ENGLISH SPORTS CAR maker Lotus has filed a patent application with the UK patent office showing several new twin-clutch gearbox designs, all with eight speeds.
Lotus' application details a conventional twin-clutch gearbox with two concentric input shafts and a single output shaft, however designs with two separate input shafts and two separate output shafts are also shown.
The basic design is described as being adaptable to both front-engined, front-wheel-drive and mid-engined, rear-wheel drive layouts, however no mention is made of whether the mid-engine design is compatible with a longitudinally-mounted engine.
At the moment, Lotus has not officially announced whether it will use a twin-clutch gearbox in its future vehicle lineup, however some have postulated that the upcoming Esprit successor will follow in the footsteps of the Ferrari F458 and McLaren MP4-12C and use a twin-clutch transmission.
The new Esprit will be built around a stretched version of the Lotus Evora's all-aluminium chassis, and is widely tipped to be powered by a V8 engine.
Whether Lotus' twin-clutch technology can be mated to the Esprit's V8 remains to be seen, and may be dependent on whether the motor is mounted longitudinally or transversely.
Even if the upcoming Esprit successor doesn't use a quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission, the message conveyed by Lotus' patent is clear: the Hethel-based company may be a small player in the supercar market, but it's still got a few tricks up its sleeve.