Kiwi Karting champion Matthew Payne has been selected as the recipient of 2021 Team Porsche New Zealand Scholarship to race in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship.
Payne will race in an all-black New Zealand-inspired livery for the eight-round series which kicks off at the Australian Grand Prix next March. The Championship will also cross the Tasman later in the year in support of the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at either Pukekohe Park or Hampton Downs.
Payne has claimed multiple New Zealand Kartsport titles over his young career, most notably winning the KZ2 NZ National Sprint Championship last year. However, his graduation to the Porsche Carrera Cup championship will mark his first fully fledged campaign in a race car.
The Team Porsche New Zealand scholarship was championed by 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber. Bamber has been a factory Porsche driver in the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
The 30-year-old will play a pivotal role in the development of Payne across the youngster’s debut Carrera Cup campaign. His own Earl Bamber Motorsport team will also be competing in the once-marque series with a multi-car team of their own.
“To be the driver selected by Porsche New Zealand for their scholarship at this age is something very special,” Payne said.
“It will be awesome to be mentored by such an accomplished driver and team, and I will take this opportunity with both hands and make them proud.
“I’ve always wanted to race Porsche cars and race the Australian Championship. It’s a real privilege. It’s a step toward my ultimate goal of racing GT Endurance cars at famous tracks like Le Mans, Daytona, Bathurst, Nürburgring and many more.”
Bamber says he is looking forward to seeing the success of the scholarship in the long-run.
“We are really excited about the Team Porsche NZ Scholarship,” Bamber said.
“It is something we’re proud to offer, and it gives a solid platform for young Kiwi drivers to aspire to from karts and other national championships. It’s about providing a path-way to a professional motorsports career.”