Immersed in the heated pressure of motorsport competition, having to take your eyes off the road – even for a second – is about the last thing you want.
In that spirit, the 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R have an inventive solution: a configurable shift light heads-up display (HUD).
Heads-up display technology has been present in the automotive realm for quite some time, most often offering drivers easy, quick-glance access to information such as vehicle speed, engine speed, and audio data. The technology works by shining a directed, lit display on the inside of the car’s windshield, so that such data is laid over the view forward, thereby reducing time spent glancing down at physical gauges and other displays.
But Shelby Electrical Engineer Mike Makled had an epiphany: on the new Shelby GT350 and GT350R, why not use that quick-glance real estate to alert the driver of his or her shift points? It is a high-performance pony car, after all; a majority of customers will likely find themselves on the drag strip or the track at some point during the course of ownership. And besides, with a flat-plane crank V8 capable of turning at more than 8,000 RPM, not getting lost somewhere in that large RPM range is of the utmost importance.
So, Mr. Makled privately started working on such a shift light before showing the results to management. They loved it, and further developed the idea for use on the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 models. The finished product can be configured through the Shelby GT350’s central information screen, offering three modes – Tach, Track, and Drag – along with an option to adjust the display’s intensity, and of course, the ability to turn it off altogether. Drivers can even set custom engine speed thresholds for each of the three modes.
The heads-up Performance Shift Light Indicator is standard on the 2016 Shelby GT350 and GT350R, so you can keep your eyes on the road, and still never miss a shift.