Motorsport parts supplier and race shop MME Motorsport of Slovenia released a video Friday demonstrating its kit that allows pneumatic paddle shifting of H-pattern manual transmissions.
Taking air from an included air compressor and reservoir, the mechanism’s pneumatic actuators will tug either on the transmission’s shift cables or the transmission itself, bypassing the cables. MME says this permits on-throttle shifting without the use of the clutch in unsynchronized or sequential transmissions, though the system is compatible with synchronized boxes.
The system’s utility isn’t limited to fast shifting, though. Drivers can preselect the gear they want to be in at the end of a braking zone, and the system will automatically shift to that gear under braking, blipping the throttle on its own. For standing starts or drag races, the ideal shifting rpm can be set, and the system will shift into second of its own accord. Bench demonstration of the system can be seen below in a video uploaded by MME.
Bench testing of the system showed the ability to change gears in as little as 40 milliseconds (ms), but live-fire shifting times are estimated to be between 80 and 120 ms on a sequential manual transmission, and 250 to 350 ms on a synchronized manual transmission—which requires a €700 ($794 USD) add-on that operates the clutch between shifts. Speaking of which, this entire conversion kit starts at a considerable €3,500 ($3,970 USD), and MME wants another €130 ($147 USD) to customize the system to your vehicle’s specific shift cables.
In total, converting a car that uses a modern manual transmission would likely total more than $4,800 prior to shipping and taxes. Its installation would require some technical know-how too, so it’s a modification for neither the faint of heart nor shallow of pocket. It’ll never be the McLaren 720S’s lightning-quick dual-clutch transmission, but if you have the cash, the expertise, and the need to reduce your lap times by that extra tenth, then this may still be your jam.
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