MCarp22 Reader
Feb. 9, 2011 11:21 p.m.

Braved the cold for another trackday this weekend:


Meotter was brave and underpowered as usual. I'm still on the meh Fuzion ZRis and Raceland coilovers. I was hoping to have my Bilsteins installed, but that wasn't meant to be I guess.

I was instructing this time, and I had a bit of a problem with my student. Older gentleman in a G35 sedan:

Great car, lots of tire, good pads and fluid, the VQ stock is very strong and sweet sounding. Heated leather was nice since it was 34 degrees out. We were getting the lines down ok, and by the end of the day he was doing pretty well. My biggest problem was, well, he couldn't operate a manual gearbox properly for track use. I couldn't get a rev-match downshift out of him, in spite of explaining the how and why, and showing him for a few laps in the Miata. Lap after lap we'd essentally coast down into turn 1 in 5th gear, finish braking, then clutch in , jam the shifter in 2nd, clutch out, driveline shudder. How the heck do you help someone with that? I didn't want to see him hurt the car. At the end of the day, i suggested on the street he practice switching to a lower gear without changing the speed of the car. Any advice would be appreciated.

Raze Dork
Feb. 10, 2011 6:18 a.m.

If I can figure out how to do it well in a 3.0 Ranger with the crappiest manual gearbox known to man, he should have had it licked in a lap...

ransom New Reader
Feb. 10, 2011 8:38 a.m.

Do you have any notion of the crux of the problem? Was he not understanding, or did he understand what you were asking but just couldn't or wouldn't do it?

Were you just going for early braking followed by rev-matched downshift, or heel-toe braking? If the latter, did you have the opportunity to try it in the G35 to see whether there was an issue with pedal spacing or something?

It might be easier to figure out an alternative explanation for the student if we knew how you'd tried to explain it. I figure in all likelihood you gave a perfectly adequate explanation, but sometimes it's easier to figure out looking back at an explanation how someone could have escaped understanding it :)

I have a friend who didn't drive when I met him, but started a couple of years later. He understood what I was saying about downshifting before corners (not track, just normal street driving), but was just ornery, and insisted on just depressing the clutch and coasting through most corners, and engaging the next lower gear as he pulled away. Nothing you've said suggests that your student was this type of problematic, but I thought I'd mention it... Some people are really resistant to change once they get a technique in their head.

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