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TL:DR - I always wrote off those silly gas pedal extensions as tools for old guys who couldn't figure out how to heel/toe. That or they were for waxers who wanted to dress up their interior - right after they got done air brushing a mural on the underside of their hood. Once I made one to accommodate my brother in my own car I realized there's an actual verifiable performance advantage on track.
The Corvette engineers did many things right when they scrapped the C4 for the completely redesigned C5 in 1997. One thing they could have considered a little closer was the pedal placement for performance driving. If you've been tracking Corvettes for awhile chances are you just got used to it, learned to heel/toe the best you could, and went on with your life. It's not until someone unfamiliar with the platform hops in for some laps in the car that you really start hearing complaints about the difficulty of executing a proper heel/toe downshift. My brother Kevin had a BMW E36 racecar for a number of years which he could wheel quite well, but stick him in my vastly superior in every way (wink wink) C5 racecar and all he does is complain about how he can't heel/toe.
What exactly is heel and toe shifting? Well if you're reading this chances are I don't need to explain it but if you'd like a SUPER in depth explanation into the Why's and How To's of Heel and Toe shifting, check out this link from Driver 61 - https://driver61.com/qa/how-to-heel-and-toe/
After a weekend of thrashing my car at Watkins Glen with the Audi club, and with both of us dipping below 2:00 laps, we decided to run the car in 3 weeks with NASA Northeast together. I'd be running it wheel to wheel in ST2 and Kev would run it in the TT sessions, all in effort to maximize our tire winnings. His only request was that I find some way to make it easier to heel and toe this thing. He's my bro so I was happy to oblige.
Problem was I was still nursing a broken shoulder at this time and had a very limited range of motion. ECS makes a wide gas pedal that requires replacing the whole pedal assembly, which is a perfectly reasonable option however my cage makes spending any time at all working down by the pedals extremely uncomfortable and it would have been impossible with a broken shoulder. I didn't want to buy a whole pedal cover set because the clutch and brake pedals feel perfectly fine to me and don't need to be changed. In the end I couldn't find anyone who made a solid, gas-pedal only extension that could be easily installed. Sounds like a good opportunity for AMT Motorsport to come up with a solution.
As it often goes with racecars, other odds and ends took precedence over making a custom gas pedal extension. Time is always short and it was a short break between the track day and the race as it was. So in the wee hours of the morning before we were to depart for the NASA event at Watkins, I designed, machined a couple prototypes, and installed the first AMT Motorsport Gas Pedal Extension. It needed to be light, strong, wider than most gas pedal extensions I've seen, and easy to install since I'd be doing it with one arm, at 5 in the morning, with my cell phone flashlight to guide me in the depths of the footwell, because I'm too lazy to use proper illumination. Even with less than ideal conditions and one working arm I had the thing installed in about 5 minutes. I figure with two limbs and no cage to contend with you could install it literally in less than 2 minutes. Click here to see the installation instructions if you're curious.
As soon as I got on track I could immediately feel a difference in the way I was applying the brakes. Yes this is a gas pedal and not a brake pedal but bear in mind the true point of a good heel/toe downshift is to keep the car as stable as possible under braking, so we do this by facilitating an easy blip of the gas to get the engine up to the correct matching RPM. An easier blip of the gas allows for more focus on the brake pedal, and this pedal allows exactly that. I had to internally eat some crow, because truly I thought I was braking and heel/toeing very effectively having been driving and racing this car since 2012. Turns out I was wrong. The greatest difference was not in the "blip" of throttle as mentioned above. My throttle data shows the blips happening at the same duration and intensity as before the pedal modification. I believe the actual change that was happening was mental. By knowing your gas pedal is more easily reachable, you allow more of your foot to be on the brake. Perhaps getting your foot more on the "meat" of the pedal allows your brain to more-easily put force on the pedal. This might all sound like a lot of malarky but if you've been around racing (or really sports at all) for any length of time you know there's a mental aspect of sport that generally separates The Greats from the rest of us. If a gas pedal extension allows you to gain back a little bit of that mental processing power you're using to drive at 10/10ths, then I think my data shows that can translate to on track results.
My data shows a huge increase in brake pressure, which translates to a slight increase in deceleration g force. Highlighted above are 3 hard brake zones at Watkins Glen. Admittedly this is not a perfect test because the results were from different days. I would have loved to have slapped the gas pedal on mid-day to be able to compare those results. However this is same driver (me), same car, very similar weather (high 60s and sunny both days), same brake pads, and even same tires. The red lap is a 1:58.8 from the Audi Club event with Hoosier A7s and about 10 heat cycles. The blue lap is a 1:58.1 from NASA practice on the same set of tires but now with about 13 heat cycles on them.
You can see from the pressure and G Force data that something drastic has changed between the two sessions. And this isn't just two cherry picked laps to make the data look convincing. All my laps from the Audi day have the same brake pressure traces, and all of my NASA brake pressures are higher. Funnily enough my brake pressure is very similar braking for Turn 8 (Heel of the Boot) in both sessions. That may be because that's a downhill braking zone and your brain is already in "oh shit" mode so you're standing on the brake in any case. Similar data with turn 1 but not as pronounced as turn 8. In the lighter braking zones (Turn 9 and Turn 11) there is no real difference in brake pressure data.
Believe me when I say I was totally surprised by how different the brake pressure data was, but I was glad to see data correlated to what I was feeling on track. Not as surprising is that putting 60% (in some cases) more force in to your brake pedal doesn't mean 60% more decel Gs, but you can see I'm slowing down quite a bit quicker in those braking zones when applying a significant amount more pressure.
Some bench racers will end up arguing this data is not particularly valid because it wasn't a back to back session from the same day. That's fine. Any of my customers or anyone who knows me knows I have no tolerance for BS. Our company was founded on that principle and it's the reason why I don't make the World's Coolest and Most Expensive 5 Axis CNC'd Machined License Plate Frame. That would feel like BS to me and I wouldn't sell it. Had I not done this test myself, and someone presented me with the above data, I'd probably raise an eyebrow too. But the simple fact is that in my case putting a silly gas pedal extension on my car makes me push my brake pedal harder, my car stops faster, and I turn a quicker lap time. The fact that there is zero modification to the brake pedal or braking system leads me to believe all the gains from this are coming from the mental side, and maybe that's the most exciting part of all of this.
I believe that this quick, cheap mod to your Corvette is going to make your driving much more enjoyable whether you're looking for lap times or just looking to put a smile on your face. I believe it to the point that if you don't love this thing just take it off and send it back to me for a full refund. We offer Lifetime Guarantees on all our parts, but this is our first part with a Satisfaction Guarantee. Not a lot of those in the racing industry I can assure you. To purchase this thing for your C5 or C6 Corvette, you can follow this link.
As for my brother, he saw similar results, praised the fact that heeling and toeing the car now took zero thought, and ended up turning a 1:57.7 in qualifying to my 1:57.9. He nabbed the TTU trophy and a pair of tires on Saturday. Did I let him have the sticker tires for his fastest session while I muddled thru on used rubber? Sure. Do I still hate the fact that the fastest brother at the track that day was not me, and he actually has a faster lap at WGI than I do? You bet your ass I do. But he ain't heavy - he's my brother.