Are Manual Z06 Corvettes Less Safe?

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corvette manual transmission

Does a Manual Transmission Instigate Unsafe Driving, or Are Automatic Corvette Drivers Just Slow?

It is, perhaps, a controversial question to ask. Auto lovers are usually no less enthusiastic about their Corvettes than those of us with three pedals. However, Corvette Forum member AllFlash noticed a trend in C7 Z06 crashes. Namely that every single one he saw was equipped with a manual transmission, without exception.

Generally, the crashes in question all occurred with fairly inexperienced drivers, though that isn’t always the case. So perhaps it could be said that being forced to shift your own gears is a more difficult procedure to master, leading to more mangled manuals.

CHECK OUT: What Forum Members Are Saying About This Great Debate

While AllFlash’s hypothesis is difficult to test, it does stand to reason that this might be the case. New Z06 owners are likely to never have driven anything quite so powerful before. They could be caught unaware by a full-throttle run, a missed shift, or a bungled downshift. There are certainly more opportunities to crash if you’re not well-versed in the art of driving a row-your-own transmission. Even if you get something right nine times out of ten, the tenth can be a mistake that turns into a crash. And the automatic version of the same car will get it right ten times out of every ten, guaranteed.

It is entirely possible that with 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, these Z06 crashes are simply a lack of respect for the car’s abilities, especially by those new drivers. It’s impossible to say beyond a shadow of a doubt that any of these mentioned crashes would have been prevented with a torque converter transmission. Then again, simply because it is not proven doesn’t mean it is not beyond the realm of possibility. And even if it were proven true, would it really stop you from buying a manual Corvette?

Bradley Brownell is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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