Matthew Payne says his focus is on launching a career in GT racing, with his rookie Porsche Carrera Cup season the first step.
The 18-year-old Kiwi is competing with Earl Bamber Motorsport in this year’s Australian championship, which has its third round this weekend in Townsville.
Earlier this year, Payne broke out onto the racing scene.
The largely unknown karting sensation dominated the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, finishing on the podium in every race en route to lifting the championship trophy.
He has since made waves in the Australian Porsche scene, claiming a pole position in his second round and executing a remarkable drive from 19th to fifth at The Bend.
He says the switch from karts and then TRS to a Carrera Cup car was a big step. However, he is comfortable with how he is performing currently.
“We have had the first two rounds and it has been a big roller coaster I’d say,” Payne said.
“But we seemed to have got the hang of the Porsche now.
“It’s a little bit difficult to drive but I seemed to have gotten used to it now and its going pretty good.”
Most budding drivers often have the same ambition: to one day race in Formula 1 – the most elite single-seater championship.
Yet, for Payne, his focus is on making a name for himself in GT racing.
His idol is two-time Le Mans winner and fellow New Zealander Earl Bamber, a strong backer of Payne’s junior career.
“I’ve been pretty focused on GT cars for a while now,” he said.
“I think every young kid’s dream is Formula 1, and it was for a long time [for me]. But I sort of came to be realistic about that option and thought I was probably a bit too tall.
“So, I scratched that and started to watch GT cars, and they were awesome.
“I would like to go down that route, just more endurance racing as well.
“I look up to Earl Bamber a lot. He has got a good gig with what he’s doing, and it’d be awesome to do that.”
Despite his GT focus, Payne also suggested that a test in a Supercar is a possibility, even as soon as later this year.
While not his ultimate goal, he says he wouldn’t back down from any opportunity down the touring car route.
“I’m sure one stage we’ll have a test [in a Supercar] or something like that.
“I am more GT focused at the moment, but opportunities could come along. You never know.”
This weekend’s event at Townsville is Payne’s first time racing on a street circuit, something he is excited to tackle.
“First street track for me, so it should be pretty interesting.
“I think I just got to go out there and have a go really. Can’t do much more than that.”