As 2023 winds down, Supercars.com is looking over all 11 teams and their performances in this year's Repco Supercars Championship, continuing with Penrite Racing.
Few teams finished 2023 better than Penrite Racing, which won two of the last four races of the year, with David Reynolds scoring four straight podiums.
The season fell away after Reynolds scored a pole and podium in Newcastle, with both drivers languishing mid-table, Reynolds as low as 19th. There were brutal lows, such as DNFs for Reynolds in Sydney and Sandown, the latter due to a wheel falling off with Garth Tander behind the wheel.
Then, the tides turned. From The Bend onwards, Penrite Fords were a constant feature at the front, with Ford aero upgrades seeing Reynolds and Payne drivers to beat over one lap and in the races.
Reynolds snapped a five-year winless streak on the Gold Coast, holding out incoming champion Brodie Kostecki, no less. Then, there was rookie Payne, who turned 21 in October and reeled off Shootout appearances, strong race performances and finally, a race win.
The Groves are serious about their involvement in Supercars, quickly signing Richie Stanaway to replace Team 18-bound Reynolds, all while redeveloping its Braeside base. Then, there's the influence of Supercars legend Tander, who is proving a valuable mentor to the team.
Season results and head-to-heads
Drivers' finish: David Reynolds 9th, Matt Payne 14th
Teams' finish: 7th
Best result: 1st (David Reynolds, Gold Coast Race 26; Matt Payne, Adelaide Race 28)
Qualifying head to head: David Reynolds 15, Matt Payne 13
Race head to head: David Reynolds 16, Matt Payne 12
What’s next in 2024?
The arrival of Richie Stanaway offers a fascinating storyline for the 2024 season, and what the future holds for Penrite Racing.
Payne's victory in Adelaide was a surprise to some, but not to those at Penrite Racing. The young Kiwi was first picked up as a Grove junior in 2021 despite a lack of tin top experience, and within two years, he is a Supercars race winner.
There's no doubt Payne is a star of the future, but the Stanaway signing still carries doubt for some, given his previous troubles in the full-time fold.
However, Stanaway was faultless with Triple Eight in the enduros, culminating in a stunning Bathurst victory with Shane van Gisbergen. Should Penrite Racing unlock Stanaway's true potential and give him a fast car, watch out.
Like any other team, Penrite Racing needs its two drivers to work together and push the team forward. Reynolds managed to get the best out of Payne, and brought the quietly-spoken New Zealander out of his shell.
Stanaway arrives at a squad that has shaped its future around Payne, who signed a long-term extension. However, given the Groves want to win it all, expect the new Bathurst winner to play a big role in the destiny of the 2024 championship.