While there’s been no confirmation from the General, at this point, we know that a mid-engine Corvette is coming. And while we still have more questions than answers about the long-awaited American supercar, there’s been plenty of credible information about what it’ll be called, what the powertrain options will be, and where it will debut. For the record? We don’t think it’ll kill the traditional front-engine model, as some have feared.
But one question we’ve had — because we’re unapologetic fans of a third pedal — is whether or not it’ll get a manual transmission. And to be honest? We haven’t held out much hope. The traditional stick shift is becoming rarer by the day, and aside from niche holdouts like Lotus, it’s basically extinct in the mid-engine sports car segment. So we were surprised at the revelation that General Motors has filed a new patent which could indicate a manual might be on the menu when the mid-engine Corvette arrives at your local AutoNation Chevy dealer.
The tasty bit of info comes via our friends over at Jalopnik, and it involves a clutch-by-wire system that would eliminate the need to run a hydraulic line from the driver’s footwell all the way to the transmission. Instead of physical pressure moving fluid through the line, a sensor on the pedal would tell an actuator on the transmission when to engage the clutch. It’s a way to reduce the packaging complexities of the unit, and in an era when we’re seeing throttle-by-wire, and even steer-by-wire systems in cars, it makes a lot of sense.
Of course, one patent application doesn’t mean a stick is a done deal. And as much as we love to row our own, there would be definitely be a performance penalty to consider against dual-clutch versions. So if there is a transmission choice with the latest version of America’s Sports Car, rest assured that the models Chevy sends to shootouts will feature paddles instead of a stick. We can’t wait to see how it stacks up — we already know the ZR1 is a beast.