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Payne: I’m ready for Supercars step up

Matthew Payne

Matthew Payne is backing himself for any challenge that comes his way in the Repco Supercars Championship ahead of an expected debut with Penrite Racing next year.

Team boss Stephen Grove has made no secret of his desire to elevate Payne into a main game seat at his team, going as far as to say it’s a ‘definite’.

Nineteen-year-old Payne is a Grove Racing junior driver under the family-owned team’s support and guidance.

The New Zealander is third in the Dunlop Super2 Series, having also previously raced in Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia.

While fresh-faced, Payne is confident the time is right to make the step up.

“There’s obviously a lot of talk about people coming in and doing the sport; there’s a lot of people that have been doing Supercars for 10-15 years in the field,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“I’m always up for a challenge, so I’d say that for sure I’m ready, I don’t think that there’s anything missing.

“Obviously the whole thing and this year is just learning about the cars, I haven’t done a lot of miles in the Supercar so still learning quite a bit about it and just racing them is different to anything I’ve done before.

“We’re getting along with it and yeah we’re getting better every time we go out.”

Although no official announcement has been made on 2023, Payne is already well entrenched in the Braeside squad.

The Kiwi will co-drive for the Groves at this October’s Repco Bathurst 1000 in what will be his Great Race debut.

Payne described it as a dream come true.

“I’ve been watching Bathurst for so long and it’s great to finally be on the grid for that one,” he enthused.

“I’m going to work pretty hard towards it, I want to make sure I do my job well and I think we’ve got a pretty good shot this year with how the team has been building.

“I’m going to do lots of training and preparation for it just to be as good as I can for the weekend.”

Payne will be back in action in the Dunlop Super2 Series at the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint from August 19-21.

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