What is your favourite shifting method is sim racing?

  • Paddle shifter

    Votes: 589 43.3%
  • Sequential stick shift

    Votes: 158 11.6%
  • H pattern shift

    Votes: 167 12.3%
  • H pattern heel and toe

    Votes: 392 28.8%
  • Automatic gears

    Votes: 53 3.9%

  • Total voters

Community Question | Your Favourite Shifting Method

How do you like to shift in sim racing? Manual, automatic, paddle, heel and toe, sequential - the choices are plentiful!

Of course the shifting method very much depends on the type of car in use - but I'm sure that like me you normally have a 'type' that is preferable given the choice - but which one is it?

Do you like old school h pattern heel and toe action, or do the modern fire and forget shifter paddles float your boat?

Let us know your opinions and thoughts in the poll and comments section below!
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RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.


Oct 7, 2016
Since I was a kid I always wanted to shift my real car like an F1 car (I'm a '91). But the automatics were crap in most cars and if a vw golf had "sequential stick shift" you had to push forward for the next gear, which was plain awful to do after watching some dtm!
So I'm a paddle kid. I love nicely programmed semi-automatic sequential gearboxes!

I like big static paddles a lot more than moving paddles. You can drift and still shift. Or catch a massive tank slapper and still hit the right paddle.
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Sep 28, 2009
I voted for h-box. It's not what I normally use because I try to stick to realism, and there are precious few cars in the sims I play that use this apparently antiquated and out-moded method of changing gear. But when I can I do, because there is just something more satisfying about slamming that gear stick into place rather than just tugging on a little lever. That's not to say I'm any good at it of course. I'm rubbish, and can't heal & toe to save my life. But it's still more fun. :)


Oct 7, 2016
Ninja'd :p
there is just something more satisfying about slamming that gear stick into place
Have to agree with this so much! I generally love paddles but when you're in a BMW e30 on the Monza straight, having a better exit and getting closer in the slipstream, there's no better feeling than slamming in 4th and then 5th while crawling wheel to wheel, getting the overtake done!


Sep 24, 2014
Paddle Shift all the way but I thought the TSPC Racer paddle clicks were too loud so I opened it and put clay like earplug piece inside spring to dampen the sound. Much quieter, lol :p
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Aug 18, 2015
H-shifting makes me feel more like I'm driving for real. Because my IRL cars never had paddle shifts (let alone automatic), it's that simple :D

But in addition, I find it more interesting and challenging, when you have to use clutch, clutch kicks/slips, heel & toe shenanigans and all that. Just more moving parts, than in paddles/sequential. Cars only turn left or right, with brake and throttle, so having more to manage makes simming more engaging.

Dunno, there's also something physical and more "tangible" about slamming that gear in, with H. With TH8A full metal structure (while there are better shifters), don't have to worry about breaking it when I get "immersed" too much. Can man handle that thing

I'd never use H-shifter in a car that in reality doesn't have it though. Realism first, so if a car has paddles IRL then I go for paddles (and I wish all sims would have an option to force this, like Assetto). Cars with very short gears and like 1000 horsepower can be a bit uncomfortable with H-pattern, (like some older F1 cars) even if they had that in real life. But still, I use it for the realism

Also, TH8A comes with a plate that allows changing it into sequential shifter. But it's too cumbersome to switch all the time, never actually use it. Wish there was some "fast attachment" system, to quickly swap the plates. If a car has sequential stick shifting, I'll go with the paddles.
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Richard H

Feb 23, 2019
I basically use whatever the real car uses, but I really enjoy H pattern shifting. I'm not good at heel toeing, but it's good fun. Also, I sometimes get so "immersed" slamming the gears in that my wife comes to check if I've broken something or fallen off my rig :roflmao:


Apr 5, 2020
You hate it when it happens to you, but messing up a gear shift on an h-pattern is such a big part of racing. How many F1 GPs in the golden years were won and lost on a single missed shift?

When I started out I though paddle shift was the coolest, and to be fair, from a technical standpoint it definitely is. But I miss the random element an H pattern can throw you


Jun 6, 2009
Ever since owning a Subaru Justy, I like CVTs. Unfortunately CVTs aren't modeled in simworld, so... paddle shifter is my favorite. I have an H-shifter and use it more often than the paddle shifter as I'm fond of historic cars.

Edit: and while I'm on the H-shifter subject, I sure wish it were easier to emulate the different shifter patterns (Porsche vs. everybody else vs. sequential-H of Ford GT-40 vs. reverse being up & left vs. reverse being right & down vs. etc.). I mean you can load a couple of different control mappings, but I think only the ancient TSW H-shifter had plates that would drop over the shifter & could lock out the gates you didn't need. Hmm, looks like TSW no longer makes the one I remember: https://thomas-superwheel.com/shifters.
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Feb 2, 2010
I use whatever the real world car has. :thumbsup:
To use paddles/sequential when driving a H shift classic is defeating the purpose of simulation, to truly experience the car as it was intended one must employ the shift mechanism that the car was raced with. But many can't/won't because it means they will be slower, especially with H shift Heel & Toe.


Jul 3, 2014
I can't select any of the options above. A sixth selection should have been added: Use exactly what the real car has.

I love driving an MX-5 with an H-pattern and right foot heel-toe, and left-foot clutch, and I can't imagine driving it any other way.

Vintage F1, also H-pattern and the same foot/pedal combination, or sequential once the cars began to have that feature.

A Skippy or lower level open wheel, a sequential stick, with left-foot braking.

The early Radical SR3s, sequential stick, and I still lift the throttle when I shift, because that's how the real car is shifted.

New F1, Indycar, or Prototype, it's got to be paddles with left-foot braking.

It's about simulating driving the real car. Having a simulator, like Assetto Corsa with Content Manager, store the correct setup and automatically load it for each car makes it even better. My "favorite" is driving and operating the car to match it's real-world counterpart.

M D Gourley

Sep 17, 2015
As a Sim Driver first and with no real world race experience I prefer 'H-Pattern and Clutch' but some Sims do not allow you to use H-Pattern so I have to use Sequential / Paddles :)....but personally I like having all the options available depending on what the Sim allows :inlove::thumbsup::thumbsup:
SIM RIG AOC MONITOR acc cockpit VIEW FLAT shifter crop.jpg


Jan 19, 2019
That is definitely a depends.
For Dirt Rally 1.0 / 2.0 I greatly prefer an H-pattern shifter.
For track use, I prefer paddle shifters.
For RallyCross I prefer a Sequential shifter.
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Nick Hill

Oct 26, 2013
Well, for me, realism first. I use whatever the real car has. I'm equipped with a T8HA so I can do h pattern, sequential, or of course flappy paddles on the wheel. That said, if you're asking for my preference, I'm a paddle shifter guy - sorry/not sorry. There was a time early in my sim racing "career" (ha) where I was definitely in the "pfft, that's not driving" camp, but the deeper I've gotten into sim racing and learned the finer points of technique, I've come around to preferring flappy pattern. It really lets me focus on my left foot braking.

H pattern and stick style sequential are still fun and, again, I'll match my setup to whatever the car is in real life...but I feel most comfortable and fastest with flappy paddles.


Nov 25, 2015
honestly, my setup allows for any of those mentioned in the poll, I be damned if I use Automatic though.
What ever the sim, whatever the vehicle uses, I want that level of realism when driving.

so... no favorites.