Payne joins decorated list of Kiwi Supercars winners

03 Dec
Matt Payne's breakthrough Adelaide win helped the young Kiwi join a decorated list of New Zealand drivers
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Matt Payne joined decorated list of New Zealand drivers to win

  • Payne closed out 2023 with victory at the VAILO Adelaide 500

  • Aucklander the 14th Kiwi to win a championship race

Matt Payne’s breakthrough victory at last weekend’s VAILO Adelaide 500 helped the young Kiwi join a decorated list of New Zealand drivers to win a Supercars race.

Auckland-born Payne, who turned 21 in October, dominated Race 28 last Sunday to become just the 14th Kiwi driver to win a championship race.

The Penrite Racing rookie defeated fellow 21-year-old Broc Feeney, and became the first new Kiwi to win a race since Andre Heimgartner in 2021.

New Zealand has a strong history to Supercars, with the country producing four drivers’ champions for a total of 11 championships.

payne celebrate adelaide 2023 roof

Jim Richards was the first Kiwi to win a championship race, winning the first of his four titles in 1985 with JPS Team BMW. By 1985, Richards was already a three-time Bathurst winner, but the Great Race first became a championship race in 1999. 

Richards won 22 of his 23 championship races between 1985 and 1994, before winning the 2002 Bathurst 1000 with Mark Skaife at 55 years of age.

Son Steven won 10 championship races, his first being the very first points-paying Bathurst 1000 with countryman Greg Murphy in 1999. Richards junior won Bathurst five times, twice with Craig Lowndes in 2015 and 2018.

Murphy remains the most successful driver without a championship. Murphy won 28 championship races between 1997 and 2005, notably dominating on home soil at Pukekohe.

Only two Kiwis have won more races than Murphy — Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin. Van Gisbergen (80) and McLaughlin (56) combine for 136 of 230 wins taken by Kiwis, and account for six of 11 championships.

van gisbergen stanaway peter brock trophy

Then, there’s Robbie Francevic, who won the 1986 title in a Volvo. Francevic still holds the record for being the oldest Australian Touring Car Champion, being aged 45 when he sailed to title glory.

Payne will be one of four Kiwis on the 2024 grid, and in a sign of what’s to come, one of three aged under 30. Payne will again race with Heimgartner, who will embark on his first season with Brad Jones Racing and will turn 29 in 2024.

Ryan Wood, who will turn 20 next week, will rise to the main game with Walkinshaw Andretti United, with Bathurst winner Richie Stanaway returning alongside Payne at Penrite Racing.

Kiwi fans will get to watch the homegrown quartet at the all-new ITM Taupō Super400 on April 19-21 next year. Tickets for the event are on sale now.

The 2024 Repco Supercars Championship will commence at the Thrifty Bathurst 500 at Mount Panorama on February 23-25.


New Zealand drivers to win ATCC/Supercars races

80: Shane van Gisbergen

56: Scott McLaughlin

28: Greg Murphy

23: Jim Richards

13: Fabian Coulthard

10: Steven Richards

8: Paul Radisich

5: Robbie Francevic

2: Richie Stanaway

1: Craig Baird, Simon Wills, Jason Richards, Andre Heimgartner, Matt Payne

New Zealand drivers to win an ATCC/Supercars championship

4: Jim Richards

3: Shane van Gisbergen, Scott McLaughlin

1: Robbie Francevic

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