Found this on the AC website which cast light onto how manual/auto gears affect speed in AC
One of the devs posted this on Race Department
"We designed it in a way that the less assists you use the more the system forces you to drive realistically and the more realistically you drive, the faster the system let you go.
So: automatic gearbox + autoblip + auto cut + auto clutch -> easiest -> slower manual gearbox + paddles + autoclutch + autoblip - no autocut -> less easy -> a bit faster manual gearbox + paddles - no autoclutch - no autoblip -> hard -> fast manual H shifter -> manual clutch -> harder -> faster"
inthebagbud - your host! 1st finish 1st if your not comfortable with the car you will not be fast