Matthew Payne feels that he can challenge the front-runners in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship with more seat time.
Having only debuted in the car with a one-day test at Winton last Thursday, Payne then headed to Sandown for round one of the 2021 season.
Qualifying 13th among a 24-strong field, the reigning Toyota Racing Series champion finished 12th in his first-ever race. The following day witnessed Payne test his skill in the wet, and he came home a commendable tenth and 16th in both races.
His results don’t suggest much on paper, yet Payne tells Velocity News he felt his rookie weekend went strongly.
“I think we had a great weekend as a team considering every aspect of it was new to me but also to everyone,” Payne said.
“I think there is a lot of potential with some more seat time in the car and understanding some elements of driving the Porsche. Earl Bamber Motorsport did a great job of helping me get up to speed as quickly as I could, which was the biggest help I could ask for.”
Payne added that he should see a rise in competitiveness as he begins to get more comfortable with the unfamiliar car.
“For sure this is a massive step for me learning a new car this season, but I see no reason why we can’t be competitive from early on,” he said.
“I know what it takes to be as quick as the front pack. If Earl Bamber Motorsport and I take steps in the right direction, I see no reason why we can’t lay some results down.”
Despite his incredible single-seater success in New Zealand over the summer, Payne has always identified GT cars as the next step in his career.
However, until last week, Payne had never set foot in a full-blown Porsche Carrera Cup 911 GT3 Cup car.
Speaking on the challenges of taming his new machine, Payne says the most challenging aspect is getting used to is how lively the car is throughout a lap.
“Personally, the car feels really good and has a fantastic overall grip and drive. It’s pretty hard to compare to anything I have driven before as nothing comes close to this.
“Sandown made it pretty difficult because of all the different elements the track has. Jumping over kerbs is tricky to get used to and just how bumpy the track is.
“You don’t realise how much the cars move around when you watch it on TV. I think the only way to understand these elements is to do more time in the car.”
The Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship will have its second round at The Bend Motorsport Park over May 8-9.