Kart whiz turned engineer hails 'very special' Payne win

15 Dec
It was a career day in Adelaide not only for Matt Payne, but his young engineer Jack Bell
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Matt Payne won first Supercars race in Adelaide last month

  • Kiwi rookie is engineered by kart champion Jack Bell

  • Payne and Bell scored first Supercars wins, and did it together

It was a career day in Adelaide not only for Matt Payne, but his young engineer Jack Bell, with both rookies hitting the big time in Supercars.

Rookie race engineer Bell oversaw Payne’s maiden Supercars victory at the VAILO Adelaide 500 last month.

Talented engineer Bell is just a year older than 21-year-old Payne, with the Monash University graduate a decorated racer in his own right.

The Victorian won the national karting championship in 2019, and also skippered Payne in the Kiwi’s first season in the Dunlop Series in 2022.

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

In a sign of what was to come on Sunday, Payne and Bell worked together after an early-race crash on Saturday to prepare a fast race car.

Payne returned on Sunday and powered to provisional pole by 0.3s, before narrowly missing out on pole position in the Top Ten Shootout to champion-elect Brodie Kostecki.

However, the Kiwi snatched the lead into Turn 1, and was never headed all the way to secure victory by nearly 10 seconds.

“Matty had an awesome race, he did a fantastic job,” Bell said on the latest Penrite Insights video.

“He got a great start, one of his best for the season, confidently entered Turn 1, got in front of Brodie, then it was eyes forward for both of us.

First lap: Payne defends from Kostecki after fast start

“We knew we had a pretty fast car, in those opening laps he was extending that lead from Brodie and the rest of the field.


“That was really advantageous for myself to be able to pick a nice fuel load for that first stop, get a little but more advantage over the field.

“To Matt’s credit, he managed the tyre and managed the stint, it was some of his best work all year I’d have to say. We were able to creep out a little bit more over the field throughout the next stint.

“Come the last stint, we had a healthy lead, and we just managed that to the end. Fantastic race, and it led to our first win together which was very special."

The win was also Payne’s first Supercars podium, with the Aucklander ending up 14th overall in the standings.

bell adelaide 2023 celebrations payne

Bell was notably impressed by how Payne was able to turn his Saturday misfortune into results on Sunday.

“We learnt a lot on the Saturday, he learnt a lot himself," Bell added.

“Come Sunday, we pretty much executed everything we needed him to do. The competition is so high, Brodie managed to find that little bit extra.

“But for Matt and I to start on the front row going into the race, we were ecstatic by that.”

Payne will be joined by Bathurst winner Richie Stanaway at Penrite Racing in 2024.

The new season will commence at the Thrifty Bathurst 500 on February 23-25. Tickets for the event are on sale now.

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