I still debate this back and forth in my head. Hearing you guys talk about the satisfaction of nailing a perfect heel-toe downshift as you come into a corner at speed makes me want to drive a manual on the track so badly (I had a manual 330Ci and manual 545i back in the day, but never tracked them). But then I wonder if the manual isn't becoming a lost art and/or anachronistic when I see in-car footage of current race cars running sequential shifters, whether they be 911 Cup cars or LMP cars.
On the one hand, I think people have to get over the idea of a DCT as an "automatic." It by no means is an automatic, at least the way I drive it. I NEVER drive it in automatic mode, even on the street. To me, an automatic is a fluid-coupled slush box that upshifts on its own into the highest gear as soon as possible, leaving you coasting into a corner, and the transmission then having to kick-down to accelerate out of the turn. I despise this. I think of the DCT as a manual that is simply computer-controlled for clutch activation, and that gives the added "cheating" benefit of rev-matching on downshifts.
Sounds like I'm in the DCT camp. And then, I think of a car like the Nissan GT-R, and the concept drives me nuts. I think of that as a car that a complete nincompoop could drive around a track quickly, because it does absolutely everything for you. Not only does it have an automated manual transmission, but it has AWD and computer-controlled chassis dynamics to the nth degree, so that you can throw the car into the corner totally out of shape, and it sorts everything out. No challenge or high degree of skill involved. (Flame suit on) But then this line of thinking is in total disagreement to my defense of driving a DCT on the track.
Basically, I'm confused.
Little Stig on my left shoulder, whispering in my ear: "Traditional H-pattern manual transmissions are going the way of the Dodo. Paddle shifters and sequential manuals are the ever-increasing present and future of racing. Stick shift? Might as well also hand-crank your car like a Model T and use gas lamps instead of headlights..."
Little Stig on my right shoulder, whispering in my ear: "You're 41 years old. It's unlikely you're headed to a pro racing career. Trackdays are about fun and involvement with the car, not shaving that last hundredth of a second off your lap time because a DCT is faster around the track. Perfect your heel-toe technique and experience the mechanical connection with the car. Nissan GT-R? Jerry Lewis could drive that around Watkins Glen and set a nice lap time..."
I need a nap.