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Hard braking on track and heel and toe


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Hi all, had a great day in Pembrey yesterday, but had a bit of a technique problem with one corner in particular.


Down the main straight I was in 5th (6th occasionally if there was no-one behind me and I felt mechanically sympathetic!) before approaching the hairpin, then need to change into 2nd before turning in.


My trouble is, when braking very hard for the hairpin, I'm not feeling confident enough to heel and toe my way down the box. It was ok in my old Megane (being in anything above 4th on track would be very rare - so I only ever needed a couple of shifts, and with servo assisted brakes it was easy), but in the Caterham, it all seems to happen much quicker, and the brake pedal needs a lot more pressure. Ended up staying on the brakes until I got the desired speed and then blipping and shifting to 2nd.


It might just be a case of needing to do more trackdays in it and get more confident with downshifts at that speed.


Anyone had any similar issues? How do you approach hairpin corners after long straights? It is just a case of smoothing out my heel and toe technique?

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personal opinion only, other opinions will be available…


engine breaking helps a little bit when trying to lose speed into a corner, but frankly its not much compared to your foot on the brakes and the limiting factor in stopping is almost alway tyres not brakes and most of the work is done on the fronts not the rears anyway. The main reason for heel'n'toe is to get into the right gear for exiting the corner without unbalancing the car or locking up the rears - this particularly matters in the wet. On an H pattern gearbox, it its unlikely that you'll have the time to heel'n'toe down through all the gears, 6-4-2 is the best I could ever manage but frankly 6-2 is absolutely fine as long as you make that single change smoothly.


If you have a sequential box, things may be sightly different as on some/most you can't go down more than 2 without engaging the clutch so you would have to do 6-4-2





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should add that if you have brake bias control on the car, then there is another variable;

if you either do heel'n'toe everywhere or don't then you would probably run different bias setting - more bias to the front if you do heel'n'toe, less if your don't as in the former case you're getting some of your braking on the rear wheels from the engine so you will want less brake pressure.

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Thanks fc, that's what I was hoping to hear :)


I did try shifting down the whole box, but when braking so hard, it was tough to get the downshifts smooth enough, so ended up not bothering since I felt the shifting was unsettling the car too much.

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*arrowup* *thumbup* The one book I read on driving tell you to concentrate on the braking and don't bother going down through the gears.

Just get that one gear change done at the right time from 6th to 2nd is ok, the one track we race we go from 137 mph down to 50 mph.

Its much more controlled just using just the brakes and easy to out brake someone.


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Thanks for the help guys. I don't have a brake bias valve on my car, but I'm quite happy with the braking balance at the moment. I'll try a couple of movements down the box (6-3-2 ect) but so long as I know that I'm not doing anything inherently wrong by going from 6-2 then that's good to know. I was outbraking other cars quite easily all day!
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