Plans firming for 2023 Grove Supercars line-up

Matt Payne (left) and Brenton Grove (right)

The identity of Grove Racing’s Supercars driving line-up for next year is firming up, with team owner Stephen Grove all but confirming one of its current drivers is poised to depart.

It’s not a secret that Grove Racing junior Matthew Payne has been tipped for a main game seat at the Braeside squad.

Team owner, Grove, has indicated that promotion is in fact a ‘definite’ for 2023.

It’s which of the two possible seats Payne will fill in the operation and the identity of his team-mate which is perhaps the bigger question mark.

When asked by Speedcafe.com about their 2023 driving line-up, Grove said: “At this stage, Matt will definitely be in the car.”

Given the near certainty from Grove around Payne, it means either Lee Holdsworth or David Reynolds will be out of their seat next year.

Speedcafe.com understands discussions are in progress for one current driver to remain.

A final decision on exactly which names will be on the team’s Ford Mustangs next year is not expected for a few months still.

Reynolds is best-placed of the team’s current drivers in the championship points sitting seventh, while Holdsworth is 13th.

Grove Racing struggled to extract car pace in Townsville, with both drivers outside the top 15 on Saturday.

Overnight changes yielded gains for Reynolds on Sunday who was able to recover to 11th in Race 20, though Holdsworth was only 23rd.

The 19-year-old tipped for one of the seats, Payne, is a front-runner in the Dunlop Super2 Series and led the championship up until the last race in Townsville.

To aid seat time and improve race-craft, the New Zealander has also been driving a number of GT cars, including an upcoming 24 Hours of Spa start.

Grove feels the adaption between GT cars and Supercars is a good test for the youngster, who is also part of Grove Racing’s co-driver line-up for the Repco Bathurst 1000.

“I think there’s an adaption [for him], you know he’s been driving a GT car which you can obviously pick up the throttle really quickly,” added Grove.

“You don’t have to work through trying to get the right amount of throttle [like you do] on a Supercar and burn up the tyres.

“There’s a little bit of adaption there but our plan is still to run him in Bathurst as a co-driver and then he will be in the seat next year.”

For Payne, it’s all about keeping a cool head.

“It’s good to know that I’m obviously in a good position for the seat next year with the guys in Penrite Racing,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“I try not to think about that stuff too much, I just try keep a focus on [Super2].”

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