Sometimes you just need a manual transmission to row. That’s how our friend Chris Harris feels before he hops in two of the last manual-transmission track cars still around, the older 997 Porsche GT3 RS and the famed 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 .
A rain-soaked racetrack nestled in the rolling English countryside provides the playground, and despite the standing water, the two cars stay planted on the tarmac. Sure, Harris has plenty of sideways action, but it seems nothing was unplanned.
The point of this little track test, according to Harris, isn’t to compare the Z/28 and GT3 RS side-by-side, but to just have fun rowing gears in a proper sports car — something our host isn’t used to saying in regards to a Camaro . Nevertheless, the Z/28’s engine with its high-tech internals and 7,000-rpm redline, provides plenty of fun. Its 305-series tires provide enough grip around the wet track to keep the 3,800-pound car from sliding into the wall.
Manual transmission-equipped sports cars are becoming less and less popular, as the performance numbers provided by these new flap-paddle gearboxes outdo those of the manual and as fewer people know how to drive stick. While it’s probable most folks looking to buy a hyped-up sports car know how to do the three-pedal dance, it’s undeniable that dual-clutch automatics are faster around a track.
But that begs the question; is speed everything, or is the connection and experience with the car worth more? Let us know what you think in the comments.