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Manual-transmission faithful had many reasons to herald the H-gate before 1997. If you wanted the fastest shifts and the most control, you went with the manual. If you wanted to relinquish control for the convenience of a free hand and less footwork, you went with the automatic, manumatic, or some other version thereof. All of that changed with the F1-style gearbox offered in the Ferrari F355 F1. (To be fair, BMW also offered the similar SMG in the M3 the same year).
Ferrari first developed the technology for Formula One in 1978, it performed on the track in 1989, and it became an F1 standard in 1991. By 1997, it was ready for the street, and Ferrari had evidence as to why. As reported by Ferrari at the time, a normal driver will take a second to swap gears with a normal stick ‘n’ clutch. A racecar driver can bring that down to 0.3 seconds. But, Ferrari’s F1 system could do it in two seconds (150 milliseconds to be exact). Faster shifts with less work; it seems like a win-win, right?
Ferrari 355 F1 Spider at Ferrari Maserati Beverly Hills.
Well, despite the transmission’s popularity in exotics and sports cars throughout the 2000s, it never really went mainstream, and the dual-clutch transmission soon proved better. (It is the only transmission offered in many of the latest Ferraris and Lamborghinis.) The reason why can be mostly adjoined to torque interruption. Dual-clutches offer a seamless flow of power while the F1 systems delayed the flow during the swapping of gears, sometimes with jarring effects.
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