Originally Posted by enigma
Heh, what track would you like to meet me at?
I'll even drive a manual.
You are a bit naive to think that those that choose SMG are somhow lesser drivers. We just tend to be more willing to accept progress.
Want to guess what I view as the biggest advantage for SMG in the hands of a very experienced driver? Its not what you think.
With SMG you can left foot brake and make much better gas-brake-gas transition than you can with a manual. There is no less "perfection" goign on, you are just working on keepign the car finely ballanced at the limit of cornering rather than trying not to spin off the track when you shift.
I do admit with SMG you will never get to tell the tale of your perfect 4-1 downshift or have the rack of bent valves to show off as proof
Nice flame! That was my first -- kind of an ENIGMA as to why I got it
Yes, being able to left foot brake is a racing advantage, but at the cost of a bit of the car's soul. And I'll be happy to race you at any track (I was 2006 Time Trial TTC champion (Team Antihybrids). http://nasa-tt.com/Norcal_Standings
I agree it is my opinion that shifting my own gears is more fun than having a machine do it for me. The sad thing is that in the future shifting will become a "lost art" since all the "kids" of today will only have DSGs or automatics (SMGs will be gone -- too jerky for street cars).
I drive an S2000 (S/C) and an E36 M3 on the track. The M3 turns slightly better times even though it is down on power, but the S2000 is incredibly satisfying to drive because of how much of a "driver's car" it is (can you say OVERSTEER?). The 9K redline and quick-shifting gearbox in harmony with one another are two of the things that make it such a delight to drive fast. You feel the engine through the shift lever, and you feel that direct link between "man and machine." The chassis balances on the edge of oversteer, but you can use that to your advantage to exit corners faster (due to added traction under acceleration). It is a WILD ride compared to the poised M3. It is much harder to get every last tenth out of the S2000, and it can be intimidating. But this all adds to the reward.
With modern stability control systems, SMG/DSG, throttle by wire, brake by wire, and even "active" steering cars are becoming more and more like video games and it becomes harder for a driver to truly understand what a car is doing at its limits, and how to learn and use these dynamics to drive the car faster. I don't necessarily consider SMG progress. In most cases I call it a way for BMW, etc. to sell a performance car to a person who can't drive a manual. I guess that is OK -- until they dumb-down the M5 manual and break my heart
The progress street cars are making usually does NOT make them better driver's cars (as you know, of course, now that I see you drive an Elise - very nice!). More weight, more tech, more gizmos. These things sell to the masses of fairly wealthy people who can afford new cars (esp. BMWs). They sure don't make for a more satisfying performance drive. Yes they are faster, and will lap faster, especially in the hands of novices (since all the electro-nannies will save their butts at every corner), but not as much fun.