Left-foot braking. It's a tool performance drivers can add to their skill sets, but does it really make a difference?
The folks at Team O'Neil Rally School have made a video to answer that question, at least when it comes to rally driving.
To find out if right- or left-foot braking is better when the surface turns snowy and icy, our fearless instructor Wyatt Knox hops in a Subaru Impreza and runs a couple of timed laps around the Team O'Neil training course using right-foot, then left-foot braking.
In his first run, Wyatt brakes like most of us mortals, with his right foot. He gets around the course much quicker than we would, though, and lays down a very good lap time.
In his next run, he uses left-foot braking. The advantage here is that he can stay on the throttle with his right foot and use his left foot to as his says "micro-manage" the weight transfer and speed. He notes in one stretch where he crests a hill that the car is more stable thanks to left-foot braking even though he keeps the throttle pinned.
In the end, Wyatt is quicker using left-foot braking and he was able to carry more speed with more control.
Of course, it won't be all that easy for newbies. Watching the pedal dance that Wyatt does with his feet will make you feel like you're witnessing Neil Peart rap out "Tom Sawyer" on the drums. The coordination he shows can only be learned with time and practice, but as we see here, it pays off.
The video not only shows you the advantages of left-foot braking, but it also shows some of the instruction that you are likely to get if you attend the Team O'Neil Rally School. We learn about the importance of getting the weight over the front wheels to improve steering, the racing line on ice and snow (which is just like it is on tarmac), and the use of brakes for the weight transfer needed for rotation.
Even if you don't want to learn the finer points of left-foot braking, watch this video. You'll likely learn something about driving on snow and ice that you can use to improve your skills.