The Mid-Engine Corvette Probably Won't Get A Manual Gearbox: Report

The 1990 CERV-III Concept, which is what I hope this thing will look like, blade wheels and pop-up headlights and all.
The 1990 CERV-III Concept, which is what I hope this thing will look like, blade wheels and pop-up headlights and all.

It seems this long-awaited mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette really will be designed to run with high-end European exotics. And by that, I mean you’ll more than likely be shifting the gears with paddles, not three pedals and a stick.

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Car and Driver, thus far the leader in rumors and reports about this car which is really happening for sure we promise you guys, says the upcoming car will use a Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It can handle a ton of torque and promises lightning-fast gear changes, presumably much quicker than the ones offered even by General Motors’ eight-speed automatic.

Tremec engineering documents show a 9000-rpm maximum input speed and a 664-lb-ft torque capacity, both of which should cover C8 Corvette needs quite nicely. The TR-9007’s die-cast aluminum housing contains seven forward gears, three of which are overdrive ratios, and a 5.6:1 ratio spread. Tremec describes the twin engagement devices as “virtually dry wet clutches.”

But! They predict, probably correctly, that this supercar is being developed with no room for a traditional stick shift.

Our suspicion is that General Motors will not follow our suggestion to Save the Manuals due to the cost and complexity of offering two transmissions. In other words, Tremec’s TR-9007 seven-speed DCT will be the one and only transmission available when the 2019 Corvette arrives in less than two years.

A huge blow to manual enthusiasts everywhere! But not really. It’s not like any of this car’s intended mid-engined competitors use stick shifts anymore, and in this day and age when customer take rate, technology and lap times rule everything, the manual is hard to justify.

Boo-hoo.

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.

DISCUSSION

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The Devil Drives a Mustang (Rotary Pending)

So I haven’t voiced it yet on any mid-engined Corvette article, but here is my suspicion. I think the mid-engined Corvette is coming AND I also think the the front-engine Corvette is staying.

This is just a hunch, but I think that the mid-engined Corvette (let’s call it Corvette ZR-1 from here on) is going to be a high-dollar homologation special for World Endurance Championship GTE Pro and maybe a few other high end sports car racing series. Similar in concept to the Ford GT and probably going to cost a similar amount of money. The Corvette ZR-1 is likely being made just so that Ford doesn’t dominate racing headlines with the Ford GT. This would explain certain decisions such as flappy paddles only.

The relatively cheap front-engined Corvette is probably going to soldier on for years to come. I wouldn’t be shocked if standard-Corvette is one of the last cars to offer a traditional manual.