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Short Shifting

Short-shifting is where you change up a gear before it is needed; In other words, you change up a gear before you have used up the previous gear.

Why would you want to do this? Well this is a valid question because short-shifting almost always means you will be instantly losing some power and torque due to being in a higher gear than is necessary.

Well there are two main reasons.

One reason is to purposefully take away torque from the wheels.  Maybe it is a bump / slippy curve and you will be unable to use the full torque of the gear you would normally be in, so it might be a safer bet to be in a higher gear to reduce the likelihood of sudden wheel-spin, etc.

The other (and more common reason) is to save the time taken to change gear.  Lets say you have a tight 2nd gear left-hand bend, followed by a long straight.  You are at about 2/3 revs as you approach the apex.

You can either stay in second gear and use the extra torque to accelerate as quickly as possible.

Or you can change up to 3rd before you need to start accelerating and sacrifice the extra acceleration for the time saving in not having to change gear.

A judgement has to be made as to which would be quicker.  In race driving this is normally already tried and tested for your formula on the track you are racing on so it is often pre-decided.  In rallying it is less clear, and probably slightly less important.

The main reasons you would use short-shifting in rallying would be for balance rather than outright time and speed.  If there was a twisty section ahead for the next 50 yards and you will need 1 up change in the middle of it, you may decide to get the change done before the complex to avoid upsetting the car mid-way through it.

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