Advanced Driving Techniques. (Cornering and Heel Toe)
Guest post by Mario, although this may not be a computer technical post, it is technical and therefore added to this blog.
Mario enters the room.
Today my post will be on “Advanced Driving Techniques.” These tips and tricks are mainly for high speed driving on tracks however, many of these principles can be attributed to normal day to day driving which I will help translate. Before I begin, I’d like to state that I am no professional race car driver. However, I have won go kart championships and races against professional race car drivers. I also work as a mover for my dads company so I get a lot of drive time in. So lets begin. As stated earlier, my topic is advanced driving techniques. The first driving technique pertains to the track.
When driving around a track whether it be a go kart track or full sized track you must follow the racing line if you want to go fast. What is the racing line? Drivingfast.net describes the racing line as follows, “The racing line is the route a racing driver follows in order to take corners in the fastest possible way. By using all of the available space on the track, cars can travel in a straighter line and travel faster before reaching the limits of grip..”
As we can see the racing line is a line taken to maximize speed through corners. How is this done. Well, as the quote states, by using all the available space on the track, the car can travel in a straight line. The importance of driving in the straightest possible line through a corner relates to common science. The more wheel and turn you put in a car, the more friction the front tires will encounter. The more friction the front tires encounter, the slower your car will travel through a corner. One way of knowing if your turning the wheel to hard is hearing the tires. A little bit of screech is fine, however, to much screeching of the tires is bad. Alright so I’m going to use an example of a good racing line. My example of a turn will be the famous turn 1 at the Shanghai Circuit in China. This is one of my personal favorite turns. I will also be using the turn because we see this type of turn in day to day driving. This turn resembles freeway entrances. For example, the freeway entrance here on Calvine road heading north towards downtown resembles this turn.
Heel Toe Technique
My next driving technique is called the heel toe. The heel toe technique is a technique used on manual gearboxes. So stick shift cars. Even if you don’t have a stick shift car, one day you might want to own one and you’ll be happy you listened to this part of the speech. drivingfast.net describes the heel toe technique as follows, “The purpose of the heel-and-toe is to smoothly match engine speed to wheel speed.” I’m going to give you an example as to why this is important. Pretend for second you are driving a 2015 Mustang GT500. It has a 5 speed gearbox. You’re traveling 50 mph per hour in 5th gear on Laguna Blvd. Your next street is Bruceville Road so you’ll be making a left turn. The dmv recommends a speed of about 15 – 20 mph when taking a left hand turn. On an average car, a corner like that should be taken in 2nd gear. So you proceed to slow down using the brakes obviously, right as your reaching 20 mph you clutch in shift from 5th to 2nd gear and dump the clutch. Why is this wrong? As stated earlier by Driving techniques.net, you want engine speed and wheel speed to match. If you have a stick shift car you’ll know that whenever you clutch in the revs drop down to idle revs, which is anywhere between 500 rpm and 1000 rpm. However, because the car itself is still moving at 20 mph, the wheel speed is not at 500 rpm. At this point, the car wheel speed is probably at around 2500 rpm. In a normal car, if the engine speed and wheel speed are not matching, the response of the car will be to jerk back and forth. On a street car, components like the clutch and transmission will wear out faster. So how then should you approach a corner like this? Well, I’ll give the example again but this time doing it the right way using the heel and toe technique. So as said earlier, your going to make a left hand turn on Bruceville road. You begin by slowing down to 20 mph. The next part is the important part. The heel and toe technique requires both of your feet to simultaneously` use all three pedals at one time.
So here’s the gas pedal, the brake pedal and the clutch. So as your slowing down your foot will obviously be on the brake. Once your around 20 mph you will clutch in to shift from 5th to 2nd gear. However before you release the clutch, with the heel of your right foot, as the name heel toe implies, you will blip the gas pedal. Remember your toe or the top portion of your foot will remain on the brake pedal slowing the car down, but the heel of your right foot will blip the gas. As a reminder the car will not accelerate forward, if you foot is still in the clutch. It’s the same thing as having the car in neutral, you can rev it as hard as you want, the car will not move. So what does the heel and toe exactly do. Well by blipping the gas pedal you will bring up the engine speed revs from 500 rpm to 2500 rpm (if done correctly). By doing so your wheel speed and engine speed will be matching. As mentioned earlier you will save wear and tear on your car practicing this technique. And it will also be smoother inside the car.( I didn’t draw a picture of this but demonstrated it with my hands.)
These two driving techniques are just scratching the surface of advanced driving technique. If anyone has questions, Mario would be happy to answer them. If not, thank you for your time and have a nice day. Thank you. Also please take time to see the site that has excellent examples on racing lines.