Two days of BNT NZ Touring Cars racing action at this time of the year in New Zealand is a big ask. While the weather gods were kind on  April 16, come April 17  there was a swimming pool on turn one of Pukekohe Park Raceway, a leisure lake down the back straight where jet boating could have taken place, and a waterfall on Ford Mountain. 

Apart from that excitement, the two-day race meeting was a huge success, with Simon Evans claiming outright victory over the two days with two wins, and Nick Ross exciting crowds as he took the win during race three on Sunday. Race three wasn’t full length, however, as the safety of the drivers was questioned as crowds, teams, and drivers all saw some of the worst conditions at Pukekohe to date. The call was made, and, after only three dangerous laps, the race was ended. Unfortunately for Evans, severe traction loss resulted in a poor start during race three, and a seventh place was all that could be mustered — however, it was enough to take the weekend win. 

Class two saw plenty of action as well, with Brock Cooley taking the weekend win, followed by Brad Lathrope, and Steve Taylor. All eyes were on Lathrope during the event, and for good reason. The young gun managed his first V8 win ever, thanks to a bit of luck, but mostly strong skill and determination behind the wheel of his Ford Falcon. 

Besides the NZ Touring Car classes, there was a massive range of entertainment on the wet and dry tarmac over the weekend. 

Troy and Ben Jenkins, current Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship drivers, were making full use of the opportunity to test out Pukekohe Park Raceway in the lead-up to the final round. This testing time out on the track could prove vital for set-ups and confidence in the last round. 

As well as cars, there were utes and trucks out on track, too. The SsangYong racing utes were out in full force, as well as an array of Super Trucks. What global warming?

Check out the epic gallery below, photographed by the talented Matt Smith. 

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.