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    How to Shift the right way for road and track.

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    Yellow4
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    How to Shift the right way for road and track.

    Post  Yellow4 on Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:36 pm

    Bad habits when shifting...
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    Yellow4
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    * How to Shift the right way for road and track.

    Post  Yellow4 on Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:37 pm

    You may think shifting is a no-brainer function, but in a sport where
    the difference of winning may be 1/100th of a second, every detail
    counts. In this discussion we point out how to acheive smooth, quick
    shifts that are easy on the hardware. We're assuming the use of a
    typical H-box shifter in a street car for this.

    Many people fall
    into two bad habits on the street when shifting. First, Hollywood has
    taught everyone that it looks cool to always leave your right hand on
    the shift knob. Wrong! You may as well tie your hand behind your back as
    leave it on the shift knob. Your hand belongs on the steering
    wheel--always. When you need to shift--shift, and get your hand back on
    the wheel. Don't even rest it on the shifter for a few seconds a head of
    time to "get ready." Every time your hand leaves the steering wheel
    you've given up 50% of the tactile feedback you have from your hands,
    and 50% of your capability to control the car. If you're racing with
    other cars around you, you never know when you may get tapped. Even when
    racing alone, mechanical failure may cause handling trouble. You'll
    want both hands on the wheel when that happens.

    The second bad
    habit some people have is shifting with excessive force. Too tight a
    grip, and slamming from one gear to another will actually slow your
    shifting down, and cause excessive mechanical wear. Proper shifting uses
    an open palm grip on the top of the shift knob, and a gentle but fast
    guide from one gear to another. We repeat---all shifting is properly
    done with the hand open and cupped over the top of the knob, not wrapped
    around it like a fighter plane control stick.

    To shift from the
    top of the H to the bottom, start by forming a cup with your palm and
    fingers. Place the palm of the hand over the top of the shift knob.
    Using the underside of your fingers and your palm against the knob, use a
    smooth straight-line motion to guide the lever to the next gear.
    Assuming the shift lever has a fairly short travel, the action involves
    your wrist for the majority of the movement. Do not attempt to slam it
    or force it faster than it wants to go. If you are locking your wrist
    and moving your whole arm at the shoulder, you are using too much force.

    To
    shift from the bottom of the H to the top, again start by forming a cup
    with your palm and fingers. This time when you place the hand over the
    shift knob, the emphasis of contact is on the heel of the palm. Start
    with the wrist slightly bent up. Push the lever using the palm heel in a
    straight line using your wrist to extend the position of the palm heel
    while following through with a gentle push of the arm. This shift is
    more arm motion than wrist.

    When shifting across the H such as
    between 2nd and 3rd gears, do not try to make a conscious jog in your
    hand movements. The linkage needs very little input to make the diagonal
    path across neutral. Your shift should almost look like a straight
    diagonal line. Making a distinctive zig zag through neutral is
    strong-arming the shifter and will slow the shift down.

    Using
    smooth, soft control of the lever does not imply doing it slowly. A
    gentle force of the lever will allow the shift linkage to move freely
    through its natural motions. If you strong-arm the motion you will end
    up forcing the linkage through lines that have more resistance. This
    will slow the shifting down. Use as much wrist movement as possible in
    place of moving the whole arm.

    Some of you may be tempted to
    learn the techniques of "speed shifting"--shifting without using the
    clutch--in the interest of saving time. Many schools and professional
    racers have shown over and over that there is no speed or lap time
    advantage to this, and it carries a much higher risk of gear box damage.



    Shifting
    from the top of the box to the bottom, form an open cup with your hand,
    and place over the shift knob with the inside of your fingers and the
    palm of your hand making contact. Guide the lever quickly, but without
    strong-arming it. Push it, but don't slam it. The movement is primarily
    from the wrist. If you're locking your wrist around the shifter like a
    fighter-plane control stick, you will actually be slowing your shift
    down.

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