A manual gearbox would be a welcomed addition.
Keen eyes over at Jalopnik have discovered a GM patent filing that hints at the possibility that the automaker may have a manual gearbox in the works for the mid-engined Corvette. While the patent doesn’t explicitly say that, that's the best conclusion we have right now. What’s the patent for? A clutch-by-wire system that controls the slave cylinder.
You see, manual gearboxes traditionally have had a hydraulic clutch system. You press the pedal, fluid moves through the slave cylinder and hydraulic lines to then actuate the clutch when shifting gears. It’s a common-sense set up when the gearbox is mere inches away from the pedal.
However, if you move the engine and transmission to the rear, a flick of the foot for all the hydraulic power makes less sense. What GM is proposing is using a sensor mounted to the clutch pedal that sends a signal to an actuator mounted on the slave cylinder on the transmission that’s now in the rear of the car, as explained by Jalopnik.
This is all speculation. One, many of the videos and spy shots of the mid-engined Corvette prototype point to it coming with a dual-clutch automative gearbox. We’re still months away from anything concrete about the mid-engined Corvette, so the manual could be a day-one option or something coming later. And two, it's just a patent.
It’s best to remember this is just a patent, and many times these go nowhere. Automakers are always filing patents for new technologies so they can protect their intellectual property. It doesn't mean the company is working on the bringing the product to market or even working on development at all. Right now, the electric clutch system is a few drawings in a patent filing. We could be waiting before we get any confirmation this could come to market.