It would be a trick setup where the clutch and gearshift would have an electronic connection to the transmission.
Chevrolet Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter has been abundantly clear that a manual gearbox isn't coming to the C8 'Vette. He explicitly called it "a dying business." However, the folks at Motor Trend have come up with a way for drivers to row their own gears without actually needing to offer a completely different transmission.
Gallery: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
By using GM patent filings, Motor Trend suggests that Chevy could combine its available technology to create an electronically actuated manual for the new Corvette. While there would be a gearshift, it wouldn't actually have a physical connection to the transmission. Instead, there would be an electronic clutch with haptic feedback to tell drivers where the bite point of the pedal is.
The existing eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox would still work. When it's time to switch cogs, the driver would press the clutch and move the shifter. Electronic signals would then communicate to the transmission that it should change gears.
While all of this technology exists, it seems like a compromise to give the C8 a manual gearbox. The buyers who want one would likely prefer a traditional clutch and gearshift setup. This electronic solution might not appeal to these folks.
Looking at the C8 Corvette's cabin, there's not a whole lot of room for installing the manual gearshift. The tiny strip of buttons for controlling the current eight-speed automatic uses a tiny bit of the center console's real estate. The only good place for placing the shifter is in the existing storage area, but its location might be too far towards the rear to be comfortable for the driver.
While a manual gearbox seems unlikely for the C8 Corvette, customers can at least look forward to more power. Rumors point to the 'Vette getting a twin-turbo V8 in the future and possibly a hybrid variant, too.