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Old 10-09-2001, 08:32 PM   #1
webkris
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Default So you want to learn how to heel tow downshift?

<center>

Part I
- of a three part series -
</center>

I have been thinking about doing this for a while now. I noticed the number of posts regarding this have increased after the NHIS trackday, and I would like to help out some of you who really wanted to try it at NHIS - but were (rightfully) discouraged not to.

In this series we will cover: What is "heel toe", The everyday uses, The techniques for practice, How to do it properly, etc.
Feel free to ask any questions about the material covered - and realize we'll be moving onto the depth of this maneuver through the series.... a.k.a Don't get ahead of me I want to taylor this - so that anyone reading can follow / practice, and by the end of Part 3 - be able to heel toe downshift. Stay with me, and I'll teach you something cool. The homework will be driving, and the lessons will be short.

Lesson
Why do we want to learn to heel toe downshift?
Quick answer - smoothness, stability, stay in gear.
You've all let the clutch out in 2nd at too high of speed right? Jerks the car forward, whine of syncros = not smooth. You can power through a corner faster then you can coast through it plus you have WAY more stability.
Impress your friends - looks cool as hell
Hey, these are valid reasons too, we all wanted to grow up and become a race car driver at some point. Might as well feed that need. Now this probably won't be getting you chicks, but you'll have more confidence when you go to the track, or autocross with your newly developed skills.
Racing - motorsports. In order to drive to the limit at the track you need to learn how to heel toe. Ask our track drivers - they'll tell'ya.

Example: Ever tried to make a fast power maneuver after braking?? Clutch & brake is in - who knows what gear your in. Suddenly a shopping cart is coming right for your car. You need to make a quick transition from braking to getting out of the way of the cart! If you learned the "two feet in" while braking (like myself) you will have a hard time finding a gear in 1/2 a second. Grind - clutch out - maybe make it in time with some bucking?? With heel toe - you are always in gear. but for a brief half second while shifting. This has made a noticeable difference for me driving a manual in traffic, and has saved my ass once or twice.

Okay - now you know why to pour time into this and learn it. Let's get to work.

Revmatching. or Throttle blip.
The fundamentals behind a successful heel toe downshift begin with KNOWING how high to rev the car before down shifting.
1. You are in 3rd gear at 3000RPM's you want to shift into 2nd. How high do you need to bring the revs up to make a smooth transition into 2nd?
OR - I'll ask it another way to clarify.
2. You are in 3rd gear at 3000RPM's you clutch in, shift to 2nd, and let out the clutch. The whine of the transmission is heard. How high will the revs go?

The answer to questions 1 and 2 are the same.
4200RPM's Give or take a little - based on transmission.

Revmatching:
Quote:
Step 1. Pick a shift point. This is the point where you'll let the revs drop to - before revmatching or "blipping the throttle". *If you have a WRX, the 2.0L Turbo falls on it's face under 3000RPM's. Turbo lag, and all that. *If you have a 2.5L RS or 2.2L, I would suggest a 2500RPM downshift - as it makes gobs more torque then my low compression 2 Litre with 0 boost at 2000RPM's

Step 2. Go driving on a quiet back road. Get the car up to 40MPH in 3rd gear (should be around 3000RPM's)

Step 3. Clutch in. Rev the car quickly up to 4200RPM's

Step 4. Shift into 2nd. Clutch out. (slowly clutch out at first - once you are comfortable with your revmatch, you can just about pop the clutch out, and still maintain a smooth shift.)

The car shouldn't buck or jump, the revs should come up, and you will be moving in 2nd now at 4200RPM's.
Homework / Footwork
1. Discover how high you need to rev match in order to make a smooth transition between gears. Start with the 3rd to 2nd transition, and practice for a few days. Now do it with 5th to 4th on the highway. You are going to do two things wrong at first. Don't worry - we all did. One: You're going to rev to high, and pop the clutch out, and buck the engine. Two: You are going to not rev high enough, clutch out, and hear the whine of the syncros - with more bucking.

2. Start exploring the heel toe technique. While sitting in your car parked and running in neutral (e-brake up too.). Place your foot on the brake pedal and reach the side of your foot over to blip the throttle. You'll learn that heel toe - is more like "heel side of foot". Start getting comfortable with it. - Yes, it's going to hurt a little at first.

3. Start reading up on it. Don't just take my word for it. See how other sites on the internet explain it, and get used to the terms: Revmatch, blip, throttle, clutch in, etc.
http://www.turnfast.com/tech_driving..._heeltoe.lasso
http://www.triumphspitfire.com/Healtoe.html
http://www.i-club.com/forums/showthr...threadid=15995

I'll be back in a few days with Part II (yeah, I'm tired...)
Get revmatching!
Thanks,
Kris
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Last edited by webkris; 10-22-2001 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 10-09-2001, 09:01 PM   #2
stumpz
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Very nice Kris. Spot on and easy to understand. I swear by it. With practice you do it just like drinking coffee without thinking. You also made a great point as you don't want to learn doing this on the track. Can you image this at turn 3 in NHIS....then you'll be doing the famous 3-11 split...
Cheers
Suresh
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Old 10-09-2001, 09:54 PM   #3
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Damn good idea Kris. Spot on with the explanation too....

Fitz
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Old 10-09-2001, 11:02 PM   #4
In2Deep
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As a professional instructor, I can say well done!
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Old 10-10-2001, 12:02 AM   #5
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so I have been doin it right for a while then, I wasn't always sure, but that's pretty much how I drive all the bloody time

cool

speed safely

BRian

not quite the master of heel toe and rev matching, but I usually get it pretty smooth most of the time
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Old 10-10-2001, 12:53 AM   #6
Fish
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can you heel toe an automatic?
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Old 10-10-2001, 12:56 AM   #7
Slvrblt
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why yes, yes I can

speed safely

Brian
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Old 10-10-2001, 01:33 AM   #8
joe z
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i hear you can ask brucelee about the AT downshifting
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Old 10-10-2001, 11:03 AM   #9
re92
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kris,

are you making fun of me again?

ever since NHIS, while waiting for traffic lights to turn green (can't run red lights if there are people in front of me ), i've been investigating how i can reach the gas with my foot still on the brake.

i get strange looks from the people waiting next to me, who are probably wondering if i'm planning to accelerate like mad for 5 feet before spectacularly crashing into the car in front of me.

sincerely yours,
"bucking bronco" raj
PS: turn 3 DOES have a small escape route in case you come in way too fast. it probably won't fit a WRX sideways though.
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Old 10-10-2001, 11:44 AM   #10
Kha0S
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Quote:
Originally posted by joe z
i hear you can ask brucelee about the AT downshifting
I do the equivalent of heel-toe downshifting on my 4EAT all the time... otherwise, it makes the passengers restless.
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Old 10-10-2001, 11:57 AM   #11
WoRteX
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huh? i r st00pid
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Old 10-10-2001, 12:51 PM   #12
mad-dog999
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Quote:
Originally posted by rajito
kris,

are you making fun of me again?

ever since NHIS, while waiting for traffic lights to turn green (can't run red lights if there are people in front of me ), i've been investigating how i can reach the gas with my foot still on the brake.

i get strange looks from the people waiting next to me, who are probably wondering if i'm planning to accelerate like mad for 5 feet before spectacularly crashing into the car in front of me.

sincerely yours,
"bucking bronco" raj
PS: turn 3 DOES have a small escape route in case you come in way too fast. it probably won't fit a WRX sideways though.

Thank you raj, you just made my day!

-John
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Old 10-10-2001, 02:21 PM   #13
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Crap. I've been doing it all wrong!!! I have most of the ball of my foot on the brake, and tap the accellerator with the top side of my foot- (little toes). Seems to work pretty well for me. Is there a benefit to doing it the "proper"way? I tried it- hideously uncomfortable- but is there a reason to change? Slippage off the pedal maybe?
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Old 10-10-2001, 02:57 PM   #14
webkris
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Lightbulb

Well - you want to be able to brake firmly. The number one importance is braking. So using the ball of your foot on the center of the pedal - still gives you a fair amount of reach to blip the throttle. It doesn't sound like you are totally doing it wrong Jamz, it's just getting used to it. It will be eaiser to shift the side of your foot over, then using your pinkie toes to blip, and using your toes is tough to do with hard shoes on. We'll get into that in depth on Part II.

Not picking on you Raj. Not yet anyway.

So who's in on this?? Are you all starting to get rev-matching?
- Kris
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Old 10-10-2001, 03:00 PM   #15
m750
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done, and done... working on it, I've been rev matching for a while, but h-t has eluded me do to lack of effort. Now I must try it....
AO
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Old 10-10-2001, 03:29 PM   #16
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I've been using the blip-throttle method for months now...

I occasionally do the all-out heel/toe shift, too. It's one thing to do it on the street, where I honeslty can do it without incident, but it's another when on the the track, and you're HARD on the brakes. Whenever I do it on the street, I'm not coming super-hot into a turn, so it's tough to really compare... who knows...
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Old 10-10-2001, 03:43 PM   #17
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Somewhere around stage 4

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Quote:
Originally posted by rajito
kris,

PS: turn 3 DOES have a small escape route in case you come in way too fast. it probably won't fit a WRX sideways though.
I race motorcycles up there and I can't imagine even trying to fit through that spot on my bike, let alone a REX.
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Old 10-10-2001, 03:52 PM   #18
re92
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Quote:
Originally posted by webkris
So who's in on this?? Are you all starting to get rev-matching?
- Kris
i tried it when i was coming back from the collision repair shop (ho ho ho!) i actually do revmatch on downshifts but rarely pay attention to where i swing the revs and just come easy off the clutch.

now i'm trying to get some mental ratios down in my head (1000 rpm in 2nd is approx 10mph, etc.) so i can actually put the revs in the right place and come off the clutch quicker.

a for effort, f for results.
raj
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Old 10-10-2001, 04:03 PM   #19
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I totally agree with JJ. I've also been practising, but you really have to brake hard from relatively highspeed to simulate the track. The only real-life situation that one sees often is a freeway off-ramp. That's where I've been trying to practice.

However, please please leave a lot of margin of error. Don't want to end up in the "I crashed my WRX" forum...

-Ray
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Old 10-10-2001, 05:27 PM   #20
m750
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I think the idea is to do it regularly so you do feel comfortable w/ it enough to do it on the track. Yeah you do brake hard on the track... but if your not comfortable w/ the motions how are you going to ever apply it. I guess getting used to braking hard takes getting used to, then apply an already honed technique to your hard braking.... Don't know.
AO
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Old 10-10-2001, 05:36 PM   #21
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Kris, You sure you aren't a mad scientist.

I would have to say you are one of the most techinical posting guys around..

Not to mention Interesting at the same time.. C'mon I know their is a little post-whore in ya..


Oh yeah heal toe, that's the only way to drive a Subie!
but i have my own style yet and still effect.
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Old 10-10-2001, 07:55 PM   #22
Marc Sawaya
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I've been revmatching for a while on downshifts, sort of just a nonchalant "throw the needle up" to catch the synchros (or whatever is being caught), and it usually works pretty well, but that's not a track setting. I suppose I should try to revmatch using more than just a blip of the throttle to get accurate at it.

I also practice the heel-toe action sometimes when engine braking at a stop, but if then the engine doesn't actually slow the car down so I have to start thinking about not smashing into the guy in front of me.

Does anybody else dream of miles of obstacle-clear tarmac to just practice on all day? I really want to go somewhere to be able to practice this stuff and things like launching without worrying about other people, the road, and COPS. yarr.
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Old 10-10-2001, 09:13 PM   #23
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Some suggestions:

The precursor to heel/toe downshifting is the match revved downshift as Kris explained. The easiest of these is the 4th to 3rd downshift so practice that one the most.

The next step is Double Declutch downshifting. It is the same as the matched rev downshift but requires you to depress the clutch twice when shifting down one gear.

I'll let Kris continue his lesson and lleave the instructions to him since he is very good at giving instructions.
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Old 10-10-2001, 10:19 PM   #24
wac
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Quote:
Oh yeah heal toe, that's the only way to drive a Subie!
Subie brakes suck for heel-toeing. I vote for left-foot braking instead.

-WaC
Wayne
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Old 10-10-2001, 10:37 PM   #25
Pilot
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Actually Wayne there is a method I learned from Cass at the Panoz Racing School to Heel/Toe when the brake travel is excessive. It requires you to hit the gas with the right side of your ankle. I am not proficient with it yet but it is VERY effective in the Scooby.

Left foot braking rules but only when you don't have to use the clutch.
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