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Sequential Gearbox Tips for all!

Our Lamborghini Gallardo has a Hollinger 6 Speed sequential gearbox fitted and so we think its a good time to cover how these gear boxes work. These gearboxes are non synchromesh and have straight cut gears.

They are featured in nearly all modern race cars now including the V8 supercars. The main differences between them is the engagement (paddle shift or lever) and how the software works (allowing flat change/down shifts etc).

Successful up-shifting, (defined as fast and non dog-damaging) will be achieved by fully moving the dog ring as rapidly as possible from one gear to the next, preferably with the engine’s driving load removed until the shift is completed. (The opposite is true of a synchromesh gearbox as used in passenger cars, where slow movement helps).

It should be remembered that it is not possible to damage the dogs when fully engaged (in gear). The damage can only take place when initiating contact during a shift, (the `danger zone`) therefore this element must be made as short as possible.

Manual with engine cut (As fitted to our Lamborghini)

This system is almost as good as an automated one as long as the driver pulls the lever very quickly. Again it is not applicable to many cars, but it illustrates that speed of shift is a good thing.

The worst method (most destructive and definitely slowest) is to attempt to change gear in a `passenger car / synchromesh` way, i.e. lifting off the throttle, dipping the clutch, moving the gear lever, letting the clutch up and re-instating the throttle.

The method causes unnecessary clutch wear, does absolutely nothing to help come out of gear and usually causes dog wear whilst engaging the next gear.

Successful down-shifting with a sequential gearbox, has similar rules applied regarding speed of shift. Unloading the dogs is done in the opposite manner obviously. Whilst braking, the dogs must be unloaded by either touching the throttle pedal or by dipping the clutch.

However, one sharp dab of clutch is appropriate per shift. Continued pressure on either will cause dog damage for different reasons.

TOP TIP for ease of downshifting: Make the downshifts as late as possible in your braking zone (i.e. at lower road speed), because the rev drops between each gear are then lower.

So many drivers make the mistake of downshifting as soon as they begin braking, causing gearbox wear, engine damage and `disruption` to the driving wheels.

Driving with a real race car with a sequential gearbox is fun and rewarding – but does take some practice.

We are available to coach you and assist you with training in your car or ours – sequential gearbox, dog box or standard gearbox! Want to drive our car – check out our Supercar Experiences here.

Happy driving,

Mark Butcher

Managing Director PDA/TSE