are timed laps usually on a big parking lot. They set up a course with pylons. Lots of fun!
The High Performance Driving Schools are on real race tracks. They have volunteers who ride with you telling you how to drive your car. It's great to have a good instructor with you. You really can learn your car this way.

5.) Don't weave in and out of traffic. The people your driving with aren't skilled like some of us, and don't know how to handle situations. Also they should'nt be put at risk either.

I'd like to dedicate this page to all the people that we have lost. It's always tragic to lose a buddy. I know this well. Be safe and god bless.