Your typical supercar is unlike your run-of-the-mill mass-produced car for the mass market. Typically made from composite materials including carbon fiber for increased strength and weight-saving properties they are an example of how far technology and advancements in power delivery have evolved over time. Each set of supercars for that period and generation show how far we have developed. Just look at the supercars of the 80s compared to what we have now!
Supercars are just different from your conventional car. But do they differ in how they are driven? Do you still have a gearbox and need to change gears? Let me make things clear and add a few other snippets of information that you might be interested in.
So, do supercars have a clutch pedal? Some supercars have a clutch pedal but more often than not, supercars these days will have a dual-clutch system incorporating flappy paddles that the driver uses with their hands. However, many owners still prefer the stick-shift as they feel more ‘connected’ to the car.
How Do Owners Change Gear In Supercars?
Owners of supercars change gear just like they do in normal cars! There are exceptions (I’m thinking Koenigsegg) but drivers of these cars change gear either using a stick-shift or by using flappy paddles. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods but it’s almost like people ‘expect’ these exotic cars to have flappy paddles these days!
Typically, if you are changing gear using flappy paddles (sometimes known as e-gear) you will find one on each side of the steering wheel. The pedal on the right will change up a gear and the pedal on the left will change down. Although, some cars also allow you to use either pedal to change up or down a gear, depending on whether you pull or push the pedal. This can be quite useful if you’re going around a corner and your hands are in a different position, so you can use the left-hand pedal with your right hand if you wish.
It seems what has happened recently though is that flappy paddles are so common in supercars that owners are almost favoring the traditional stick-shift. This more traditional design is simpler to maintain and is also usually a cheaper option than a flappy-paddle option.
Why Do Some Supercars Use Flappy Paddles?
The idea behind being able to change gear using pedals with your hands is that, at least in theory, it is quicker. Your hands are already on the steering wheel so you can change gear without moving them much. This makes for quicker gear changes than stick-shift which is further for your hand to travel!
The other reason is that changing gear using pedals is considered to be part of the whole ‘supercar experience’. When you buy a steering wheel for a games console, such as the PS4 or XBOX One, 99 times out of 100, it will have flappy paddles and people use these simulators to live out their fantasies. I think it’s just what people expect with these types of cars!
What Are The Advantages of Using Flappy Paddles
There are some very good reasons why people, including myself, prefer to use flappy paddles in a supercar. Primarily, they can make changing gear faster than a conventional stick-shift.
The other ‘main’ reason is that, well, they just look cool. In fact, it’s almost what you expect these days when you buy an exotic car.
What Are The Disadvantages of Using Flappy Paddles
It’s not all positives though when it comes to changing gear using flappy paddles though! For instance, as you add more technology you also increase the risk of things going wrong and fixing problems with an e-gear and a semi-automatic gearbox can be more costly than your standard transmission.
Next, most flappy paddles are fixed in position behind the steering wheel. What this means is that if you are going round a corner and want to change gear you may have to take one of your hands off the steering wheel to change gear!
There are exceptions though and some paddles are fixed to the steering wheel itself which removes the problem, these are rare though.
What Is The Difference Between A Single and Double Clutch?
You may have heard the phrase ‘single’ or ‘double’ clutch when talking about the transmission of modern supercars. Generally, older supercars will have a single-clutch and more modern cars will have a double-clutch. In fact, it’s not just supercars that enjoy the benefits of a double-clutch these days but many ‘premium’ cars also.
Firstly, what you will feel as a driver are smoother gear changes. The single-clutch transmission, as is found my Gallardo is pretty brutal. If you change gear with your foot down (especially in Corsa mode) you are really shoved back into your seat each time. With double-clutch transmissions (such as in the Huracan) – you really don’t get this sensation.
Personally, I’m not sure how I feel about this. I rather like the brutality of the single-clutch and find it all part of the supercar experience.
A gearbox with a dual-clutch uses (as you might expect) two clutches (but of course does not have a pedal). Typically, hydraulics and electronics will control these but they work separately from each other. Usually, one clutch will manage all the even gears and the other will operate the odd gears. This configuration means that power is not interrupted during gear changes!
So, hopefully that’s made it at least a little clearer – most supercars these days incorporate dual-clutch transmission as it delivers far superior power delivery. However, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Many people who want a supercar want the brutality of single-clutch gear changes. They like the feeling – and I get that. Similarly, there are people who love the feeling of changing gear manually with their right hand.
However, I don’t think anyone can doubt that the double-clutch system is technically better.