When you’re first learning to drive the manual transmission, simply getting ...
When you’re first learning to drive the manual transmission, simply getting the vehicle to roll forward without violently stalling feels like the biggest challenge in this world. Eventually, though, you get it, your next challenge becomes making sure you shift smoothly. Once you get the hang of that, and you can safely say you know how to drive stick.
But if you want to drive your manual transmission car in the spirited fashion, especially on a track, you will quickly discover the limitations of the no-frills shifting technique.
As Team O’Neil Rally School instructor Wyatt Knox points out, not only can the clumsy downshift over-rev your engine or stress your transmission and driveline, it can also cause the unexpected weight transfer or lock the tires up. None of which you want while you are chasing the elusive eleventh tenth on the track.
So what does Knox recommend? Heel-toe downshifting. If you are not familiar, it involves using your right foot to blip the throttle while simultaneously depressing a brake pedal with that same foot. When you get it right, you can smoothly downshift without upsetting the balance of the vehicle. It does, however, take the good bit of practice to get it right every time.
And if you are really daring, you can also try clutchless shifting. At the right engine speed, you don’t actually need a clutch to shift.
That leaves you free to brake with your left foot and rev-match with your right. Well, if you get it correct, you can shift while operating the brake and accelerator pedal, without needing the third foot. Of course, if you get it wrong, it goes very wrong. Don’t practice this unless you are comfortable with the risk of lunching your transmission. For the more in-depth explanation of both, check out Knox’s video below.
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