The merits of heel-and-toe vs. clutchless shifting on snow


Heel-and toe shifting is a pretty cool trick that you can pull out to try to impress your car guy buddies on the street. If you get it right, maybe they'll be impressed. If that passenger is your wife, boss, any other non-car person, odds are they won't even know what you are talking about, and they'll tell you to just drive and shut up about your supposed skill.

But heel-and-toe has real-world benefits, and they are evident during performance driving. You know when it's more effective? When the surface is snow or ice.

In this video, Wyatt Knox from Team O'Neil Rally School not only shows us the benefits of heel-and-toe on ice and snow, but he also compares it to clutchless shifting, which is another automotive art that will be certain not to impress your wife.

CHECK OUT: How to heel and toe and also why you should be doing it

Heel-and-toe is especially effective on a slippery surface because downshifting in that situation without rev matching can lock the tires up and cause a skid that you wouldn't normally get on tarmac.

The problem with heel-and-toe is training your right foot to do two jobs and do them well. It has to apply the right amount of brake pressure for the road surface and speed you are traveling and blip the throttle to raise the engine rpm just the right number of revs to match the next gear selection.

ALSO SEE: Fast camp: Take me to Porsches on ice

The other option is to downshift without using the clutch. To do this, you shift to neutral, blip the throttle, apply a bit of pressure on the gearshift in the direction of the gear you want, and just wait for the revs to match and the shifter to move into place.

This method eliminates the heel-and-toe method's fancy footwork and has the same end result of not upsetting the balance of the car.

Wyatt seems to like both methods, but says that clutchless downshifting is easier.

Now go work on both methods and try to impress your significant other with what you've learned. Bet you can't.

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