Stanaway outlines Gen3 left-foot braking challenge

Richie Stanaway, who will co-drive with Shane van Gisbergen in the enduros, has explained why left-foot braking is so difficult in a Gen3 Supercar. Picture: MTR Images

Richie Stanaway, who will co-drive with Shane van Gisbergen in the enduros, has explained why left-foot braking is so difficult in a Gen3 Supercar. Picture: MTR Images

Richie Stanaway has explained why left-foot brakers such as himself are struggling with the technique in the new Gen3 Supercars.

The New Zealander will drive with compatriot Shane van Gisbergen in this year’s enduros, and has already partaken in two test days in the #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Chevrolet Camaro.

Boasting multiple race wins in each of the GP2 Series and FIA World Endurance Championship, Stanaway is a habitual left-footer, including during his time thus far in Supercars, but that may well change come September’s Penrite Oil Sandown 500.

“I like the different style [of Gen3],” the 2017 Sandown 500 winner told Speedcafe.

“The only thing that’s a bit of a question mark for me is, there’s a delay with the throttle, which means if you try and left-foot brake, you can’t blip in time to make the downshift.

“So, I may be in a situation where I’m right-foot braking for the first time.”

Right-foot braking is the long-established norm in Supercars, given the nature of the predominantly manual transmission.

While an upshift is typically clutchless, thanks to the automated shift cut, the downshift requires a blip of the throttle in order to match wheel and engine speed.

That ‘heel-and-toe’ is a skill in itself, but left-foot brakers must execute the downshift with more finesse considering they do not have a foot available to engage the clutch, and tend to use more fuel.

Van Gisbergen revealed earlier this year that the left-footers have largely migrated to right-footing, a point affirmed by Truck Assist Racing’s Cameron Hill, and Stanaway could join them, having contemplated the switch multiple times already.

Supercars left-foot braking

van Gisbergen (left) and Stanaway (right)

“They might make an update to the car before the enduros but, if not, I’ll be right-foot braking,” he confirmed.

“But, it’s something I always wanted to actually switch to in a Supercar, regardless.

“Sort of halfway through both my full-time years [2018 and 2019], I was on the fence about swapping or not but never ended up doing it.

“If the cars are set up for guys that are doing it, you know, you get in and try and left-foot brake with no overlap and stuff, it can be a bit of a disadvantage.

“Especially when it comes to managing rear tyre life and rear locking, you get an advantage with right foot braking.

“I’ve set my sim up at home so I’m only right-foot braking on the sim. I don’t have any issues with the feeling of the brake pressure; it’s just purely the rhythm of the heel-toe. That’s obviously a bit new to me.”

The 31-year-old is “pushing” for a pre-enduro wildcard start, which would come in the Peter Adderton/Boost Mobile Camaro currently under construction at Triple Eight Racing Engineering.

Regardless, he is set to undertake at least one more test day with Triple Eight itself before joining van Gisbergen, winner of the Bathurst 1000 for two of the past three years, at Sandown on September 15-17.

WATCH: Russell Ingall explains the heel-and-toe and left-foot braking

Sign up here to receive our daily newsletters and breaking news alerts, sent straight to your inbox.

Join the discussion below in the comments section

Please note: reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]