Grove: It's easy to forget Payne is so young

18 Apr
In just 14 rounds since his full-time debut last year, Matt Payne has an Adelaide 500 win, two more podiums and a pole position
  • Brenton Grove excited by rising star Matt Payne

  • Payne seventh in the points after two rounds in 2024

  • Rising star already has a win, three podiums and a pole in Supercars

Matt Payne is giving Penrite Racing cause for excitement amid the Kiwi rising star’s rapid rise in Supercars, says Penrite Racing CEO Brenton Grove.

In just 14 rounds since his full-time debut last year, Payne has an Adelaide 500 win, two more podiums and a pole position to his name. Only Broc Feeney (21) and Ryan Wood (20) are younger than Payne, who will turn 22 in October.

Payne could have added two more wins at the last-start Grand Prix, but collided with Ford rivals Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert while disputing the lead.

Where Payne could have been in the thick of the championship fight, two poor results in Melbourne has the 21-year-old over 200 points down. However, Grove stressed his young driver still has a “long way to go,” which excites the team.

“Matt's learning still,” Grove said on Thursday in New Zealand.

Race Radio 2024: Waters and Payne collide at AGP

“It's easy to forget that he's so young and he's only 14 or 15 rounds into his Supercars career.

“We know as a team that Matt is a progression and there's a long way to go with Matt too, which makes us really excited with what he's doing now, so we couldn't be happier with Matt.

“He analysed the [Grand Prix] weekend alongside us and what we could have done better as a team, and maybe where we could have done things differently in the races.”

Payne and teammate Richie Stanaway are part of a five-strong Kiwi attack at this weekend’s ITM Taupō Super400.

The former has caught Grove’s eye in recent races, with Payne further embedding himself in the team and becoming more comfortable.

payne agp 2024 post race

For Grove, Payne has yet to reach his ceiling, and hopes his young driver will be “standing tall” in front of family and friends this weekend.

“He's got a long way to go and that's really cool because he's so determined, he's working so hard, he's driving a lot in our GT programme as well,” Grove said.

“He’s doing everything he can to better himself, and he's so much more comfortable in the team environment now.

“He's working really well with the engineers, he's developing the car, and he's enjoying all the elements of it, so who knows where he can go?

“We'd like to get some more race wins than what we've had but I think, this weekend, he'll hopefully be standing tall.”

Track action at Taupō will commence with 90 minutes of practice on Friday.

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