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3 questions — left foot braking (LFB) in rallying and not

May 11, 2011

This Wednesday’s 3 questions are all from Randy Samson and they are all about a very important driving technique called left foot braking.

First one

Do you use lfb?

— Of course, and there is no way to drive a rally car without using left foot braking. I believe, that LFB should be also used in circuit racing, but I don’t have enough experience to say for sure. I also use LFB when I drive street cars on twisty roads, slippery roads, or on the unlimited autobahn sections.


If so, please recall first learning lfb and could you recommend some first steps for a novice.

— Here’s what Wikipedia says: “At its most basic purpose, left foot braking can be used to decrease the time spent between the right foot moving between the brake and throttle pedals, and can also be used to control load transfer.” And it’s true.

Because I have never had any formal race driving training, I didn’t know such a technique existed. I first caught myself braking with my left foot, because it was a faster way to press the brake when needed. After having driven in couple of rally cross events (a good place to start, if you’re in Ontario: hint, HINT) someone told me how it’s done and I’ve used LFB ever since.

So, here’s my recommendation if you’ve never tried LFB before:

  1. Try it at very slow speeds driving in a straight line. Make sure your left foot presses the brakes extremely smoothly. You will need some time before you can be silky smooth.
  2. once you get smooth to the point where your passenger can’t tell if you’re using L or R foot on the brake,

  3. Start driving daily using LFB. Regardless of the transmission type. At this point you don’t press brake and throttle at the same time, you are just using felt foot to press the brakes, when off throttle.
  4. be SMOOTH — that’s the secret of most fast drivers and it’s easier on the car

  5. When feel comfortable, take your car to the rally cross or a lapping day, or at least to an empty parking lot and try to brake harder while cornering. Still smooth, but hard. Remember, to squeeze the brakes, not stab them. CAREFUL, eventually the car will snap into oversteer because of weight transfer. WARNING, this will happen fast, you have to be ready and know how to correct that, otherwise you will spin out, that’s why this can only be practiced in a controlled environment.
  6. when feel comfortable with that,

  7. Do #3, but keep some power on with your right foot and see what happens. Try to feel how the car reacts when you give it more brake or less brake, different steering angle and different throttle.

This should be enough for the start, but remember that this should only be done off the public roads, because mistakes are inevitable in the learning process.


What is lfb theory?

— I’m not big on theory, but the idea is that it helps with the weight transfer, lets you brake faster, lets you ‘tame’ the car down when it gets a bit out of control and lets turbo cars keep building boost, because you are still on the throttle, even when on the brakes. But I’m not the right guy to ask this question.

Here’s the great Colin McRae to tell us why he uses LFB:

Randy, great questions, keep ‘em coming!

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posted in Blog by Crazy Leo

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4 Comments to "3 questions — left foot braking (LFB) in rallying and not"

  • steve wrote:

    I love LFB!!!! It is so amazing in a fwd car.

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  • mohamadraza wrote:

    your lesson was very useful for lfb technique.tanks a lot.can you explain other techniques in rally?

    Reply | Link

    Crazy Leo

    CrazyLeo Reply:

    welcome, like what?

    Reply | Link

  • Alozie wrote:

    Big Daddy:Did you use the correct DOT reqreuid fluid? how did you bleed, bleeder ball, gravity bleed, etc i would re-bleed ensure the correct fluid. make sure you didnt use an old opened fluid, within a short amount of time, old opened fluid, even if capped off, will suck in water, which will make the brakes spongey.i like to use brand new, then throw out whatever i dont use, so im not tempted to try and use an opened bottle down the road. clean your pads and rotors with brakleen, you probalby leaked some. steel braided lines are a must, at least for the front, good call poster above later dude.

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