Left foot braking

Most initial attempts at left foot braking scare most drivers into never trying it again. Your left foot is used to fairly robust uncontrolled stabs up and down on the clutch. Braking needs a little more delicacy.

Learning process

At first try to use the left foot on the brake on medium-fast straight roads (with no traffic). You find you’ll brake a bit harshly (which is fine). But you’ll find you forget to release your foot off the brake, so the brake pressure continues and the car decelerates even more.
The first trick is to train your foot to lift off gently to release the braking pressure. Why you do this I don’t know, I’ve taught a few people to left foot brake and they do the same thing every time. I’d have thought with the left used to controlling the release of pressure of the clutch it would be good at this, but not so.
From there build up the initial pressure to train your foot to press down in a controlled manner, while still also controlling the lift off. Now try this into faster corners where no gear change is needed. Next we go off to a (empty) car park, try bringing the car to a total halt from low speed, you’ll now find this Keep on pressing reflex is more noticeable. When you normally (Right foot) brake a car to halt, unconsciously you release braking pressure as the car comes to a halt, to the point where just as the car stops you’ve release almost al the pressure. With this lack of subconscious control in your left foot the car stops abruptly usually by nose diving and smashing your face into the steering wheel… again repeated practice releasing the pressure with the left foot before stopping give the foot the control it needs for more complex manoeuvres. Now you should be able to vary the pressure on braking and lifting,

NOTE: Always try this away from other traffic, as sometimes you forget which pedal to push, with rear ending consequences…

To make use of the left foot braking you need also to control the throttle at the same time, again on a faster empty straight road slip the car into neutral left foot brake and blip the throttle repeatedly to get the feel. Once comfortable, try applying pressure to the throttle while left foot braking, to feel the effect. From here the world of left foot braking is literally at your feet.


Places Area to gain.

Non gear change corners:

Left foot brake in all the way to the apex and your right foot can immediately get back on the throttle. This cut the delay in getting on the power.

Slower corners:
Big gains in late are available as with your left foot already over the brake, you can go from power to braking immediately.

Medium speed corners:
With most road cars the improved handling response with a little drag on the brakes make corner entry faster and more accurate. Pressing lightly on the brake with or with out the power on improves the poise of the car.

Fast corners:
With softly sprung road cars in fast bends, going from braking to accelerating upsets the car, You can balance the car by using both the throttle and brake together. On the way in apply the brakes and keep the throttle down, release the throttle more and apply more brakes to slow and balance the car, never lift of the throttle completely, then accelerate at the apex keeping some brake on only releasing them completely when the car is balanced again.

Ultra fast corners:
A dab on the brakes keeps the engine pulling and is better than a lift off the throttle (particularly if your running carbs).

Gear change corners:
Left foot brake in all the way to the apex and blip right foot to change gear (only works in higher gears, 3rd to 2nd is more tricky) and get back on the throttle.

Unknown corners, corrections and emergencies
When in rally mode charging around unfamiliar corners a left poised over the brake can either allow for a dab on the brakes to improve turn in, shed speed or come to a big stop when things have gone badly wrong.
There’s no doubt that left foot braking is better in emergencies if the foot is already covering the brakes, a heavy tug on the gearlever puts you into neutral while the left foot is already braking

Up someone’s rear:
Keep the left foot covering the brake, in case of emergencies. When preparing to overtake press the throttle and balance the speed on the brake, when going to pull out release the brake and press the throttle all the way down

Someone’s up your rear:
Dab your left foot on the brake just enough to light up the brake lights, great fun, especially under heavy acceleration really confuses them.