Heel Toe Shifting isn’t just for performance driving
Defensive driving is the key to surviving icy road conditions this winter. At the very least, keeping a two second gap between you and the car in front will drastically reduce the odds of having an accident. However, no amount of defensive driving will keep others from abruptly stopping in front of us. But there is still hope. A technique derived from racecar drivers can slow our cars down smoother and safer. It’s called the heel and toe.
Heel and toe downshifting is a technique used in motorsport to smoothly decelerate the car before entering a corner, but it can also save you from rear ending someone.
This rev matching technique works by matching the engine speed with the wheel speed under braking. It requires your left foot to work the clutch while the ball of your right foot brakes and the side or heel of your right foot blips the throttle simultaneously. This throttle blip is what matches the speed of the engine with the wheels. Without rev matching, the car will jolt violently, disrupting the drivetrain and weight transfer in the chassis and allowing the wheels break traction. The last thing you want on an icy road.
So how can we use this racing technique to help us from crashing this winter?
We typically think of our engine as the force that accelerates and our brakes being the force that decelerates. If we accelerate with the engine and the brakes, we don’t go very fast at all. But if we decelerate using the brakes while simultaneously slowing the wheels with the engine, we’ll brake more efficiently. Just simply physics, two forces slowing you down is better than one.
But there is one small issue. The accelerator pedal in the FRS and BRZ is too small and slightly too far away from the brake pedal, making heel and toe downshifting harder than it needs to be. SRP Racing solved this problem a while ago with this ingenious design that extends the accelerator pedal 3/4 of an inch closer to the brake pedal. Each pedal is covered in a non slip tread that helps even snow covered boots from slipping.
Overall, the biggest take away from these pedals are how they can help improve the consistency of your heel and toe downshifting. That consistency could mean the difference between stopping inches away from the car in front or your front bumper stuffed inside someone’s trunk.
Tweet us how this technique has improved your driving @86SpeedFactory