SEAMLESS SHIFT GEARBOX

Sep 9, 2009

Gears are changed using a Formula 1 style rocker shift that pivots in the centre of the steering wheel. It is actuated on either side of the steering wheel.

As with the McLaren Formula 1 car, a shift can be actuated either by pulling or by pushing on the rocker. The rocker moves with the steering wheel, rather than being mounted on the steering column, so that if a gear change is needed while lock is being applied the driver does not have to fumble around to change gear.

The rocker itself incorporates an innovative feature created by McLaren engineers called Pre-Cog. The name stands for pre-cognition, literally ‘foreknowledge’. The rocker on the 12C has two positions with a slightly different haptic (or feel) for each. The driver applies first pressure to the rocker and it informs the gearbox to get ready to swap ratios, thereby saving a small amount of time between the message being sent and the gearbox being primed to act. The second pressure confirms that the gear should be changed and the torque handover is completed very quickly.

“What Pre-Cog actually does is initiate the shift process by priming the clutch and torque handover – it takes significant time out of the process,” explained Dick Glover, Technical Director McLaren Automotive. “It’s a little bit like the first pressure on a camera shutter button. There’s no requirement for the driver to use it but it is more satisfying and engaging if you do.

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