America loves its sports cars and Ford loves its Mustang. Thursday, the automaker highlighted its special new Performance Shift Light Indicator system on the Shelby GT350 that lets drivers calculate the best time to shift while staying focused on the road.
The system is designed as the sweet spot between obscuring the driver’s field of vision and being located in the instrument cluster. To do this, the system utilizes the heads-up display with a simple system and custom settings that allows drivers to set shift points to maximize acceleration for overall faster track times.
According to Mike Makled, electrical engineer for the Shelby programs, “Given the conditions of a drag race, we found drivers wanted maximum simplicity in performance shift light.”
Makled developed the system when he realized that the heads-up system could be modified for racing. The heads-up system works by projecting light against the reflective inner surface of the windshield with different car features. Due to its position of being within the view of the drivers it is the ideal for the choice for a shift light indicator.
“I thought, ‘Wait a minute, why don’t we use that technology for our shift light on the GT350? With a few tweaks, it could have a big effect on high-performance driving,” says Makled.
Drivers control the system through the cars information center in the gauge cluster. Besides shift point setting, it offers drivers the customization of choosing from three modes, setting the LED light intensity, and even turning off the system entirely.
The first of the three different modes is Tach mode. In this mode, the lights light up from left to right with the engine’s rpm to allow drivers to quickly ascertain the best time to shift. This is basically for everyday driving and acts as a digital and easier to view tachometer.
The second mode is Track mode. It is different from Tach mode in that rather than just showing drivers the engine’s rpm from left to right, it allows a shift point to be set and lights up from both ends of the bar to the center. Once the key shift point is reached the whole LED bar flashes.
The final mode is Drag mode. Like Track, drivers set shift points, but this time the whole system stays dark until the shift point is reached and then the whole bar flashes repeatedly.
The Shift Light Indicator system is standard on the Shelby GT350 and GT350R models. Unfortunately, both models are only available in limited production for 2015. However, the GT350 will continue production into 2016.