Do You Really Want a Race-Derived Sequential Gearbox In Your Corvette?

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Sequential gearboxes are great for the race track, and are a lot of fun on the street, but they have their downsides, too. 

A sequential gearbox is a great thing when you’re on track or when the road is empty. The shifts are rapid and crisp, the gears themselves are stout and it’s much more difficult to screw up your shifts. When you can shift with just a pull of your fingertips on a paddle, the power becomes addictive. You have the control right there, you can make the change. They’re even lighter than a standard automatic transmission. Everything about driving a car with a sequential gearbox sounds great. But is it?

Sequential Gearbox

There’s a reason why Chevrolet doesn’t sell any Corvettes with a sequential shift option — actually several. First of all, these gearboxes are expensive to engineer. Compared to a contemporary torque converter automatic, the shifts are infinitely less refined; some might even refer to those shifts as “jerky”.

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In addition, because they still use a clutch (usually a compact unit), you need to use the clutch pedal for taking off from a start. Because the transmission shifts instantaneously with paddles instead of a clutch/manual shift combination, many drivers claim the sequential doesn’t have the driver involvement of a true manual. So this ‘box has none of the refinement of an automatic, and none of the driving excitement of a true manual. You essentially get the worst of both worlds, with no upside in everday driving conditions.

With these serious downsides, we doubt many Corvette buyers would want this option in the first place. They sure make for great race car transmissions, though. What’s your take on the sequential? Do you want one in your Corvette, why or why not?

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

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