Close this search box.

Special GM NZ Event at Pukekohe racetrack

When GMSV NZ invited us to the iconic Pukekohe racetrack to drive two Isuzu trucks and the 2022 Corvette C8, you can bet that we were excited. Not only have I never driven a huge Isuzu 8×4 truck before (the closest being a Silverado), but to be allowed to drive one on such hallowed tarmac and then play with an Isuzu tipper and a thunderous V8 Vette too – this was truly bucket list stuff.

The line up was a simple mixture of, big, bigger and biggest both in physical size and of course, horsepower. Over the course of the morning, we were to get to know these machines well, with expert tuition and tutorial and first hand experience behind the wheel.

GMSV and Isuzu, Pukekohe Raceway, Pukekohe, Auckland, 16-17 August 2021. Photo: Simon Watts/

First cab off the rank for me was the Isuzu N-Series NQR 500 TIPPER with a 5,193cc engine (140kW/513Nm) and an updated suite of safety aids. 

In terms of size, the N-Series is very manageable for those of us with car licences and in fact, for many it will be the type of truck to help get your Class 2. The cabin is open and well laid out, with new and improved seats and car-like driveability. 

Getting settled and on the move was simple, (obviously there was very little other traffic on the track – just a vette and a super sized truck) and very easy to master. Part of the improvements to the new N-Series is the addition of forward view cameras and radar, which means that it picks up potential risks both near and far, so perfect for central city driving AND open road cruising. The tripper tub was great fun too.

Next up was the Isuzu GIGA-Series CYJ 530 with a 15,681cc engine (382kW/2256Nm) and a far improved suite of driver and safety features. 

I’m not exactly what you’d call tall, but climbing up the three steps to the lofty cabin was almost nose-bleed inducing, but the view ‘from up there’ was almighty and powerful – just like the engine.

A quick lesson from the Isuzu team experts about the key instrumentation and ‘how to drive’ and we were off. Much like the N-Series, the GIGA is actually very intuitive to use. Thankfully its 18-speed AMT box did all the hard work of changing gears, pulling off in third and skip jumping into double figures, which meant that all I had to do was steer the big unit.

We did several laps of the track as I got better acquainted with the truck and I have to say, building confidence behind the wheel was an easy affair – without a trailer on the back though. 

I did have a brain freeze moment near the end of my stint though, as I opted to enter the pits via a very narrow pit lane entrance, but with a little (ok a lot) of concentration and a snail’s pace, no mirrors or fenders were harmed.

Last but by no means least, the Corvette C8 with 6.2L LT2 V8 engine (369kW/637Nm) and an exhaust note that would wake the dead.

GMSV and Isuzu, Pukekohe Raceway, Pukekohe, Auckland, 16-17 August 2021. Photo: Simon Watts/

Having driven the C8 before and becoming a big fan, I was really looking forward to taking to the track in this supercar and it didn’t disappoint. Expertly guided by racing driver Mike Eady (TrackTime) we unleashed the Vette’s V8 fury down the back straight and played with all manner of drive modes – what’s more, it was all caught on its internal telemetrics camera!

The whole morning was an experience to remember, with the N-Series being good but the Vette being better. Of course taking to the track in a sportscar was going to take the top honours for me BUT I must say it was a photo finish between that and the GIGA.

Pics and vid supplied by Simon Watts – Photographer/Director BWmedia photography Ltd

Share your love


Support our advertisers

Paying bills

Ads from the Googles

Support our advertisers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *