F1 shift lights

Shift Lights

When it comes to getting the upper edge on the race track, gear shifting plays a critical role. The difference between a good shift and a great shift is measured in quarters of a second. However, as a regular race driver shifts his way onto the track dozens of times, every bit lost with imperfect shifting will sum up in extra seconds on the clock and may lead to a lower finishing place.


The difference between a good shift and a great shift is measured in quarters of a second.

While F1 drivers have the uttermost sense in switching gears, having an aid is what allows them to bring on perfect shifts and throw time off the lap time clock. The dash of every Formula 1 car features 15 colored LEDs called shifting lights. Whether they light from left to right, or from both sides towards the middle, the purpose is the same. The ECU measures the rev count of the engine and lights the LEDs accordingly. This way, the green lights are the first ones to go up as the pilot accelerates, then when the blue LEDs come to life, it’s time to shift. If the pilot doesn’t act accordingly and keeps accelerating, red LEDs will let him know he came over the peak torque point and the car is losing power.

An app with Shift Ligts

DataCar race mode

Inspired from the F1 system, DataCar app along with its OBD2 dongle, offers a similar application for shifting gears, only smarter. While F1 shift lights are powered according to the rev count, DataCar uses a proprietary algorithm calculating the time remaining to a certain shift point. The shift point is calculated according to the car’s top torque in each gear. The different calculation offers an intelligent sequencing of the lights, time-dependent instead of rev-dependent. Basically, you choose when to shift and DataCar will compute accordingly.

DataCar dashboard

F1 testing proved that the actual colors of the shift lights aren’t of critical importance, but rather the contrast between them. DataCar uses green, blue and red for revealing the best shift point, as the contrast between these original colors is most striking for the human eye. Along with intelligent shift lights, DataCar encapsulates a full Sports mode, offering valuable data regarding available power at any moment, letting you know when it’s safe to overtake or, on the track, when’s the best time to accelerate, shift and brake.

DataCar Team