Could This New GM Patent Indicate A Manual-Equipped C8 Corvette?

Patent

If so, we doubt few will complain.

There’s been a ton of new information regarding the much-hyped mid-engined C8 Corvette. Widely rumored to debut this January at Detroit, the C8 will be historic given it’ll be the first production Corvette ever to have its engine located behind the driver, instead of up front. Reports have indicated the C8 will launch with an updated version of the C7’s LT1 V8 with output up to around 500 hp (or will it?). But what about the gearbox?

Jalopnik has apparently uncovered a new GM patent application that could potentially indicate how a manual transmission could be added to the C8. The application itself is titled “electric slave cylinder for manually shifted vehicles” and it shows how a clutch-by-wire could be implemented to operate a manual gearbox without the typical hydraulic lines.

Jalopnik further says that specific setup is ideal for a mid-engine setup and for the gearbox itself to be positioned behind the driver as well. Why is that so suitable? Because it would use a “manual transmission without having to run the hydraulic line to the rear from the clutch master cylinder which is usually directly in front of the clutch pedal.” Typically for a hydraulic clutch system, Jalopnik further noted, is when a clutch pedal is attached to the firewall with the clutch master cylinder directly in front of it.

GM’s new patent application, however, shows a sensor mounted on the clutch pedal itself, which then sends an electronic signal to an actuator mounted on the electronic slave cylinder, located in the transmission itself, which then moves the clutch plate.

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Translation: the ability to install a transmission away from the clutch pedal without having to haggle with a hydraulic line. GM has remained remarkably quiet on anything C8 related. The last time we spoke with Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, he politely refused to even address the subject, preferring to discuss the just recently unveiled C7 Corvette ZR1. But his refusal to speak about the C8 also says something (though not in words): something big is coming and he doesn’t want to spoil anything. If Juechter and his team have managed to get a manual transmission included in the C8 then that right there is a huge victory for driving and Corvette enthusiasts. We’ll keep you posted once more details arrive.

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