April '21

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24 THE SHOP APRIL 2021 T a l k a b o u t c a u g h t i n t h e middle—it's the simple piece between two immovable and fast-evolving objects. On the one side are engines, now easily surpassing 1,000 hp—yikes! On the other are multi-speed trans- missions built to take all the abuse you can throw at them. It's up to the lonely clutch to mate all that power with all those gear changes. Thank- fully, today's performance clutch offerings are more than up for the challenge. Manual transmission packages continue to have their loyal followings among street enthu- siasts and racers alike. And, with numerous technical advancements being achieved on both sides, it's important that shops stay up- to-date on the latest product introductions, industry trends and sales opportunities in the performance clutch market. GOING STRONG If you only paid attention to brand-new vehicle releases, you might think that man- ually shifted transmissions are soon headed for extinction. Not so, suppliers reveal. "We've seen a dramatic surge in demand for performance clutches over the last year," says Mike Norcia, sales and marketing manager for RAM Clutches in Columbia, South Carolina. "Many newer manual transmission vehicles are now in the sec- ondary market and owners are not afraid to modify them. These changes call for better and stronger clutch systems." Those popular models, he reports, include Camaro, Corvette, Mustang and Challenger, "as well as the transmission swap market, which is red-hot. Putting 5- and 6-speed transmissions in earlier- model cars is becoming the norm, and all of these require thoughtful clutch systems that provide both good drivability and the ability to handle increased power levels." Chris Bernal, VP engineering at Advanced Clutch Technology (ACT) in Lancaster, California, notes there are fewer 24 THE SHOP APRIL 2021 Engaging Content The demand for performance clutches remains strong. (Photo courtesy RAM Clutches) Enthusiasts walk their own path when mak- ing performance clutch choices for their projects or track builds. (Photo courtesy Advanced Clutch Technology) The performance clutch market continues to grab attention. By John Carollo

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