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Well, this is another question that can be immediately answered during a test drive, but what the hell, why not ask some of the first owners... my test drive is probably a few weeks away.

I know that the left-right distance between the accelerator and brake is set up for heal-toe very nicely. But what about the relative up/down distance of the two pedals? For example, in my M3, I don't have to fully depress the brake to make it level with the accelerator -- this I like. But a few weeks ago, I drove a friend's 911 40th Anniv Edition, and the pedal spacing was such I could only comfortable heal-toe if the brake was pushed to the absolute floor. Good for driving at 10/10ths I guess, but not really apropriate for street heal-toeing.

So where does the Elise's brake pedal fall? I don't know if this has any bearing, but when I heal-toe, I don't pivot the bottom of my foot from one pedal to the other (which seems to be the more popular method). Instead I stradle both pedals and roll the right half of my foot on to the accelerator, while the left half continues to brake..
 

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ok, granted, I havent driven th car, but I did practice the heel/toe on the car an hr ago. From what I could tell, the spacing and up/down distance was set up nicely for heel/toe. The brake pedal was firm(but engine wasnt started) and about 1/2-1 inch down on brake and you can get the gas pedal fairly easily. I think it will be easier to do this in this car than my previous M3 and I have a Jetta also which is almost impossible to heel/toe well.
 

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I sat in an Elise on Thursday at Valenti and although I didn't drive it, I practiced heel and toe within the car. At the point of threshold breaking, the brake pedal was 2 inches too deep to allow the driver to adequately depress the throttle without over revving. There certainly needs to be an adjustment on the brake pedal to allow the driver to bring the pedal back in order to facilitate proper heel and toe at threshold.
 

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With your post in mind, I paid attention today to pedal travel. With throttle pedal in neutral position. Brakes all the way down is certainly no more than an inch (probably closer to 1/2" or 3/4"). I find heel and toe to be very easy

Chris
 

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Chris have you tried to heel-toe in a "track situation" where you are really hard on the brakes?

On my Exige - the brake pedal dropped to low to heel-toe easily. I had to "build-up" the pedal, but now it's fine.
 

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I found the Elise pedal positioning was just OK. My BMWs had the best pedal spacing. My 993 was not great but I eventually got the hang of it ( lotso ankle twisting).

I think the Elise will take some getting used to and then it'll become 2nd nature...
 

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The pedal travel doesn't seem to better on the older cars, according to meat's post. It seemed that pedals are spaced perfectly for downshifts, if it were not for the pedal travel. Not sure of the best way to blip the throttle when your foot is below the throttle, but I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Meat,
How did you build up the pedal? Have a picture? Thanks.
 

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Ok, so I got to drive the car today and I still feel my previous post was correct. I never felt that I was "using" the brakes when my foot was in the right position (for me anyway) to perform heal and toe. I really want to bring the brake pedal 2 inches closer to me. I full admit this is my personl preference and other dirvers my find the pedal perfect for them.
 

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I cut a piece of aluminum the size of the brake pedal and about 3/8" in width. I then bolted this (countersunk) straight to the brake pedal. Worked like a charm.
 

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Dunno about the Elise, but on M3s you can slightly adjust brake pedal height at the threaded rod that lives between the brake pedal arm and the master cylinder. This also affects the intitial braking action - travel before braking action starts. So this must be done iteratively and with care.

Stan
 

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Is it possible that there is a significant variation between cars? I drove the same car that Vangman did (the Valenti demo) and concur completely with his assesment. Brake was WAY too low at threshold for H/T. My foot was probably 2" below the throttle, and its not like I was mashing the brakes either. The cars are hand-built. Maybe there is an inch, two inch, variation in brake pedal depth between cars?

Steve
 

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>>>Is it possible that there is a significant variation between cars? I drove the same car that Vangman did (the Valenti demo) and concur completely with his assesment. Brake was WAY too low at threshold for H/T. My foot was probably 2" below the throttle, and its not like I was mashing the brakes either. The cars are hand-built. Maybe there is an inch, two inch, variation in
brake pedal depth between cars?<<<

I too drove the Valenti demo (4:30 yesterday) and noted that the first bit of brake pedal travel seemed soft or spongey. Seems like it could be adjusted / bled away. And the car only had 54 miles at the time if memory serves. I loved the small steering wheel. Engine sounded great, 4000 Rs max. Clutch take up a bit high off the floor - a clutch stop might help here. I like the clutch to start engaging just off of the fully-down position. When you are used to this it speeds things up, but others will tend to stall the car if you let them drive it. The car felt much more like my Europa than any other modern car. So light and nimble, surprisingly good ride too.



Stan
 

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JonM3Coupe said:

So where does the Elise's brake pedal fall? I don't know if this has any bearing, but when I heal-toe, I don't pivot the bottom of my foot from one pedal to the other (which seems to be the more popular method). Instead I stradle both pedals and roll the right half of my foot on to the accelerator, while the left half continues to brake..
Jon --

This may be your problem. This method works well on BMW's and a few other types of cars, but like you allude to is not the real way heel-and-toe shifting is done.

Here is a bit of advice I received from a very experienced instructor who heads up one of the better California DE groups, responding to my complaint about non-BMW-like pedal positioning on a Z06 I test drove a while back:

> The solution is very simple. In fact, this is something I include in
> my chalk-talk at [deleted for privacy] events. The problem is that when you twist
> your heel, it's at the bottom of the gas pedal, making it very
> difficult to depress. That's because you, like the vast majority of
> people, brake with the ball of your foot. This means that your heel
> is the entire length of your foot away from the brake pedal, which is
> too long. The solution is to brake with the middle of your foot, just
> below the ball. You still have perfect braking control, but when you
> twist your ankle to heel-toe, your heel is only half of your foot
> length away from the brake pedal, which puts
> it squarely in the middle of the gas pedal, making the blip a piece of
> cake.
> Experience drivers like you guys who have had difficulty heel-toeing in
> various cars have tried this and have said it was like night and day.
>
> Try it and let me know what you think.
I did, and it really was like night and day. When I actually use the heel-and-toe method in other cars besides my M3 (which is almost not possible in a 3'er BMW whose pedals are so close together) I find I have much more control on throttle blipping and it's easier to modulate the brake as well.

I would guess you may need to adjust to a different type of heel-toe shifting in the Elise, but I think you'll find the transition worth it. I now switch back and forth between the two methods when switching cars without thinking about it. They both seem very natural.

Best,
John
 

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BTW in the pedal PICs I posted above, does it appear that the lateral position of the actual pedal pad is different? Is that pad adjustable? The arms themselves are extrusions so the pad is separately attached to them. Just a thought.

Stan
 

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Hmm. I'm not sure I get the the description above. When you are correctly heel and toeing I take it you are supposed to put your heel on the accelerator, and the ball of your big toe (more or less) on the brake.

I guess because of the size of my feet (12) I've learnt to drive with my heel more of less under the bake while my toes are on the accelerator. From that position I learnt to "Heel and Toe" by putting the ball of my big toe on the brake and using my little toes (hanging off the right side of the brake) to blip the throttle. Obviously, in this position my foot is pointing about 45 degrees outward rather than inward.

Because I have my toes on the accelerator I find I have good fine control, and at least on moderate braking I have no problem pressing hard enough on the brake.

Can I continue with this technique, or do I really need to change to the correct way?
 

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I think it depends on the car. I kind of ignore the heel-and-toe name as far as it describing what I do down there. I just consider it to be a one-foot-on-two-pedals concept.

On some cars with suitable shoes I can depress the brakes properly and safely with the LHS of my right foot while engaging the gas pedal with the RHS of the same foot. Heel and heel?

On the M3 I simply apply my foot to the brake with the toes pointing to about 10:00. That way the rear half of my foot is at 4:00 and can contact the gas pedal properly. On this car I had added a wider gas pedal and brake pedal to aid downshifting until I started placing my foot on the brake pedal as described. At that point I yanked off the pedal extensions as they were no longer needed. Had to set the brake pedal rod length to suit though. Ball and heel?

On the M3 I try to left foot brake if the turn does not appear to require a downshift. And if one seems to be indicated, I decide this in advance and then apply the right foot to the brake pedal in that 10:00 position so that I can downshift if needed.

You can practice this stuff in normal street driving, you don't have to be going all out. Left foot braking is tougher to learn than "heel-toe" for most folks. For many of us the left foot has the subtley of a club compared to the right foot as far as brake application goes. Since many of of just slam down the clutch pedal most of the time.

Stan
 

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I also prefer the clutch engagement closer to when the clutch pedal is just off the floor. Another item gone awry from the Euro version. ;)

Left foot braking is definitely something that takes practice to perform in a road car (for me at least), in terms of modulation. The gains made in reduced weight transfer are worth it though. I wonder if it is a comfortable action in the Elise.
 

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Instead of adjusting the brake pedal (not always a good idea), try adjusting the throttle cable to move the throttles position. Don't forget to adjust the "pedal stop" on the bottom of the throttle pedal to make sure that you get full throttle pedal travel - but barely (you don't want to stretch and/or break the cable).

I did this little task many years ago on my Elan, and it worked wonderful ever after...

Tim Mullen
 
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