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Heel-and-Toe Shifting with Fanatec V3's

I would like to improve my heel-and-toe shifting performance and I am looking for advice.

I have a set of Fanatec V3's and I am currently using the stock pedal layout. I just re-watched the Sim Racing Garage review of the V3 pedals and I am planning to reconfigure the pedals the way Barry shows in his video. Barry has extension and metal plates on clutch and brake while he does not use the extension but does use the plastic D-shape plate on the throttle. In addition, he moves the metal clutch and brake plates to the right so they are closer to the throttle.

I also have the performance and damper kits. The damper is installed on the throttle. Also note I am using the Fanatec shifter.

These are my questions:
  • Is there pedal layout you like better than what Barry likes?
  • What do you feel is a good sim and car to use for heel-and-toe practice?
  • Are you using socks or shoes (I have new karting shoes arriving today)?
  • Other than just practice more, do you have any advice for getting better?
  • My goal is to be nearly as fast using heel-and-toe compared to auto clutch with paddle shifters. How close can you get?
I think I am like many of you, I would like to drive each car using the same shifting process the real car uses. I always feel I am cheating if I use auto clutch and paddle shifters on a car that really uses an H pattern or sequential shifter.

I need want to learn heel-and-toe before we are all driving electric vehicles and not shifting at all, ha, ha.

Thanks in advance for the responses.
 
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Caveat... I don't heal-toe in sim. Mostly because I don't have an H pattern, yet. However, I do race in real life, and heal-toe for every downshift on track. A few things.

1. Pedal position matters most while learning. After several 1000 downshift it doesn't matter much. But, to start...brake pedal and throttle should be about 3/4" apart... Edge to edge. When brake is at threshold pressure the pedal surface should still be 1/2" higher than the throttle. It can go a little closer, but should never be below the throttle...or you risk pressing the throttle accidentally while braking.

2. Technique matters. Press the brake with the ball of your big toe. Flex your ankle so that the outside of your instep covers the throttle... But, doesnt touch it. You Sorta go kinda pidgeon toed. When you are ready to blip, push the outside of your foot into the throttle at the same time as you press the clutch. I put my ankle into this position every time I press the brake in every car I drive. Every day, street or track...no matter what. Muscle memory.

3. Push the gas hard. Don't be gentle about it. You need lots of gas and an open butterfly to get the revs up fast. As soon as the revs start to climb downshift. It's a timing thing. Different cars Rev at different rates. You'll learn the rhythm with practice. Use your ears. Learn the sound of the right revs to match, and the right timing.

It takes tons of practice. There is no magic. It took several years on the race track to do it well in all situations. What made the most difference, though, was having a stick shift street car, and just doing tons and tons of up and down shifts. I drive down the road constantly changing gears 2-3-4-3-2,3-4-2....etc. The goal is to make every shift seemless with no surge....in all conditions...mid corner, highway speeds, 20mph, wet, dry, etc. Blipping on the street smoothly at slow speed is way harder than while threshold braking into T1. When you can blip with your wife in the car while she's drinking a glass of water... Shifting in a race is a walk in the park. Fwiw, I can clutchless heal-toe a street car... Not really all that hard, but it's an ear and timing thing.

When I first started, everything had to be perfect... Pedals just right, the right shoes, good track conditions, think each shift through, etc. Now, tennis shoes, dress shoes, boots, bare foot... random pedals in random cars, wet streets, downshift because someone cut me off...whatever. It's all instinct now.

The mx5 is always a good car to learn on. Everything happens a bit slower, which gives you more time to react and learn. The real trick is to learn to keep constant pressure on the brake while Blipping. But, you need telemetry for that... And more practice.

Downshifting is rarely about speed of changing gears. Downshifting is about timing and smoothness to avoid upsetting the car. The important thing is to be in the right gear when you get back to the throttle. But, while you are braking it doesn't matter how fast you downshift. Just be smooth. I'm very deliberate on track with downshift. Be patient and smooth. Let the engine revs fall lower than you think you should before downshifting.

Upshifts are all about speed, not downshifts.
 
Great advice. Thank you. Below are my adjusted pedals. I am going to try them like this first however I think the throttle may need to move forward.

IMG_9076.jpg
IMG_9081.jpg
 
Caveat... I don't heal-toe in sim. Mostly because I don't have an H pattern, yet. However, I do race in real life, and heal-toe for every downshift on track. A few things.

1. Pedal position matters most while learning. After several 1000 downshift it doesn't matter much. But, to start...brake pedal and throttle should be about 3/4" apart... Edge to edge. When brake is at threshold pressure the pedal surface should still be 1/2" higher than the throttle. It can go a little closer, but should never be below the throttle...or you risk pressing the throttle accidentally while braking.

2. Technique matters. Press the brake with the ball of your big toe. Flex your ankle so that the outside of your instep covers the throttle... But, doesnt touch it. You Sorta go kinda pidgeon toed. When you are ready to blip, push the outside of your foot into the throttle at the same time as you press the clutch. I put my ankle into this position every time I press the brake in every car I drive. Every day, street or track...no matter what. Muscle memory.

3. Push the gas hard. Don't be gentle about it. You need lots of gas and an open butterfly to get the revs up fast. As soon as the revs start to climb downshift. It's a timing thing. Different cars Rev at different rates. You'll learn the rhythm with practice. Use your ears. Learn the sound of the right revs to match, and the right timing.

It takes tons of practice. There is no magic. It took several years on the race track to do it well in all situations. What made the most difference, though, was having a stick shift street car, and just doing tons and tons of up and down shifts. I drive down the road constantly changing gears 2-3-4-3-2,3-4-2....etc. The goal is to make every shift seemless with no surge....in all conditions...mid corner, highway speeds, 20mph, wet, dry, etc. Blipping on the street smoothly at slow speed is way harder than while threshold braking into T1. When you can blip with your wife in the car while she's drinking a glass of water... Shifting in a race is a walk in the park. Fwiw, I can clutchless heal-toe a street car... Not really all that hard, but it's an ear and timing thing.

When I first started, everything had to be perfect... Pedals just right, the right shoes, good track conditions, think each shift through, etc. Now, tennis shoes, dress shoes, boots, bare foot... random pedals in random cars, wet streets, downshift because someone cut me off...whatever. It's all instinct now.

The mx5 is always a good car to learn on. Everything happens a bit slower, which gives you more time to react and learn. The real trick is to learn to keep constant pressure on the brake while Blipping. But, you need telemetry for that... And more practice.

Downshifting is rarely about speed of changing gears. Downshifting is about timing and smoothness to avoid upsetting the car. The important thing is to be in the right gear when you get back to the throttle. But, while you are braking it doesn't matter how fast you downshift. Just be smooth. I'm very deliberate on track with downshift. Be patient and smooth. Let the engine revs fall lower than you think you should before downshifting.

Upshifts are all about speed, not downshifts.

pedal box videos with audio are required along with this explanation, just because well executed heel toeing looks super cool

off to go check out some YouTube videos ;)
 
Great advice. Thank you. Below are my adjusted pedals. I am going to try them like this first however I think the throttle may need to move forward.

View attachment 453083

I'd move the clutch pedal left one column of screws. Here's my actual racecar configuration (while I was still building it...hence the wires) with Fanatec overlaid. The space between the clutch/brake isn't critical. Mostly you want enough separation to avoid accidental braking when you depress the clutch. That space below is 2.25".

pedals.png


Second, unless you have ZERO brake travel, it looks to me like your brake pedal will extend past your throttle when at full-pressure (see the red line in the sketch below). Ideally, you want the throttle to be around the "green line" if the brake is at the "red line" when at threshold pressure (adjust as needed for reality). As noted above the separation between the red and green lines should be about 1/2" or so...just before lockup. Don't be afraid to add some spacers between the brake pedal surface and the brake arm, as needed, to get the right pedal alignment at threshold. Real car pedals are not in the same plane, at rest. My brake pedal is ~2" closer to me than the throttle, when I'm not pushing on it.

You may find that the curve of that throttle pad is tricky to hit with the outside of your foot. I'd prefer something flatter, so that any portion of the pad results in the same reach and throw. If you don't hit the same spot with your foot every time it will significantly change the effective pedal height, and throw.

brake-throttle.png
 
pedal box videos with audio are required along with this explanation, just because well executed heel toeing looks super cool

off to go check out some YouTube videos ;)

Checkout "The Fast and the Furious" for footage of the rarely used heal-toe UPshifts. lol. Drives me nuts.
 
I have the V3s. I would advise keeping the big metal plate on the throttle, that extension toward the base on its left side makes things much easier; although it is well below the pivot point, hitting that with your heel works great. I've not shifted the plates on either the brake or clutch sideways but I do have them at their highest extension. - I have big feet! Using the small plastic pad on the throttle pedal will make things more difficult - it is dead easy with the big plate.
 
I'd move the clutch pedal left one column of screws. Here's my actual racecar configuration (while I was still building it...hence the wires) with Fanatec overlaid. The space between the clutch/brake isn't critical. Mostly you want enough separation to avoid accidental braking when you depress the clutch. That space below is 2.25".

View attachment 453084

Second, unless you have ZERO brake travel, it looks to me like your brake pedal will extend past your throttle when at full-pressure (see the red line in the sketch below). Ideally, you want the throttle to be around the "green line" if the brake is at the "red line" when at threshold pressure (adjust as needed for reality). As noted above the separation between the red and green lines should be about 1/2" or so...just before lockup. Don't be afraid to add some spacers between the brake pedal surface and the brake arm, as needed, to get the right pedal alignment at threshold. Real car pedals are not in the same plane, at rest. My brake pedal is ~2" closer to me than the throttle, when I'm not pushing on it.

You may find that the curve of that throttle pad is tricky to hit with the outside of your foot. I'd prefer something flatter, so that any portion of the pad results in the same reach and throw. If you don't hit the same spot with your foot every time it will significantly change the effective pedal height, and throw.

View attachment 453094
Thanks for the diagrams Tom. I tried the setup as-is and I can relate to what you are recommending. I will definitely be tweaking the positions of my pedals before I focus on improving heed-and-toe lap times.
 
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