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Monday, August 9, 2010

Rants and Raves

Japanese Inventor Masuyuki Naruse has been building and selling his patented Naruse pedal with the hope of reducing or eliminating events of "unintended acceleration."  He believes that humans automatically stomp when faced with a panic situation while driving.  By eliminating an accelerator "pedal" with a clockwise-rotating arm, there is no possibility of flooring the gas accidentally.

For those of you who haven't heard anything about this pedal design, here's the basics on how it works.  There is still a conventional brake pedal that operates the brakes just like in any car today.  The gas pedal, however, is attached to the bottom right hand corner of the brake pedal.  To accelerate the vehicle, this accelerator arm is rotated clockwise.  When the brake is applied in any way, it disengages the accelerator.

While this is a great idea for the safety of the driving population as a whole, I believe that this pedal, with a few minor modifications, would be advantageous in motorsport as well.  By modifying the pedal assembly to retain the ability to gas and brake at the same time, heel-toe rev-matched downshifts would take one less movement to achieve.  Instead of toeing the brake pedal and pivoting the heel over to, then, blip the gas, the driver would just brake with the heel and do a quick blip of the accelerator arm. 

In addition to this, there is less distance for the driver's foot to traverse to switch from the gas pedal to the brake.  This would mean that braking for a corner could be done fractions of a second later.  Fractions of a second don't sound like much.  Add those fractions up for every corner on every lap and that's a few seconds that you got on the competition.

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