Matthew Payne is primed as a possible candidate to replace Andre Heimgartner’s seat on next year’s Supercars grid.
Heimgartner is parting ways with Kelly Grove Racing at the end of the 2021 season.
However, it seems that there still may be a bit of Kiwi flavour in the team next year as rising talent Payne could fill the vacant seat.
Payne is unquestionably a fast driver.
He dominated this year’s Castrol Toyota Racing Series despite only having two outings in a single-seater beforehand.
He was then the recipient of the 2021 Team Porsche New Zealand scholarship to race in the Australian Porsche Carrera Cup championship.
Under the guidance of two-time Le Mans winner and fellow Kiwi Earl Bamber, Payne has had a solid start to his Carrera Cup season so far.
He claimed his first pole position in only his second round at Tailem Bend before earning a debut win at Townsville a few weeks later.
Payne is currently sixth in the Pro standings.
As for his future, Payne has long had his sights locked on a career in GT racing.
One of his idols is Bamber, who has had a successful career as a Porsche factory driver and now customer support driver.
However, Payne has signed a multi-year contract with the Grove Junior Team, putting him in an ideal position to replace Heimgartner for next year.
Given Payne is only a teenager and has never driven a Supercar, nothing is a done deal.
It could be that Payne remains racing Porsches with Grove Racing or even moves to the Super2 series that acts as a Supercars development championship.
Still, it is an exciting prospect for one of New Zealand’s most exciting potentials.
“Make sure you watch this space as we are finalising my 2022 programme, which could see me driving a variety of cars,” Payne said.
“There are options of Carrera Cup, Super2, GT or Supercars.”
Velocity News understands that more information on Payne’s next move could be announced as early as this week.