Pack at the Track By Fred Pack, PCA DE instructor



The track driving tip is: you must learn how to do heel-and-toe downshifting. For many turns you will slow down enough that you need to be in a lower gear. The problem is that you must operate the clutch, brake and gas to make a smooth downshift, but we only have 2 feet.  You could get around this problem by braking for a moment, then downshifting, and then braking again, but while you’re doing the downshift you wouldn’t be slowing down so you’d obviously not be at peak performance.  So how do you operate 3 pedals at the same time with 2 feet? The answer is that you use the heel-and-toe technique. You brake with your right foot and when you want to do the downshift you press the clutch pedal with your left foot as usual. At that same moment, while you are still braking, you give a blip to the throttle with the heel of your right foot in order to match the revs as required. (In some cars the pedal layout is such that you use the left side of your right foot for the brake and the right side for the throttle.) It takes a while to get accustomed to the method but you can practice on the street. If you don’t heel-and-toe your downshift is likely to be jerky and the last thing you want on the track is get a chirp from your rear tires while slowing down. This is particularly true in the rain where it can cause an instant spin-out. Learn this technique!