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Breakthrough Adelaide win sinking in for rookie Payne

Supercars
27 Nov
For the second year in a row, a first-year driver took out one of the biggest wins in Supercars
3 mins by James Pavey
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  • Breakthrough Adelaide win starting to sink in for rookie Matt Payne

  • 21-year-old Payne crushed the field in Sunday's 2023 finale

  • Second year in a row that a rookie has won the final race of the season

A breakthrough victory at the VAILO Adelaide 500 is starting to sink in for Penrite Racing rookie Matt Payne, who crushed the field in the 2023 finale.

Payne, 21, was never headed in Sunday’s Race 28 and claimed victory over Red Bull Ampol Racing driver Broc Feeney by over eight seconds.

The race was a changing of the guard of sorts, given both drivers are aged 21. It was in Adelaide where Feeney, last year, won his first career race, also as a rookie.

Where Feeney was forced to deny Chaz Mostert, Payne left his rivals for dust after out-dragging champion-elect Brodie Kostecki to the first corner.

Final lap: Payne sails to maiden win as Kostecki wins title

“I think it is, actually,” Payne said on the Schick Cool Down Lap podcast when asked if his win was starting to sink in.

“It’s been a hard year for us as a team, we were challenged a little bit in the middle part. To get this win, and for Dave to get the win at the last round, I couldn’t be more happier for the guys.

“We’ve put in so much effort and hard work and everyone’s been working so hard behind the scenes.“So to reward them with a win in the last race is the best present.”

A childhood friend of 2023 Formula One debutant Liam Lawson, Payne cut his teeth in karts before rising through the ranks, winning the 2021 Toyota Racing Series before shifting to tin tops.

Payne impressed in his first full-time Dunlop Series season in 2022, which was enough for the Groves to through the youngster to the main game wolves this season.

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Penrite Racing struggled in the first half of the season despite two podiums for David Reynolds, with Payne scoring two top 10s — both in Perth — in his first 19 starts.

matt payne adelaide trophy 2023

After that, he nailed six top 10s in the final nine races, headlined by victory in Adelaide. Reynolds, meanwhile, won on the Gold Coast and ended the year on the podium in the final four races.

The victory, also Payne's first podium, helped the Kiwi to his first trophy since he finished on the round podium in the Dunlop Series finale in Adelaide last December.

When asked where his victory sits in performances in his career, Payne replied: “It’s definitely up there.

“I tried not to make many mistakes. My version of a mistake is missing a kerb by half a tyre, or something like that.

“The car was so fast, man. It was driving itself out there. Jack [Bell] my engineer set it up so well, that helped so much.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve had a trophy, it’s been a year since I’ve had a trophy.

“I was thinking the other week, ‘Damn, I haven’t won any trophies lately, it sucks’… I want to put it in the trophy cabinet and start filling it up."

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