Matthew Payne is eager to hit the track this weekend for the opening round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship, having completed his mandatory isolation period.
The 2021 Toyota Racing Series champion will be driving for Earl Bamber Motorsport and Team Porsche New Zealand – his livery for the season donning a silver fern on both flanks.
Payne was dominant across this year’s TRS, finishing on the podium in every race with an average finishing position of 1.7. He would win five of the nine races over the campaign.
Before making his TRS debut, Payne had only ever made two race starts in a single-seater.
He says that his strong form over the TRS season stirred up plenty of interest to run in different series’ this year.
“Winning the Toyota Series has certainly generated some interest. I am surprised actually,” Payne told Velocity News.
“We have had offers to run in different series in 2021 and 2022. But I had already committed to Team Porsche New Zealand.
“Racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup has been a long-time goal for me.”
Payne has spent the last two weeks under quarantine in Australia, which has unfortunately hindered his pre-season preparation.
“Unfortunately, my delayed travel into Australia has meant our original testing programmed had to be cancelled.
“The team has organised a test day at Winton Raceway tomorrow. This will be my first time in a Porsche.”
Speaking on his expectations for the year ahead, Payne says he is staying realistic. With a lack of experience of both the car and the circuits, the 18-year-old will be tackling the year as a learning season.
“Given the circumstances we find ourselves in, it’s important not to set your expectations to high and just focus on what you have control over,” he said.
“This is one of the most competitive Carrera Cup championships in the world. There are some very talented and experienced drivers. We need to be realistic.
“Because of our lack of track time going into round one, we will use the weekend as learning, getting more familiar and comfortable with the car and the team.
“We won’t focus on results or even lap times. Our plan was always to use my first year of the series, learning and developing, and this will now start at round one.
“As a young driver, the worst thing you can do is put pressure on yourself by setting unrealistic goals.
“We will start slowly and build up as we get more comfortable with the car and as we tick the rounds throughout the year.”
Payne will have three races this weekend at Sandown, with the first scheduled to be at 5.35pm NZT.
Main Image: Porsche New Zealand