Matt Payne is undaunted by the reality of his Adelaide Super2 debut coming with the added pressure of a title fight.
Payne is one of five drivers in contention for this year’s Dunlop Super2 Series title.
The Grove junior is just 132 points behind Declan Fraser, who leads Zak Best by 75 points.
Payne is one of four drivers — with Fraser, Best and Jaylyn Robotham — to have led the standings in 2022.
The Kiwi took the lead when Best crashed out in Perth, but his own crash in Townsville handed the lead to Fraser.
Fraser is now in the box seat to win the title, although main game-bound Payne knows everyone will be going for it in Adelaide.
“It’s been going really well so far,” Payne said of his 2022 season.
“I’ve made a couple of mistakes this year which I probably shouldn’t have done.
“Adelaide’s going to be pretty fun, everyone enjoys that track.
“I’ve never been [to Adelaide], first time for me. But everyone’s going to be going for it.
“It’s certainly going to be an action-packed weekend.”
Payne will move into the main series with Penrite Racing next year.
The New Zealander will race alongside David Reynolds, who is 17 years his senior.
Payne has had strong backing of the Groves since he debuted in Supercar machinery late last year.
He quickly adapted and has taken multiple wins and poles in Super2, and finished sixth in October’s Repco Bathurst 1000.
Payne raced with Lee Holdsworth, who will retire at season’s end.
Payne impressed in the Great Race, his main game debut
Prior to his official confirmation as a 2023 driver, Payne earned praise from team owner Stephen Grove.
Heading to Bathurst, when asked if Payne is ready for the main game, Grove said: “We do.
“There’s not much racing in the world that’s as close as Supercars.
“Door-to-door, first to the last car, they race really hard. He’s young, he’s quick.
"The faster we can get him through the journeys and experiences that he needs to get.
“The Safety Cars, maybe starting off the front row, how you do that, warming your tyres up, making sure your tyres last.
“They’re the things we need to teach him, and teach him quickly.
“We need to get him in the car, and we need to get him as much experience as we can."