Is there something missing here? No. This is why.

J.A.
By J.A. Ackley
Mar 10, 2023 | Lexus, IMSA, Townsend Bell

Why is the clutch pedal so abnormally thin on the Lexus GT3 car in IMSA? Because they wanted the widest brake pedal possible.

That’s something I introduced when I came to the team,” Lexus brand ambassador and former Vasser Sullivan Racing driver Townsend Bell says. “[It’s] because I wanted the fattest brake pedal face. We couldn’t move the pedal arms. So, let’s make the clutch face as thin as possible–nonexistent, basically.”

[What you may not know about the Lexus GT3 program in IMSA]

Let’s not forget that the Rolex 24 at Daytona doesn’t only fatigue the cars, but also the drivers. Combine that with the unique attributes of the track, and Townsend sought a way to make the cockpit of the Lexus easier on its pilots.

I’m a little particular, and the mechanics will tell you that,” says Townsend. “I left-foot brake. I wanted to make sure that I got my left leg and left foot directly in line with the brake pedal contact face as much as possible. Brake pressure is required to slow a GT3 car–it’s pretty heavy, you’re using ABS as well. Your left lower lumbar does a lot, too.

At Daytona, because of the banking, your knees are constantly laterally lean. So, your left lower lumbar muscle goes through quite a bit of strain. So, anything you can do to help the ergonomics to release that load on your lower back gives you physically an advantage.”

Four years since Townsend first sat in a Lexus in 2019, they continue to use the pedal arrangement he helped develop.

There was a little resistance from other drivers at the time, namely Jack [Hawksworth, who still drives for Vasser Sullivan], but if you ask Jack, he probably loves it now,” Townsend says. “I’ve driven just about every GT3 car manufacturer, and this is by far the most comfortable. This is ergonomically amazing.”

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Comments
calteg
calteg SuperDork
3/10/23 12:44 p.m.

That's super interesting. Are they not allowed to use a small amount of rubber for grip? Or does it all come from the driver's racing shoes? I feel like I'd want a small rubber strip on the clutch pedal, without making it any wider

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
3/10/23 12:48 p.m.

In reply to calteg :

The only time they use that pedal is leaving the pits. The little button head screws provide more than enough grip.

matthewmcl
matthewmcl Dork
3/10/23 12:50 p.m.

I guess the clutch just doesn't take much effort, which is to be expected. I would have thought leaving the left half of the pedal face would have helped, but if it is not needed and doesn't help, it is just extra weight.

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/10/23 8:56 p.m.

It's not quite that narrow but the clutch pedal in my Formula Ford is the smallest pedal in the car including the dead pedal.  I've thought about swapping the clutch and the dead pedal but I think that might be confusing and I'm not sure I could find it in a spin.

j_tso
j_tso Dork
3/10/23 9:47 p.m.

Left foot brakers and sequential gearboxes are shrinking our clutch pedals!

Similar setup is in WRC cars.

 

Can't find a video of it, but I think it was a Grand Am GT RX-8 that needed the clutch pedal with an EMCO sequential box. The driver still had to heel-toe downshift.

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