Originally Posted by s2gordon
I'm a Noob... what exactly is "Heel Toe" shifting?
If you shift gears on a bog standard family car you'll prbably never need to know. However if you want to make life a bit gentler on the drivetrain when you're driving with a bit of enthusiasm or on the track it's a really handy way to get truly smooth shifts and reduce the strain on the mechanicals
When you shift gears in a modern transmission there are synchonisers built into the gearbox which adjust the speed of the shafts to match the ratio of the gear you are selecting.
However as you take your foot off the throttle and depress the clutch the engine revs drop and the engine speed is no longer synchronised with road speed, so the downshift is a little bit clumsier than it needs to be. The trick is to blip the throttle as you shift down which is awkward because your right foot is planted on the brake pedal as you head towards the bend.
So what you need to do is use your right foot for both brake and gas pedal at the same time - "heel and toe".
In the GTO I actually find it necessary to use the heel on the brake and my toe on the gas pedal - this was the old technique when cars were more basic and pedal tended to be bigger and need more effort.
In other cars like Alfas where the pedals are close together and about the same height it was easiest to use the inside of my foot on the brake and then roll my knee and ankle so the outside of my foot briefly touches the gas pedal to bring up the revs. You'll need to figure what works for you depending on the geometry of the pedals, the flexibilty of your knees and ankles and the size of your feet
1 Right foot on brake - heel or whatever part will let you press the gas pedal
2 Clutch in and dab the throttle with the other part of your right foot until the revs are a just little above what you will need for the new gear while keeping the braking effort the same - a little above because the revs will drop while ou complete the shift
3 Shift into the new gear
4 Clutch out and away you go...
Number 2 is the part that needs practice. You'll find that your foot will move on the brake which means your braking affort will tend to change as you dab the gas pedal. After a while it will come naturally but in the meantime practice where there's no danger if you get it wrong and, if you're sensitive, do it where no one is looking at you
Now for the absolute smoothest changes you can refine the technique by double de-clutching as you shift. It's not necessary on a modern car with good synchro, but it's a real feel good moment when you do it right for the first time
1 Start braking
2 Clutch in
3 Shift into neutral
4 Clutch out
5 Dab the gas pedal while still leaving your foot on the brake to match the revs at the input shaft to the output revs for the gear you are shifting into
6 Clutch in
7 Shift into new gear
8 Clutch out.. and away you go again
(Admittedly I didn't learn to do this in a performance car but on a very old 88 inch wheelbase Land Rover which had synchro only on 3 and 4 and even then it was a bit hit and miss)
The old racing shift relied entirely on the drivers ability to match revs to gear and speed and was done without the clutch. Mostly it was done on the upshift since the down shift really needs a monentary clutch slip to avoid expensive noises unless you are very, very
good and very, very
consistent in your ability to match revs precisely to road speed. If you're not spot on the shock on the drivetrain or synchronisers can be more than metal can bear