Rev Matching the Step to Learning Heel and Toe Shifting

By: David Smith

If you haven't heard the term 'rev matching' before here's a brief summary of what it is and why it's useful when driving.




Essentially, it's a technique used in manual transmission vehicles to smooth downshifts and is the first step towards learning 'heel and toe shifting'. But why are smooth shifts important I hear you ask! Well, on the road smooth gear changes will make the journey more comfortable and reduce wear on the drivetrain, and on the track they will make you a faster driver.




In the most extreme cases, failing to rev match when changing down can actually cause the driven wheels to lock momentarily due to the action of engine braking. You'll only ever experience this if you're really going for it on the track, but not matching the revs will cause unnecessary weight transfers in almost all cases which can upset the balance of the car and lead to passenger discomfort. Rev matching is almost always associated with corners, as you'll usually need to slow down and select a lower gear on the approach before turning in.




To experience an demonstration of why rev matching is important, try changing down and release the clutch more quickly than you would normally - you'll find this causes forward weight transfer and a jerky gear change. When driving fast on the track this will become even more exaggerated if rev matching isn't used.




So, how do you do it?




  • As you're approaching the corner (or any other reason to slow down) brake to a suitable speed which will allow you to turn in safely.



  • Come off the brake and prepare to change down.



  • Press the clutch in, and select a gear which will allow you to accelerate out of the bend.



  • Before bringing the clutch out, increase the revs to a point which will allow you to release the clutch smoothly without resulting in any engine braking.




  • Release the clutch.




    Sounds easy, but determining how much to increase the engine speed before releasing the clutch will take practise, but eventually will become instinct. There's no hard and fast rules, but any increase in revs will be better then none.




    Click here for more information on rev matching, and other smooth driving tips




    Click here for a step by step guide to heel and toe shifting - the next step towards good down shifts


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