That power really comes to life once you’re invited to drive like no one’s watching. Seriously, it takes a little while to get comfortable revving the engine, spinning the tires and screeching around corners before you stop checking your mirrors for lurking police officers. Fear not, the instructors reassured us, you can’t hurt the car. Testing out the “launch mode,” I firmly press both gas and brake until I get the signal, then release the brake to feel instant acceleration—0 to 60 MPH in 3.2 seconds. The surge felt as if I was shot out of cannon.
And that was just a straight line. How about nixing the traction control on hosed down asphalt? There’s a unique kind of euphoria that comes with skidding and spinning across wet pavement in a sexy sports car—it’s James Bond without all the bullets. But what really surprised me was that the car (even with an inexperienced driver like myself at the wheel) handled incredibly well. It was steady yet smooth, not jarring. And for the record, I never knocked down one orange cone, thank you very much.
But just when you’re feeling like you’ve got this Stingray conquered, you head out onto the race track. Miles of smooth concrete that’s been bent and twisted into sharp corners, snake-like curves and glorious straightaways just begging you to gun it. This is where the C8 ‘Vette really shines. Even for automotive neophytes like myself, there’s a primal urge to harness the power of this car and drive it as fast as you can.
And it helps you do just that. It almost makes it easy. I say almost, because our training instantly came in handy. And it definitely took some core strength to brace myself while accelerating out of a turn. You hear the tires squeal and maybe notice the faintest slip in the rear of the car, but you feel in complete control. The Stingray’s mid-engine design not only helps with weight distribution but the shorter hood adds visibility and makes it possible to precisely position the car exactly where you want it to drive.
For me, that was chasing the lead car on the track, driven by a professional race car driver. He showed me the ropes and provided a path to follow so I’d know just when to shift to get the biggest boost in power or where to clip the apex of a turn when carving up a corner in order to shave a few seconds on my lap times.