Learning how to drive a car with manual transmission isn’t all that difficult. A few hours in an empty parking lot, assuming you already know how to drive, is all it takes to master the art of shifting gears on your own. That’s precisely how I learned it way back when.
However, the advance stick-shift technique of heel-toe downshifting is proving to be more troublesome. I’d thought myself so uncoordinated that for the first almost decade of driving a manual, I didn’t even bother learning the technique. It wasn’t until I bought the Mazda MX-5 two years ago that I determined to learn the skill once and for life, to complete the repertoire.
13,000 driven miles later, my heel-toe downshifts are still highly inconsistent.
Perhaps I was over optimistic at the amount of time necessary to learn it well. Also I tend to switch up shoes everyday - with differing sole thickness - which surely throws my foot’s muscle memory for a loop. It certainly isn’t fault of the car, because the pedal set-up, clutch effort, and gearbox feel in the ND Miata is absolutely sublime. There’s hardly a better car on the market to learn heel-toe with, except a rental car with a stick.
The challenge continues, then. I don’t care what sort of extra pain/early death I’m inflicting on the clutch, the goal remains to be able to get into the car wearing any shoe and heel-toe downshift with the same consistency as normal rev-matching without braking.
Wish me luck.