If you track your Porsche, BMW, or really any other car, you know the value of precise, accurate shifts. Traditionally the best solution to sloppy OEM linkages has been a variety of aftermarket short shifters that reduce the length of gear changes, usually increasing effort and making the lever more ‘notchy’ as a result. But CAE Racing has the ultimate solution for any street or track car- their CAE Ultra Shifter. A work of art, CAE shifters are precisely engineered to provide the ultimate in H-pattern upshifts and downshifts while requiring minimal modification and changing of factory parts. This results in gear changes that are almost as fast and accurate as a fully sequential transmission but at a fraction of the price.
Having the engine and transmission located at the rear of the car means that Porsche’s offerings traditionally benefited from relatively direct shifting. Early 915 and G50 transmissions used a rod style linkage that directly connected the shift lever to the transmission’s tail housing, making shifts anchored and direct. There are certainly improvements to be made, the U-joint style shift couplers, for instance, tend to get loose with age making shifting vague and gears harder to select. When the 986/996 chassis debuted this all changed though, as Porsche modified its rear-engine supercar to use shift cables instead of a solid linkage. Although both of these systems have positives and negatives regardless of model, a CAE shifter can make all the difference in the world to either transmission setup.
Machined from billet aluminum, CAE Shifting Technology has been producing these works of art for a variety of platforms for years now. Combining the finest in German engineering and manufacturing, each shifter is constructed primarily from aluminum to ensure lightness and strength. This from-scratch design allowed CAE to engineer an extremely tight and precise shifter that maintains the factory H-pattern while reducing shifts from a throw to a snap. Their exacting design and impressive results has led to a couple of copy-cats on the market, but nothing matches up to the original in terms of manufacturing quality, precision and functionality.
One of the downsides of cable shifted transmissions is a tendency towards being vague and feeling unconnected. This is because there is no ‘hard’ link directly from the transmission to the shifter- and this problem is greatly exacerbated during hard driving, whether through canyons, over your favorite mountain, at an HPDE driving event, or during wheel-to-wheel racing. CAE addresses this by providing a precise gate on the shifter itself that translates to the exact same movement of the cables no matter where the transmission is in relation to the shifter box. It is beyond impressive that they have achieved all of this while retaining the factory cables- yes, every 996/997 unit is designed to work with the stock shift cables, although CAE does offer its own upgraded units which further highlight the capability of this piece.
Simply put the CAE Ultra Shifter is the current pinnacle of shifter design. Creative engineering combines with artful manufacturing, precise design and gorgeous looks to create the ultimate package for getting into the next gear. Short of investing thousands on a sequential aka ‘dog box’ transmission with straight cut gears, you are not going to find a more track-ready solution for maximum control over your gearbox. Everyone we know who has driven a car equipped with one of these billet beauties, whether seasoned track veteran or casual enthusiast, has been impressed by the accuracy and control these short shifters give you over whatever transmission they are attached to. So much so that merely referring to them as a short shifter almost feels egregious. CAE shifters are in a league of their own, and that is why we have chosen to offer them for sale right along side our own Rennline parts and accessories.
You can find our complete line of CAE shifters at www.Rennline.com if you do not see your vehicle listed please contact us Orders@Rennline.com or (802) 893-7366 to see what we have to offer for your make and model.