The handling of a car of this width will always be compromised in the UK by dint of it being left-hand drive. It places the driver in the worst part of the road and makes the car feel less wieldy than it otherwise might.
Although the Corvette rides well, which in turn makes it a reasonable cruiser, it never quite shrinks around you with familiarity, while the impression that the suspension has been softened to mask some body flex is still present, too.
Steering that’s too quick to respond off the straight-ahead (though not too rapid overall, at 2.5 turns from lock to lock) does it few favours, either. But getting a car on to a wide circuit usually overcomes these obstacles.
In the Corvette’s case, it does, to an extent. On a large, fast track, this car comes into its element. The engine makes the right (and extremely loud) noises, the body is well controlled over crests and bumps and the handling follows a predictable, friendly natured, front-engined, rear-driven path, with understeer quelled by a trailing brake or throttle and oversteer induced by getting on the gas early.
It’s impressively capable and there’s plenty of grip, as evidenced by it holding 1.15g through a corner on our handling circuit. Even so, sudden body movements can, at times, make this feel like a 1570kg car. And when the Corvette does start sliding, it’s not always the smoothest at pulling itself straight again. On narrower tracks, or on the road, the car’s size and its steering wheel location never quite leave the back of your mind, either.
The Stingray’s track-tuned chassis makes it an impressive drive on the right circuit — one that is open, fast and accommodating to wider, longer-legged machines. MIRA’s Dunlop circuit isn’t really that kind of track, but even here the Corvette demonstrated very high and well balanced grip levels, fine body control and stability under braking and enduring stopping power.
The precise and controlled handling inspires lots of confidence up to about nine-tenths effort levels. Select Race in the traction control’s Track sub-menu and you’ll find the electronic driver aids are both effective and fairly unintrusive.
Turn everything off, though, and the car’s manners change a bit. Power-on, mid-corner oversteer is to be expected, but it isn’t as controllable as it might be, with the steering weighting up with some malevolence as the car starts to yaw and the breakaway accelerating quite abruptly. More difficult still is the way it exits a slide. We suspect the engine mounts are quite flexible to improve refinement, but that means the engine shifts on them as you throttle off, which unsettles the car.
Braking is excellent in the dry and acceptable enough in the wet, given the ultra-low-profile Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.