In the world of racing, every second counts and drivers are always looking for ways to improve their lap times and gain an edge over their competitors.
One technique that can help drivers go faster around the track is double clutching.
It’s a term often used in racing, but what does it actually mean and how does it help?
What is Double Clutching?
Double clutching is a driving technique that involves disengaging the clutch twice, rather than once, during the process of shifting gears.
When you change gears in a manual car, you normally do so by pressing the clutch pedal down, shifting the gear lever to the desired gear, and then releasing the clutch pedal.
The clutch is what connects the engine to the transmission, allowing you to engage or disengage the engine’s power from the wheels. When you press the clutch pedal down, the clutch disengages the engine from the transmission, allowing you to change gears.
With double clutching, the driver first presses the clutch pedal down and shifts the gearbox into neutral. Then, the clutch pedal is released, and the engine is revved up to match the RPMs of the next gear. Then, the clutch pedal is pressed again, and the car is shifted into the next gear. This is a technique that’s commonly used when downshifting or shifting into a lower gear.
How Does Double Clutching Work?
The purpose of double clutching is to smooth out the transition between gears and reduce wear and tear on the transmission.
When you shift gears in a manual transmission car, the transmission’s synchronisers match the speed of the next gear to the speed of the current gear.
However, if the speed difference between the two gears is too great, the synchronisers can’t match the speed fast enough, causing the gears to grind against each other.
Cue groans of, “If you can’t find it, grind it.”
This can cause damage to the transmission, but importantly when racing, can result in a rough and jerky shift.
By double clutching, the driver disengages the engine from the transmission twice, allowing the engine speed to match the speed of the next gear before engaging it.
This reduces the speed difference between the gears, making it easier for the synchronisers to match the speeds and creating a smoother and more controlled shift.
Benefits of Double Clutching
The primary benefit of double clutching is a more controlled shift, as well as reducing wear and tear on the transmission. Double clutching can also help to prevent transmission damage and prolong the life of the gearbox.
But how does double clutching help drivers go faster around the track?
The answer lies in the improved control and stability that double clutching provides. When shifting gears, particularly when downshifting, the sudden change in engine speed can cause the car to become unstable and lose traction. This can result in a loss of control, particularly in high-speed turns. By double clutching, the driver can maintain a smoother and more consistent engine speed, improving the car’s stability and reducing the risk of loss of control.
It can also help drivers maintain momentum through turns.
When downshifting without double clutching, the sudden change in engine speed can cause the car to slow down, reducing its momentum and making it more difficult to accelerate out of the turn. By double clutching, the driver can maintain a smoother and more consistent engine speed, allowing the car to maintain its momentum and accelerate more quickly out of the turn.
Finally, double clutching can help drivers reduce their lap times by improving the car’s overall performance. By reducing the strain on the transmission and improving the car’s stability and momentum, double clutching can help the car accelerate more quickly and handle more effectively, resulting in faster lap times and better performance on the track.
So, to channel your inner Max Verstappen, here’s how you can double clutch.
Remember, it’s usually used when downshifting or shifting into a lower gear.
- Press the clutch pedal down and shift the gearbox into neutral.
- Release the clutch pedal and rev up the engine to match the RPMs of the next gear.
- Press the clutch pedal down again and shift the car into the next gear.
- Release the clutch pedal again to engage the engine with the new gear.
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