Whincup says, “Everything new, and modern, and fresh, is paddle shift”.
He stresses the need to let go of nostalgia.
“I’d like to see the gearstick, but what’s best for the category, if I was designing the car, I’d run a paddle shift, a hundred percent. It’s pretty clear to me…We’ve got to keep moving forward. We can’t be getting stuck in the past.”
Erebus Motorsport driver Anton De Pasquale is another voice in support of the movement, stating the obvious, “you’ve still got to drive the car fast.”
Garth Tander has copped some slack online for his support for paddle shifting. Tander’s stance is interesting in that he won his titles back in the era of H-pattern gearboxes. However, he warns that holding onto nostalgia isn’t doing the sport any favors because the next generation of fans won’t be able to relate to the cars.
“If we want to see Supercars as a performance variant to the roadgoing cars, then I think we need to be relevant to what the current performance road cars are”, he says.
Who’s against the paddle shift
For those of us who grew up with manual transmission and the theatre of the H-pattern and sequential stick shift, change can be a hard pill to swallow. And many would argue that maintaining a point of difference when so many other categories are moving to paddle shifting is an excellent reason to stay true to tradition. David Reynolds sums it up perfectly when he says:
“What we have is unique. Everyone else has gone that way (paddle shift), so why should we go that way too? You want things to go wrong, you want the human element rather than the electronics taking over.”
What Supercar fans think about stick shift vs paddle
There’s been a pretty clear response from old school Supercars fans who are strong in their opposition to a change from stick shift to paddle shift. We’ve even seen a big online movement of fans saying they want to take things further back and return to the H-pattern shift box.
While this won’t happen, it does open up a new world of possibilities for categories like the Touring Car Masters who can cater to this nostalgia and position itself as a contender for viewership and sponsorships. Could we even see breakaway categories rise from the ashes, featuring the current generation of Supercars with their stick shifts still intact?
Tickford Racing have bypassed the drama altogether, debuting in April a Solar Supercar that has rejected the paddle shift for “a lightning fast automatic gearbox that gets that power to the ground quicker than we ever have before.” It was an April Fools joke that just added to the entertainment the teams always provide to this great Australian racing category.