Payne relishes ‘very entertaining’ first Supercars test

Matt Payne at Winton Motor Raceway

Prospective Repco Supercars Championship driver Matthew Payne has lapped up his first test in a Nissan Altima with Kelly Grove Racing today.

Payne drove the VK56-powered touring car at Winton Motor Raceway in preparation for a partial Dunlop Super2 Series campaign to close out 2021.

In all, the Gold Coast-based driver completed 80 laps of the circuit and was supported by incumbent Kelly Grove Racing driver David Reynolds at the test.

It comes as the 18-year-old gets teed up to replace Andre Heimgartner, who will depart Kelly Grove Racing at the end of this year to join Brad Jones Racing.

“I just drove a Supercar for the first time and it’s pretty cool. Obviously, there’s a bit going on inside of the car, it’s very entertaining and pretty difficult to tame but I loved it,” said Payne.

“It’s a bit different to the Porsche, you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel in the Cup Car, but it all seems to have come naturally and I’ve really enjoyed it.

“It was great to not only drive the car, but work with the team.”

Payne also had his first chance to check out the Braeside base where Kelly Grove Racing houses its Ford Mustangs and Nissan Altimas.

“They’re an awesome bunch of guys passionate about their job and I can tell already they want success,” said Payne.

“Getting to tour the factory was a cool opportunity and to see the facilities first-hand was awesome.

“I think we’re starting to work really well with each other and we’re building a good base.”

Payne, who is also competing in Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia, recently signed to the Grove Junior Team.

Team co-owner Brendon Grove, who has two years of Super2 Series experience, said he was encouraged by Payne’s early pace.

“Matt has fitted in well with the team so far and his ability to pick up the car has been quite impressive,” said Grove.

“It’s really nothing we didn’t expect, hence why he’s in the Grove Junior Team programme.

“The way he has been able to fit in with the team, make the most of every run and improve quite significantly is really encouraging for the future.”

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