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'Local' rookie Payne ready for first crack at Gold Coast 500

Supercars
18 Oct
Kiwi-born Penrite Racing rookie Matt Payne is all set for his debut at his 'home track'
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  • GC local Matt Payne set to start first Supercars race at Surfers Paradise

  • Payne relocated from New Zealand to the GC in 2021

  • Penrite Racing rookie joined MSR driver Jack Le Brocq on Hopo ferry

Standout rookie Matt Payne is all set for his debut at his 'home track' at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500.

After relocating to the Gold Coast from New Zealand in 2021, the Penrite Racing Ford Mustang youngster will next take part in his first races at the famous Boost Mobile Gold Coast 5000 course, a mere 20 minutes from where he now lives.

The 21-year-old emerging talent, who sits 16th in the standings heading into the Gold Coast 500, says he has been following races at the iconic Surfers Paradise circuit for years.

With just over a week to go, Payne says he’s excited to take to the course where teammate David Reynolds claimed pole position for the Saturday race in 2022.

"To finally drive around the Gold Coast circuit will be pretty special. And now that I live just 20 minutes from the track, it'll be even more special," he said.

“It's definitely one of the challenging tracks of the category and I can't wait."

Payne was asked in the media conference how he feels after racing fellow Kiwi and 2023 Repco Bathurst 1000 champion Shane van Gisbergen in his first season as a full-time championship driver.

Le Brocq and Payne take in the Gold Coast sights

“I have definitely looked up to SVG. Sort of 2010s period I was watching a lot of Supercars then and a lot of Shane was coming up," Payne said of van Gisbergen.

“So, yeah, just to see him on TV and to get to know him a little bit now and sort of be friends with him is pretty cool.

“Like, I think it's one of those things where, when you're racing them on the track, he’s just another driver but to know I'm off the track and see him, yeah, it's pretty cool.”

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He was also asked how he rates his first season in the Repco Supercars Championship with the Grove Racing outfit: “It's been really good. Really good this year.

“We started strong at the start of the year. We did a lot of work before the season to try and make sure our cars were nice and quick, and they were.

“But then we sort of fell off in the middle and lost our speed a little bit. The last three rounds have been really good for me and the team.

“It's a big step up from Super2, what I did last year. There's been a lot to learn, but I feel like now I'm sort of getting to terms with it and figuring out what's important and what's not to be fast.”

Why 2013 winner Reynolds loves the Gold Coast

Payne joined fellow 'Queenslander' Jack Le Brocq for a ride on the Hopo ferry service yesterday.

The drivers rode the ferry service on Tuesday, one of the free transport options for fans heading to next week’s Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500.

Ticketholders for the race who buy a single-day Hopo ferry pass will receive free travel on the other event days.

Guests are invited to show their Hopo pass with their GC500 pass to receive further free Hopo travel over the course of the event. Ferries are fully accessible, with stops at Surfers Paradise, HOTA, Marina Mirage, Broadwater Parklands and Sea World.

The Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. 

Tickets to the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 are available at supercars.com and Ticketek.

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