Team O’Neil Shows You How to Shift Without a Clutch

Rally instructor Wyatt Knox explains the dark art of clutchless shifting, plus a refresher on how to heel-toe shift.

byChristian Gilbertsen|
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One of the perks of having a car equipped with a manual transmission is the inherent joy of rowing up and down the gears while giving your otherwise static left leg some exercise. Sure, shifting in normal driving situations is fun and all, but what if you want to crank things up a bit and try some performance shifting to match your performance driving? Luckily Team O'Neil Rally School has just the thing for you—a tutorial on how to heel-toe shift and an explainer on how to shift without the help of a clutch.

Wyatt Knox, a rally instructor at Team O'Neil Rally School starts off instructional video by explaining that in performance driving, downshifting without using the heel-toe technique or clutchless shifting (with blips) can sometimes become problematic, due to the car's weight getting unsettled. Mismatched road and gearbox speeds can spell disaster, too, with the car's driving wheels potentially locking up. Knox shows how to do this, by gently rolling his right foot partially depressed on the brake pedal over to the accelerator—while the clutch has been engaged— giving it a blip while downshifting, and then releasing the clutch with his left foot. All it takes is practice and you'll be a shifting god in no time.

As for clutchless shifting, a method that's a little riskier for the health of your gearbox, Knox explains that all you need to do is gently yet quickly—before the revs fall—place the shifter into neutral, and if you're upshifting, just slot it in to the next gear. Sounds simple, right? Before you go crunching gears, though, remember it's a delicate exercise—you're doing something wrong if you're forcing your gear selector into gear. 

As for downshifting, it's the same procedure as heel-toe, but without the clutch. Again, glide the selector first into neutral, blip the throttle so your engine speed will match the road speed, and slot it into the lower gear. Be gentle; transmissions aren't cheap.

Before you go trying it on your own, though, see Team O'Neil Rally School's tutorial first, below:

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