Tests, articles and news about car trackdays and motorsport

The heel-toe

The first 3 track tests of RACER’S perfectly reflect the trend of modern sports cars. They gradually see the clutch pedal disappear to make way for robotic or sequential gearboxes. We can verify this with all sports car manufacturers, whether German, French, Italian or Japanese. Ferrari has abandoned mechanical gearboxes for a long time, Nissan has been all the rage with its double clutch gearbox since the release of the GTR, the new Clio 4 RS has paddle shifters and even Porsche which was resisting with its sports models no longer offers GT3 in mechanical gearbox. This is how the heel tip technique is gradually lost, less and less useful for driving. But fortunately for us, there are still a lot of aficionados of mechanical gearboxes ... If we take the example of the journey of a young driver who starts in karting, switches to F4 then to Formula Renault, and who ends up in Formula 1, he never had to press a clutch pedal to downshift a gear! Amazing isn't it? It is even rumored in the profession that some current F1 drivers would be unable to drive a historic car on the track, with a pointed heel and a mandatory double clutch. Talon Pointe So why tackle this subject in 2013? Even if the trend gradually changes, the vast majority of sportswomen who drive on club days are still in a manual gearbox: Megane RS, Lotus Exige, BMW M3, Porsche 997 GT3 and so on. I will not denigrate sequential or robotic boxes in this article, however, because everyone is free to make the choice they want for their car and finds their driving pleasure differently. It is not for nothing that the mechanical boxes have not existed in competition for many years: the electronics do that much better than us and performance level, it is unbeatable! But mastery of the heel-toe always brings significant personal satisfaction, where each stroke of gas downshift awakens our senses. Learning the technique is long, even very long, and flight schools that still offer to learn it are becoming increasingly rare. This article will allow you to understand what it is for and will give you the bases to implement it, but the most important advice that we can give is to practice it daily to control it, at the risk of appearing ridiculous. arriving at a red light in the heart of Paris with its small diesel ... The box lock Before approaching the technique in itself, it is necessary to understand the need to carry out a heel-point on a vehicle equipped with a mechanical box. There are a lot of misconceptions about it, like the fact that there is a true and a false or that it makes it possible to pass the reports faster, but its main role is to prevent the blocking of box. This results in a very unpleasant feeling, especially at high speed, of the locking of the drive wheels. On a traction, not controlling it has no great consequences but as soon as you start to drive hard with a propulsion, the locking of the rear wheels can have ... surprising effects! To understand what is a gearbox lock, we must break down all the steps of downshifting and analyze the impact of our actions on the mechanics and on the behavior of the car. The main mechanical groups that will play a role during gear changes are the clutch and the gearbox: that's good, these are elements on which we can intervene! When we say "gearbox", we will consider that it is identical to the wheels. The speed of rotation is of course not the same in value but it is directly related and proportional. To start a downshift, you generally start by pressing the left pedal. They say we "disengage". This means that the connection between the engine and the wheels is cut in order to be able to handle the gearbox. We are therefore left with two completely separate mechanical assemblies, which will rotate at different speeds. The wheels keep a high speed because they are connected to the road, while the engine goes down in speed since it is free. The whole problem is here! When the clutch pedal is released, the engine and the gearbox will be at very different rotational speeds with 2 possible outcomes: either the engine accelerates to reach the rotational speed of the wheels Gear engaged ratio, or these are the wheels that will slow down to get in sync with