How standout rookie Payne stacks up against rivals

20 Mar 2023
Kiwi young gun's place in first-race performances
3 mins by James Pavey

Your very first full-time Supercars race is as hard as it gets — but Supercars’ rookie class of 2023 proved a shining light in Newcastle.

Matt Payne, Declan Fraser and Cameron Hill made their solo debuts at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 earlier this month.

Payne and Fraser finished 12th and 13th in Race 1 in their Ford Mustangs, with Hill 20th in his Chevrolet Camaro.

When compared to their rivals, Payne and Fraser in particular put up some very strong performances.

In fact, only one driver in the 2023 field — Broc Feeney — managed to bring home a top 10 finish in his very first solo race.

Feeney ended his first race with Red Bull Ampol Racing in Sydney last year in ninth position.

A year earlier, Brodie Kostecki made his solo debut in Bathurst, no less — but finished 11th in the first 250km race.

Then, there’s Payne, who was classified 12th in the Newcastle opener, having crossed the line 14th before both Red Bull Ampol Camaros were disqualified.

The New Zealander came home 14th on Sunday despite fighting illness, an effort that impressed Penrite Racing teammate David Reynolds.

“Being a skinny bloke, fast metabolism, it affects me more than a bigger person,” said Reynolds, who finished third in Race 2.

“The heat upsets me a lot. I’ve got to deal with it. “You’ve got to save a thought for Matt Payne — on the warm-up lap, he spewed in his helmet.

“Thank god there was a red flag, he had to go in for a new suit and a new helmet.


"There were chunks of chicken and rice everywhere apparently in his car. Poor fella."

Payne, Fraser and Hill are all testing at The Bend Motorsport Park on Tuesday ahead of next week’s Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint.

Jack Le Brocq — who sits eighth in the championship — has also joined Matt Stone Racing teammate Hill.

Le Brocq is allowed up to 10 laps as a non-rookie or second-year driver.

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint on March 30-April 2.

Every 2023 driver's first full-time race result



Broc Feeney

9th, Sydney 2022

Brodie Kostecki

11th, MP500 2021

Matt Payne

12th, Newcastle 2023

David Reynolds

13th, Adelaide 2009

Scott Pye

13th Adelaide 2013

Declan Fraser

13th, Newcastle 2023

Will Davison

14th, Adelaide 2006

Mark Winterbottom

15th, Adelaide 2004

Chaz Mostert**

15th, Perth 2013

Cam Waters***

15th, Adelaide 2016

Will Brown

16th, MP500 2021

Anton De Pasquale

19th, Adelaide 2018

Shane van Gisbergen**

20th, Oran Park 2007

Jack Le Brocq

20th, Adelaide 2018

Jack Smith*

20th, Adelaide 2020

Thomas Randle*

20th, Sydney 2022

Cameron Hill

20th, Newcastle 2023

Bryce Fullwood

21st, Adelaide 2020

Nick Percat***

22nd, Adelaide 2014

Todd Hazelwood*

22nd, Adelaide 2018

Andre Heimgartner

23rd, Adelaide 2015

Macauley Jones*

23rd, Adelaide 2019****

James Courtney

DNF, Adelaide 2006

Tim Slade

DNF, Adelaide 2009

James Golding*

DNF, Adelaide 2018

*first full-time result, not wildcard result

**made solo debut mid-season

***first full-time result, not stand-in for injured driver

****DNS first race after practice crash

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