Let Randy Pobst Show You How to Heel and Toe and More

It’s pretty obvious that if you want to have fun on a track, you need to drive a manual. Having three pedals and a proper clutch that allows you to keep control of your car can offer you one of the best feelings you can have behind the wheel, but you need to know what you are doing.
Randy Pobst explaining heel and toe 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Of course, there’s also the alternative, using an automatic gearbox to do the work for you. Modern gearboxes are even better at shifting than professional race car drivers, and they will get you a better lap time, but they are far less rewarding and engaging.

Randy Pobst put together a quick guide on how to properly shift, and his tips can be used on and off the track, so you’d better pay attention if you own a manual car.


Upshifting is easy to do; you just need to depress the clutch and shift into a higher gear, the engine rotational speed changing on its own accordingly. It’s the easiest thing you can do behind the wheel and sometimes you don’t even have to go through the gears in sequence.

For example, if you’re going to rev the engine up to its redline in second gear, you don’t necessarily have to shift into third afterwards, but you can go into fourth of even fifth if you wish so. That won’t be efficient on the track, but it can come in handy on the road. It's just a rare occurrence, though.


When downshifting, you need to watch the revs of your engine. When you go from a higher gear to a lower one, you have to adjust the rotational speed of the engine to the gearbox. Therefore, you’ll need to rev match to avoid sending a nasty shock into the transmission and set your car out of balance.

To do so, you need to follow these steps: depress the clutch, shift into a lower gear, blip the throttle to raise the revs of the engine and declutch. It’s rather easy, and you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Of course, it will take a couple of tries.

It’s also important to note that changing gear, be it upwards or downwards, needs to be done before or after the corner, to avoid altering the balance of your car. Modern cars even come with an automatic rev matching feature on manual gearboxes that raises the revs of your engine to the needed level on its own. We saw that on the new MINI Cooper most recently, and it worked flawlessly.

Heel and toe

Heel and toe is also a form of rev matching. Using this technique allows you to be more aggressive on the track and brake later before going into a corner. It will allow you to use the brakes and revmatch at the same time.

To do so, you’ll probably think that you need three legs, but it’s not the case. What you’ll be doing is use the right foot to operate both the brake and the acceleration pedal.

It should be noted (even though Randy forgot to mention it) that not all cars will allow you to do this and also that you’ll have to press the brake pedal pretty hard to be able to reach the gas pedal too with your right foot. Some cars simply have a bad setup for the three pedals, placing them too far apart for you to reach the brake and gas with your foot. That’s a rare occurrence, though.

Heel and toe then requires, as said above, using all three pedals with your only two feet. That means you’ll be using your left foot to depress the clutch and your right to brake and blip the throttle to revmatch. It sounds easy, but you’ll need a very flexible ankle. You’ll see how it’s done in the video below, thanks to Randy. Check it out!

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories