Cars & Vehicles Auto Racing

How to Shift When Racing

    • 1). Shift smoothly but quickly. The point of driving a race car well is to get around the track as quickly as possible. But it is also extremely important to drive smoothly, since this cuts down on wear and tear to the mechanical components of the vehicle and will actually help you drive faster. Smooth driving leads to calmer driving, calmer driving means more precision, and more precision means more speed.

    • 2). Shift when the engine is at peak power if you are accelerating. This is usually, though not always, at or close to the engine's redline, which is marked as a red line or marking of some sort on the tachometer. If you feel the vehicle is not accelerating anymore and the engine is not at redline, shift to the next gear, which lower the RPMs back to the strongest part of the engine's power band and improve acceleration. Ideally, when driving a race car at speed you should be either accelerating, braking or cornering.

    • 3). Downshift when the vehicle is still traveling in a straight line before you enter a corner. When driving a race car it is important to learn how to downshift and use the brakes at the same time. While your right foot is pressing on the brake, your left foot should be depressing the clutch while you downshift for the upcoming turn. This will help the car stay stable when the gearbox downshifts through the gears, as well as control weight transfer.

    • 4). Use the heel-and-toe technique to downshift. This is a fundamental skill when it comes to properly driving a race car for maximum speed and smoothness around a racetrack. To use this technique, brake with the heel of your right foot. As you depress the brake, pivot the top of your foot and use the ball of your foot to press simultaneously on the gas pedal. At the same time you will be depressing the clutch with your left foot. As you bring the RPMs up while you are braking, downshift to the next lower gear. This will make down shifting much smoother, since the engine is already at the higher RPM that the next lower gear would have put it at. This will also prevent the gears from grinding.

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