This paper discusses the use of voice coil actuators to enhance the performance of shift-by-wire systems. This innovative purely electric actuation approach was implemented and applied to a Formula SAE race car. The result was more compact and faster than conventional solutions, which usually employ pneumatic actuators. The designed shift-by-wire system incorporates a control unit based on a digital signal processor, which runs the control algorithms developed for both gear shifting and launching the car. The system was successfully validated through laboratory and on-track tests. In addition, a comparative test with an equivalent pneumatic counterpart was carried out. This showed that an effective use of voice coil actuators enabled the upshift time to be almost halved, thus proving that these actuators are a viable solution to improving shift-by-wire system performance.