Heel-Toe Downshift [Part.2]

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First I think we should discuss the importance to know when we will be using this technique. The simple answer is, perhaps should be when you are in a racing or fast driving environment situation coming up to a turn where it will be necessary to both brake and downshift to get fast through the corners/apex .

Imagine coming off a long straight away and into a tight right-hand 90 degree turn. This is an ideal heel and toe opportunity. Keep this situation in mind as you read this article. I think most of AROCKV.MY readers would love to know the techniques. When in a racing situation it is advantageous to keep the car within the “boiling point” or the sweet spot of its power band. This tends to be higher in the rev range (especially for cars with smaller, naturally aspirated engines), so logically, in racing situations higher revs are usually preferable. If, coming out of the above mentioned turn, your engine revs are too low, then your car will accelerate much more slowly than if you were somehow able to keep your engine in that sweet spot of power, higher in the rev rage.

Well, that’s is the main reason I’d like to conduct the drivers’ training programmes for all members and learning about the characteristics of your Bellas is important. Anyone who has driven a car with a technical know-how that lower gears equate to higher engine RPM, so the obvious solution to keeping your revs up through a turn is to downshift so that when you exit the turn your engine is ready to put the power down.

At first it takes a lot of concentration. You’re doing a lot of things at the same time. Besides working on all the controls, you also need to be sensitive to the tire grip during braking, you have to be watching your reference points heading into a corner, and to make matters worse, if you’re racing, you might have to be looking for traffic. However, after a couple of weekends of practice, you’ll get the hang of it, and in no time you’ll be able forget about your hands and feet, and concentrate on the track.

One of the race drivers once wrote in the US Motor Trend magazines stated that “when you downshift and pop the clutch (especially when doing so will bring the RPM into the range we want) you will get significant engine braking as the road tries to bring the engine up to match that of the transmission.

This engine braking can be so severe that the rear (or front in a FWD car) tires can lock up. This is a BAD thing when you are trying to maintain speed and control into and through a turn. THIS is when heel and toeing comes into play. To nullify the effects of this engine braking you must rev the engine before popping the clutch so that, ideally, when you pop the clutch the engine speed is unaffected.” On the street when you approach a corner, you were probably taught to complete your braking before the corner, coast through the turn, then as you straighten out from the turn downshift, and start accelerating again. This works on the street, but it is entirely too slow a process for the race track.


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