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I have read in several places that the pedal placement in the Solstice is nearly perfect for heel-toe shifting. I am embarrassed to admit, I do not know what heel-toe shifting is. What is heel-toe shifting, and what makes for good pedal placement?
 

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giranda said:
I have read in several places that the pedal placement in the Solstice is nearly perfect for heel-toe shifting. I am embarrassed to admit, I do not know what heel-toe shifting is. What is heel-toe shifting, and what makes for good pedal placement?

Heel-toe shifting, is using the heel of your right foot for braking, and the toe for the gas pedal while your left foot is doing the clutch work. It makes it easier to match the rpms between the engine and drivetrain and is ideal for performance driving, like racing or autocross.

That's the way I understand it, anyway... =)
 

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MO-KAN SHO said:
Heel-toe shifting, is using the heel of your right foot for braking, and the toe for the gas pedal while your left foot is doing the clutch work. It makes it easier to match the rpms between the engine and drivetrain and is ideal for performance driving, like racing or autocross.

That's the way I understand it, anyway... =)

Yep, it prevents "upsetting" the car, especially when you are in a turn and both breaking and preparing to accelerate at the apex. After a while, you can actually down shift with out engaging the clutch pedal at all.
 

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MO-KAN SHO said:
Heel-toe shifting, is using the heel of your right foot for braking, and the toe for the gas pedal while your left foot is doing the clutch work. It makes it easier to match the rpms between the engine and drivetrain and is ideal for performance driving, like racing or autocross.

That's the way I understand it, anyway... =)
You've actually got it backwards there, buddy. When slowing down you press the brakes with the toes and twist your foot over to blip the gas with your heel to match the revs for the gear you're about to shift down into.
 

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More often, toe on brake, blip throttle with heel...

MO-KAN SHO said:
Heel-toe shifting, is using the heel of your right foot for braking, and the toe for the gas pedal while your left foot is doing the clutch work. It makes it easier to match the RPMs between the engine and drive train and is ideal for performance driving, like racing or autocross.

That's the way I understand it, anyway... =)
I think that more of us use the ball of our right foot (the widest part of the foot at the base of the toes) at the right edge of the brake pedal and swing the heel up onto the throttle for a little pressure. The NASA site linked by leolaw is a good description. However, one of the important points that the NASA description makes is that this can be done in any anatomically comfortable manner.

I have recently found that the exact description provided by NASA of rolling the foot off to the right also works for my pedal layout.

It takes practice, but it's pretty cool when you get it right.

There is one other observation that I might make, by using the toe instead of the heel on the brake, you have a slightly finer control of the braking force, because you're using the tension in your ankle (calf muscle and even your toe) as the final arbiter of the braking force, rather than only the large muscle groups of the knee (Quadriceps) and hip which are principally responsible for the force on the heel.

Any way you do it, it helps smoothly transition the vehicle into the corner as you execute a turn. The sequence for making a turn is:
  1. Brake in a straight line and release the brakes
  2. turn-in, aiming for the apex
  3. graze the apex
  4. exit by unwinding the steering, under acceleration, tracking out toward the far side of the track and your exit point
Along the way, you need to get the clutch engaged before reaching the apex so that at the apex (and as you exit) you can apply power. So, getting the transmission and engine speeds synchronized can be best be done during the braking step. If you do it right, then just after you release the brakes, you can move your right foot back onto the throttle and engage the clutch just after you make your turn-in as you approach the apex, with your engine spinning to exactly match your speed, "gliding" at part throttle with the clutch engaged (neither engine braking, nor accelerating). Then just as you reach the apex, gently squeezing the throttle to begin your exit as you allow the vehicle to track out to the exit point and start to let the steering unwind. Now, this doesn't mean opening the throttle to wide open (full throttle) at the apex, but you should be close to wide open throttle at the exit point on the far side of the track.

The key to all of this is smoothness, and not causing any abrupt changes to the vehicle's momentum. It might seem like the transitions are very sharp, but actually, they are smooth, allowing the suspension of the vehicle to make an orderly transition during the weight transfers as the vehicle transitions from acceleration to braking to turning, to turning and accelerating, to acceleration toward the next braking point.

If you're interested in getting a start at High Performance Driving, among the many groups, including NASA, I have found http://www.speedtrialusa.com to be a good group of guys and gals who hold track events with some very good instruction for beginners. Mostly, driving takes time to learn good habits (or unlearn bad habits). Get some safety gear (see the safety rules page), sign up, go out to the track and get some seat time. You'll love it, and you can help keep the fast driving on the track, rather than on the streets.

The solstice is not a drag race machine, it's a roadster designed for road course driving and also should do well at solo/autocross (pylons in parking lots) type events. However, we'll need a removable hard top or a higher roll bar before we'll be able to take them out to such events.... but that doesn't mean you can't start learning in your existing machine.

For most of the groups who do track and solo/autocross events, there is some basic safety gear needed. Most often (beyond a mechanically sound car and working stock seat belts) the only additional safety gear minimally required is a Snell approved SA 2000 rated helmet. Open face SA 2000 helmets can be had starting at about $160, and for beginners, open face helmets offer better communications with the instructors. Many of the instructors also use open face helmets, so don't feel like you have to spring for a $450 full face Simpson. There's so many really good drivers who use open face helmets that you'll be in good company and not feel in the slightest out of place. (The open face helmets are also substantially cooler, and it can get hot out on the track especially in the summer. ;) )

Hope this helps a bit. :cool:
 

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I probably have picked up bad habits when I "heel toe".

I generally keep the heel of my right foot on the floor for stability, positioned halfway between the brake and gas. I use the left-hand side of my foot for braking (mostly by toe) and then use the outside of foot (the little toe) for blipping the gas.

The easist way to visualize what I do (which, like I said, is probably not right) is to hold your right hand in front of you like you're issuing the "stop" command. Keeping the pinky finger still (like it was resting on the gas pedal), use the rest of your hand to push the imaginary brake pedal in. The, swivel your hand such that the pinky joins the rest of your fingers allowing your hand to lay flat.

Confused?
 

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I actually found it odd that the clutch is so close the the brake peddle. 1 ONE car that I have driven manuel was a VW Jetta and it was father apart. I hope that doesn't mess me up.

You guys would know better if it's normal or not.
 

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Matt123 said:
I probably have picked up bad habits when I "heel toe".

I generally keep the heel of my right foot on the floor for stability, positioned halfway between the brake and gas. I use the left-hand side of my foot for braking (mostly by toe) and then use the outside of foot (the little toe) for blipping the gas.

The easist way to visualize what I do (which, like I said, is probably not right) is to hold your right hand in front of you like you're issuing the "stop" command. Keeping the pinky finger still (like it was resting on the gas pedal), use the rest of your hand to push the imaginary brake pedal in. The, swivel your hand such that the pinky joins the rest of your fingers allowing your hand to lay flat.

Confused?
Thats the same way I do my Heel Toe technique.

Main point though, is letting your right foot operate the brakes and gas at the same time to rev match to the next gear, while you're using your left foot for the clutch. This is usually used for when you gotta slow down and you're trying to stay in your power band, and don't want to make the car jerk around (if it jerks while you're in a turn, this can lead to snap oversteer in a RWD vehicle).
 

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At least you won't have to larn to double-clutch like a big rig. That skill does come in handy on old sportsers with non-synchro 1st and or 2nd. I would leave the power-shifting, i.e. shifting gears by use of throttle and brakes, no clutch, to operating a two-wheeler. I still fear breaking something while power-shifting a bike.
 

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dori-san said:
You've actually got it backwards there, buddy. When slowing down you press the brakes with the toes and twist your foot over to blip the gas with your heel to match the revs for the gear you're about to shift down into.
Potatoe / Potato

It's the concept that matters...
 

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It's called heel-toe because older cars have the gas and brake further apart and many times at a different height. I cant recall if it was a Lotus, or an MGB, but the accel pedal was about an inch higher (or lower - man, my memory is failing me - driven too many cars over my lifetime :) )than the brake - and a decent space between them. Just to reach both you couldn't use the technique I use today (use the side of my foot to roll onto the throttle while controlling the brake with the ball of my foot and hallux :)lol: look that one up...). You actually had to turn your foot and literally use your heel and your toes to control each.

As usual, Crimson Avenger's treatment of the subject is excellent and thorough. I'll just add a few tips from my experience:



  • Don't downshift too early in the turn
  • Get your braking done while you are in gear
  • Just at the end of your braking (you may be turning, too, depending on the corner) do your heel/toe downshift
    • while you are braking at or near maximum, push in the clutch
    • Blip the throttle using the technique that works for you (I use the Hallux/Digitus Minimum Pedis - hereby shortened to H/DMP)
    • Quickly select your desired gear while you blip the throttle
    • When the RPM's are decending, release the clutch
    • Finish braking, fully transition into your turn and begin the acceleration out
If you did it right, the car should have just "snicked" right into gear, you didn't cause any fore/aft jerking (which could upset your corner) and you fully and smoothly transitioned from maximum deceleration, to maximum lateral acceleration, to the combined maximum acceleration and appropriate lateral accel to maximize the total acceleration available to the car at all times.

If you didn't do it right, you may have some body work to do.

Placing pedals for natural heel/toe is a balance - lateral distance, brake travel, brake pedal location at near-max braking relative to the acclerator pedal working height - it all plays together.
 

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Matt123 said:
I probably have picked up bad habits when I "heel toe".

I generally keep the heel of my right foot on the floor for stability, positioned halfway between the brake and gas. I use the left-hand side of my foot for braking (mostly by toe) and then use the outside of foot (the little toe) for blipping the gas.

The easist way to visualize what I do (which, like I said, is probably not right) is to hold your right hand in front of you like you're issuing the "stop" command. Keeping the pinky finger still (like it was resting on the gas pedal), use the rest of your hand to push the imaginary brake pedal in. The, swivel your hand such that the pinky joins the rest of your fingers allowing your hand to lay flat.

Confused?
That pretty much what I do too and I think most others. Only people who can get the 'heel-toe' to actually be your heel and your toe is those little Jap guys. Watch some Best Motoring or Option videos and you'll see what I'm talking about, what these guys do looks like you have to have jello for your ankle bones to be able to maneuver it that way AND that fast.
 

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I used the heel/toe technique a lot with my Probe GT, but never use it in my Miata. I wear a size 14 shoe, and find the pedals in the Miata are so close together that I can unintentionally heel/toe when braking in a straight line and coming to a full stop. I've learned to concentrate on getting just the brake pedal so I don't end up stopped at a light with the engine at 4000 rpm. I hope the pedals in the Solstice are spaced a little further apart than those in the Miata, although I suppose that I could learn to heel/toe the Miata with some practice. It is a very helpful technique.
 

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Matt123 said:
I probably have picked up bad habits when I "heel toe".

I generally keep the heel of my right foot on the floor for stability, positioned halfway between the brake and gas. I use the left-hand side of my foot for braking (mostly by toe) and then use the outside of foot (the little toe) for blipping the gas.

The easist way to visualize what I do (which, like I said, is probably not right) is to hold your right hand in front of you like you're issuing the "stop" command. Keeping the pinky finger still (like it was resting on the gas pedal), use the rest of your hand to push the imaginary brake pedal in. The, swivel your hand such that the pinky joins the rest of your fingers allowing your hand to lay flat.

Confused?
I do it the same way, but I wear 12 EEE and my foot is wide enough to make this the easiest way to go. Any way you do it is correct though, just a matter of and control really.
 

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9EEEE here. It sure does help sometimes. Other times it's like trying to drive wearing diving fins. Depends on the car.

I try to make sure that the clutch is out before I riccochet off the outside curb.
 

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Thanks all for some very good How To links for getting the most from your car. Grew up driving my parents American heavy metal where the pedals were widely spaced and where, depending on your physiology, you were either an INNIE (toe on brakes and heel on gas) or an OUTIE (heel on brakes, toe on gas). I'm an outie.

Now, all the aftermarkets sell pedal covers that will make the pedals big enough to do it with the side of your foot. Had them on my Honda.
palmer said:
... I wear a size 14 shoe, and find the pedals in the Miata are so close together that I can unintentionally heel/toe when braking in a straight line and coming to a full stop. I've learned to concentrate on getting just the brake pedal so I don't end up stopped at a light with the engine at 4000 rpm...
But, as Palmer describes, I have hit all three when slamming on the brakes while the cruise control was being used. No need to use the horn when both the exhaust is screaming and the tires are squealing. :lol:
 

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DO NOT practice this at stop lights. I've learned how to do it correctly and it is nice to show off, but... BUT you are adjusting the way your right foot moves to use the brakes and accelerator in a dramatic way. You will have slip ups. This can lead to you slipping your foot off the brake and on to the accel. Which will soon turn into you engaging your car in some serious mating activities with the Taurus infront of you.

Just an FYI.
 

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hypergolic said:
DO NOT practice this at stop lights. I've learned how to do it correctly and it is nice to show off, but... BUT you are adjusting the way your right foot moves to use the brakes and accelerator in a dramatic way. You will have slip ups. This can lead to you slipping your foot off the brake and on to the accel. Which will soon turn into you engaging your car in some serious mating activities with the Taurus infront of you.

Just an FYI.
Is this the voice of experience speaking?? ;)
 
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