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Heel-Toe Shifting Question

Discussion in 'Car Forum' started by Team Greenbaum, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. Team Greenbaum

    Team Greenbaum Millennium Member

    Jul 30, 1999
    I've been practicing heel-toe shifting and I've got a question about the finish. I complete the braking, shifting and throttle blip just fine. Now I'm in/through the turn and ready to get back on the gas. However, my foot's half on the brake/half on the gas. There's too much friction to slide it over to the gas pedal. I can lift off the gas a little and move it over but then the revs drop and I've just ruined everything I worked to accomplish.

  2. Asha'man

    Asha'man eat the eat!

    Jan 13, 2004
    Slicker shoes? ;)

    I've not been able to get the hang of the actual heel/toe method....I just blip the throttle on downshifts around town.

  3. method


    Mar 27, 2002
    Cleveland, OH
    Or maybe try a set of pedal covers, if your brake and throttle pedals are further apart, it definitely helped with H&T shifts in my car.
  4. In the past, I've used the heel-and-toe technique with drop throttle actuators and with pivoted, floor-mounted actuactors and the techniques are opposite.

    Frankly, I've always found the latter easier to control. Rig-up something and try it! All you gotta lose is a few pop-rivets, a lever and a hinge!
  5. Ron3


    Sep 6, 2001
    Mustangs, (less so the new '05's) have very little floor board room and the pedals are close together. The gas is also lower than the others. It's very hard to heel and toe mustangs.

  6. Wayne02


    Dec 13, 2001
    There is no easy straight forward answer to this question. There are just too many variables involved - driving style, shoe size/type, pedal placement etc. The only thing you can really do is experiment with pedal placement, shoe type, and lots of practice to find out what works best for you.

    The original heel/toe moniker is a bit of a misnomer these days. In the old days the pedal set would pivot at the floor. This means that as the pedal traveled through its arc it was moving down and towards the floor. This movement matched nicely with the natural bend in your leg, which meant your foot naturally wanted to push down and towards the floor.

    Cars equipped with floor mounted pedal sets were relatively easy to heel/toe in the traditional sense - actually using the heel and the toe. If you've ever driven any of the older Porsche's you know they were ridiculously easy to heel/toe. Not to mention there was typically more room in the foot box on the older machines.

    Most modern cars of course have the pedal sets mounted from the top, which means when the pedal moves through its arc it tends to move up and away under the dash. This makes traditional heel/toe much more difficult, and on many cars downright impossible to do safely.

    Most racers these days use more of a "side of the foot method". They will use the left upper side of the foot for braking and the right upper side of the foot for the accelerator.

    On all of my road race-cars I've had to modify the pedal assy's to facilitate proper downshifting with throttle blip. My current car has a slightly extended brake pedal (too the right), an extended throttle pedal (too the left by quite a bit) and most importantly the throttle pedal has been raised by 1.5". Diamond plate aluminum is used to provide some anti-skid surface.

    Many people like to focus on bringing the pedals closer together. While this can be important, you also need to look at the pedal height. Doesn't matter what the pedal height is when they are at rest of course, but what the pedal height is when they are in use - throttle is on the floor, heavy braking such that the brake pedal is at the end of its stroke etc. Proper pedal height (when the pedals are in use) helps tremendously with the transitions from brake to throttle, and vice versa.

    Another thing that helps tremendously is driving/racing shoes. These shoes will be very narrow, and provide a "rolled edge" such that it makes it easier to slide/transition from gas to brake/brake to gas. On racing shoes the actual foot bed is narrower than your foot width by a bit. This means there is no part of the shoe that is sticking out waiting to snag one of the pedals at an inopportune time. Most racing shoes will be smooth (no tread) in the upper part of the shoe - again, to help with transitions.

    Finally, please use extreme caution when modifying pedal width/height on a street car. It is very, very easy to get your feet tangled up down there while doing the downshift process. Pedals that are closer together, at differing heights, and the use of street shoes can aggravate this problem greatly. If that happens at the wrong time then obviously there could be serious problems. I even have problems just moving my race-car around the yard when I'm wearing regular tennis shoes. They catch on the edges of the pedals, get hung-up etc.

  7. Rob1035

    Rob1035 Skeet Surfer

    Jan 24, 2005
    Charlotte NC
    Good Post Wayne.

    So true, our 72 911 was stupid easy to heel toe. In modern(ish) BMWs, I dont heel toe, but more "ball of foot/outside of foot"