“Driving is more fun with a manual transmission!” Really? Is it? Why do all the extra work? Or get stuck on a hill or kill the engine?
Can anyone feel the thrill of driving a stick shift? How do you learn something that is felt like an emotion? Gardner Automotive Communications set out to build a fun, fear-free Manual Transmission Immersion program to explore what driving “engagement” is all about. The event lasted two days with three waves of participants per day.
The program started with a short classroom session where the Gardner Team explored with the group what driving engagement is and why it matters. This was to be more than just a manual transmission “how-to” course. We then covered the basic functionality of both manual and automatic transmissions. How the clutch works together with the transmission to accelerate the car forward or slow it down. How a manual transmission allows for faster shifting, faster acceleration and can offer better fuel economy.
Six cars and enthusiastic professional drivers stood by ready to instruct during the driving segment. The participants would have plenty of room to roam around the track, make mistakes and have fun. Initially, participants would become familiar with the clutch, starting from a stop. After the basics of the clutch use were covered, our students learned how to add gas. Once that was mastered, it was time to do some upshifting and then some downshifting.
Would all students be masters by the end of the program? Certainly not, but would they be conversant in how to drive a manual transmission and gain a much better appreciation for why enthusiasts care so passionately about it? Absolutely!
You can hear it in their words:
“Prior to the training, I never understood why people liked to drive manual transmission vehicles, but now I have an appreciation for why they do.”
“The guys teaching the training made it fun and interactive, and they really knew their stuff. Seeing the passion they have for these vehicles made it a fun experience.”
“No matter how advanced the computer in the car can get, there is nothing like being able to engage the car yourself.”
“Maybe offer this type of class to the general public. As someone who never drove a manual it was such an eye-opening experience.”
“One of the best training sessions I've ever had.”
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