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The Original Test Mule for the C8 Corvette Used a Porsche Gearbox

Travis Okulski
Photo credit: Chris Doane Automotive

From Road & Track

Way back in 2015, we saw the first test mule for the 2020 Corvette, a car GM denied for years. When we recently sat down with the people behind the mid-engine project, they confirmed that ute was indeed the mule and that it definitely still existed and ran. But Popular Mechanics got up close with the Holden, and there's even more to it than we originally thought.

Dubbed "Blackjack," the Holden looks menacing with huge fender flares, a covered bed to hide the engine, and a massive wing. None of it was final, more a test bed to prove a hypothesis, but as Popular Mechanics found out, it had some shocking parts included. Particularly the gearbox.

Blackjack’s interior is racecar-crude, its transmission an adapted PDK from a Porsche. But the foundation—structure and suspension—was crucial, determining everything that happened next.

That's right, PDK. It makes sense. While the drivetrain wasn't close to final, the team behind the Corvette knew they wanted the speed and connection a dual-clutch offers. PDK is the best out there, and the Corvette has always competed directly with the 911. If you're going to benchmark PDK, you might as well start with PDK.

The gearbox that ended up in the Corvette is a DCT designed and built by Tremec. It's meant to be quicker than a human but just as engaging. It also takes a page from the Graziano gearbox used by McLaren. The paddles are directly wired to the gearbox, there's no middle man. The car doesn't second guess you.

Make sure to check out the rest of PopMech's dive into C8 development here.



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