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Years ago, my wife and latest son – he’s 24 now – stopped at a Starbucks. As we parked up the street, a 2010 Audi R8 Spider V10 stopped in front of the store. As the R8 is a snazzy car, even now, we hung around to see who was driving. My son figured it would be a player for the Maple Leafs; my wife was betting on an Argo. The door on the driver’s side popped open and . . .

. . . three minutes later, a guy who had to be 90 and needed two canes to maintain his balance, managed to get out of the car and stand up straight. I am not exaggerating.

“Only young guys should own a car like that,” said my son.

“Only old guys can afford them,” said my wife.

Which is why I jumped at the chance to test the 2021 Mid-Engine Chevrolet Corvette Stingray when General Motors of Canada sent me an invitation. I mean, both my son and wife were wrong. I’m not a young guy and I don’t have to be old and rich to own this Corvette, which start at $67,898 (the coupe) and $76,898 (the convertible). Can you believe it? The Audi that the really old guy was driving still goes for more than $100,000, used, and I can get a brand-new Stingray for a lot less than that.

Now, I have sympathy for that gentlemen taking three minutes (or so) to get out of the R8 Spider. Low-to-the-ground sports cars are wonderful when you’re a dashing 20-year-old but become challenging to enter and exit as you age. For me, getting in the Corvette was a bit of a trick but I could still do it without too much difficulty. Getting out was something else. In the end, it’s easier to crawl out than to do anything else. Which is fine when you‘re in your own driveway but not so good in the parking lot at Loblaws.

When I got the car, I had this brilliant idea. I would have a “road” and “track” review. Two people would contribute. I would do the road part and my friend, Ron Fellows, would test it on the track he co-owns, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Fellows, a Member of the Order of Canada, was keen to help me out but the COVID-19 lockdown prevented us from using the track at CTMP (which some people still call Mosport). So, we had to wait.

Meantime, I drove the car around Mississauga and out on Hwy 401. I have to say right off that it is a gem. It is, in a word, gorgeous to look at. The interior is equally attractive. The driver’s cockpit is close-knit and efficient, and you feel like you’re sitting in the cockpit of a fighter jet.

The 6.2-litre, normally aspirated small-block V8, which is mounted mid-ship (instead of up front like every other Corvette) churns out 495 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission can take all that from zero-to-100 kilometres in three seconds and it tops out at more than 300 kilometres per hour.

2021 Chevrolet Corvette

2021 Chevrolet Corvette

But enough from me. Fellows drove Corvettes to victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona and in so many other series that it’s tough to keep count. He is married and the father of three and lives in Mississauga with his wife, Linda. If anyone knows Corvettes, it’s Fellows. We made it onto the track at CTMP in early July and lapped the course for 45 minutes. He loves the new car and I decided to get his answers to a few questions:

How does this car really stack up?

“All sports cars, generally, are very good. But it comes down to the value proposition, which has always been the case with the Corvette. They’ve all performed way above their price range.”

Is this the best Corvette and, if so, what makes it the best?

“It’s a departure from over 60 years of front engines. But it’s been in the works for a while. They’ve maxed out everything they could possibly do with the front-engine. One of the things I’ve noticed about the mid-engine configuration is how you can actually carry speed. Because the balance of the car with the mid-engine is better, you can carry more entry speed into a corner.”

This is essentially a race car we can drive on the street, right?

“Well, the Corvettes have always performed really well on the track, but they also cater to couples who go on road trips together. For a mid-engine car, there’s a lot more luggage space than normal. That was part of the criteria. And my wife, Linda, loves this car.”

This interview has been edited for length. To read the full column and interview with Ron Fellows, please visit Wheels.ca.