Payne locked in for the long-term

Grove Racing has announced the re-signing of 2023 VAILO Adelaide 500 winner Matt Payne on a long-term deal.

The 21-year-old scored his first win in the last race of his full-time rookie season in Adelaide, recommitting to the team.

Payne will team with fellow New Zealander Richie Stanaway at the Penrite-backed Ford team in 2024, with the Bathurst winner replacing Team 18-bound David Reynolds next season.

“It was important for the team to extend Matthew’s contract to ensure the entire Racing group can continue to develop the team for the long term,” said team owner Stephen Grove.

“Matthew is a vital part of our long-term strategy, and his commitment to the team through a long-term extension to his current contract, is a testament to the direction of the whole Racing group at Grove Racing.”

Payne first appeared in a Supercar with Grove Racing in the Dunlop Super2 Series midway through 2021, finishing in third place in the second-tier category in 2022 before graduating into the main game in 2023.

“Matt started his career with us as part of our junior team and he is the first driver the graduate up to Supercars,” said team principal David Cauchi.

“It is a testament to Stephen and Brenton Grove for their commitment to developing young talent and to continue our relationship with Matt is very satisfying.

“Our first year in Supercars produced a race win which is a rare achievement in such as competitive championship.

“Matt has shown that he deserves to be in Supercars, and he will be a key part of our team into the future.”

Payne added: “After securing my first race win, I am excited to re-sign with Penrite Racing.

“The upcoming season holds new challenges, fresh competition, and the opportunity to improve my performance on the track.

“I am confident with the support of Penrite Racing, we can further our success in 2024.”

How Ryan turned Erebus into a powerhouse

In a revealing post-season interview, Barry Ryan talks through a Gen3 journey that yielded first drivers’ and teams’ championships for the Erebus Motorsport squad in the latest Speedcafe Newscast. Listen here:

He details the approach that he believes set Erebus apart and pulls no punches over the incredible highs, and devastating lows such as Will Brown’s exit, that the team faced throughout the year.

Ryan also details he and Brown’s antics with Richard Childress Racing at the World Racing League final in Texas.

Also covered in this week’s Newscast is the death of the Newcastle 500, with the council set to undergo road works that will make the return of the event all but impossible.

Nearby Cessnock, however, is emerging as a very real contender to take its place on the Supercars calendar.

The Speedcafe Newscast also features Matt Campbell on his IMSA to WEC switch as well as all the latest news from home and abroad.

Kostecki and Mostert win top honours at gala awards

Following on from his first-ever Repco Supercars Championship drivers’ title, Brodie Kostecki has been voted the Drivers’ Driver by his peers for 2023.

At Supercars annual Gala Awards, Kostecki claimed the top driver-voted gong, while Chaz Mostert received the Barry Sheene Medal.

It’s the first time the Walkinshaw Andretti United Ford Mustang driver has been awarded the Barry Sheene Medal, which is presented to the driver adjudged to have displayed outstanding leadership, media interaction, character, personality, fan appeal and sportsmanship throughout the season.

In the fan-voted categories, the VAILO Adelaide 500, attended by an estimated 260,7000 fans, won the event of the year award.

NASCAR-bound three-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen was voted as the fan’s most popular driver for a third consecutive year. The Kiwi exits Supercars with an 80 wins, 177 podiums and 48 pole positions from 227 round starts/511 race starts.

The Mike Kable Young Gun Award went to Cameron McLeod. McLeod is the son of long-time racer and the grandson of 1987 Bathurst 1000 winner Peter. The 18-year-old
Nissan Altima driver finished third in his first full-time season of the Dunlop Super3 Series.


• Barry Sheene Medal: Chaz Mostert
• Repco Supercars Champion: Brodie Kostecki
• Dunlop Team Champion: Coca-Cola Racing (Erebus)
• Drivers’ Driver: Brodie Kostecki
• Mike Kable Young Gun Award: Cameron McLeod
• Dunlop Super2 Series Champion: Kai Allen
• Dunlop Super3 Series Champion: Jobe Stewart
• Dunlop Super2 Series Champion Team: Eggleston Motorsport
• ARMOR ALL Pole Champion Award: Brodie Kostecki
• ARMOR ALL Dunlop Super2 Series Pole Position Award: Ryan Wood
• Champion Manufacturer: Chevrolet
• Fans Choice – Best Presented Team: Red Bull Ampol Racing Team
• Fans Choice – Most Popular Driver – Shane van Gisbergen
• Best Event of the Year: VAILO Adelaide 500
• Best Volunteer Group: Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500
• Supercars Media Award: Mark Larkham

Ford finally happy with Gen3 parity

As Ford closed out the Supercars season with four straight wins in the final two rounds, attention turned to ending the Gen3 parity debate once and forever with aero and engine tests in America.

Aussie-spec Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang racers are in the States for definitive wind tunnel aero measurement starting late next week.

The latest Speedcafe Newscast podcast has all the details of when, where and how the parity busting will happen. Listen here:

Ford bounced back at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 and season-ending VAILO Adelaide 500, sweeping all four 250 km races following a long-awaited aero upgrade.

Supercars heavyweights, technical staff, and DJR and Triple Eight homologation team engineers are heading to the States for the three-day session at the Windshear wind tunnel in Mooresville, North Carolina from December 8-10.

The hugely expensive exercise will generate the data to fully equalise the aero performance of the Camaro and Mustang, disputed by Ford until a parity review was triggered after Chev’s Bathurst 1000 walkover.

Speedcafe Newscast hears from senior Ford figures on their hopes that the wind tunnel comparison in America – plus pending transient dyno engine tests – will end the parity debate by the time the Supercars field reassembles for next year’s season-opening Bathurst 500.

Post-season equalisation efforts dominated discussion in the immediate wake of Erebus Motorsport’s upset of longtime Supercars powerhouse Triple Eight.

Brodie Kostecki clinched the drivers’ championship as Coca-Cola Racing wrapped up the teams’ title. Eccentric rich-lister team owner Betty Klimenko opens up to Speedcafe about her barrier-busting title double.

As well, Speedcafe Newscast reveals the bold plans to make next February’s Bathurst 12 Hour the biggest ever.

It’s all in the latest Speedcafe Newscast, hosted by racing authority Mark Fogarty.

Payne scores first win as Erebus secures teams’ title

Grove Racing’s Matt Payne dominated the final race of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship, scoring his first win at the VAILO Adelaide 500.

Payne started alongside new champion Brodie Kostecki on the front row and led into the opening turns. From there he wasn’t headed throughout the 78-lap race, becoming the 10th different driver to win a race in 2023.

It marked the second time in two years that a rookie won the Adelaide 500, with Triple Eight Race Engineering driver Broc Feeney winning the same race in 2022.

Youngsters Payne and Feeney led home veteran David Reynolds in Race 28, who added to his Saturday podium with third on Sunday. It was the fourth consecutive win for Ford drivers from the final four races of 2023.

“I’ve got to thank Penrite Racing for the fast car, it was such a jet,” said Payne. “Everyone’s been working so hard here, to crack a win with Dave at the Gold Coast was amazing, and now finally I get to get my first win in Adelaide. So stoked, so proud of everyone.”

After sealing the title yesterday, Kostecki officially celebrated his maiden Supercars championship in front of thousands of fans on the streets of Adelaide. The West Australian rounded out the season with another title as Erebus Motorsport claimed its first-ever teams’ championship following Kostecki and outgoing teammate Will Brown’s stellar season in their Chevrolet Camaros.

Kostecki is the 26th winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars Championship winner and ends 2023 with six victories, his first ever ARMOR ALL Pole Award with 10 pole positions and 18 podium finishes from 28 races.

It was a heartbreaking end to full-time Supercars competition for Shane van Gisbergen, who didn’t see the chequered flag for the second day running after being forced into the lane with issues caused by tyre build-up on his #97 Camaro.

With van Gisbergen scoring no points, and with champion-elect Kostecki and Will Brown eighth and 14th, Erebus added a maiden teams’ championship to its drivers’ title. The end margin between Erebus and Triple Eight was 176 points, having been 161 heading into Sunday. Kostecki’s title-winning margin was 323 points, with van Gisbergen failing to score all weekend.

Kostecki crowned 2023 Supercars champion

Brodie Kostecki wrapped up the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship in the penultimate race of the season in Adelaide.

After his closest rival Shane van Gisbergen retired on the the opening lap of Saturday’s race at the VAILO Adelaide 500, the 26-year-old West Australian finished in sixth place to seal the title.

Van Gisbergen made contact with Kostecki’s teammate Will Brown after the latter went into the wall following a touch with Anton De Pasquale, meaning the title race was over on the opening lap.

Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters won the race from David Reynolds and Thomas Randle in an all-Ford podium, though the focus was on Kostecki who crossed the line as the new champion.

Kostecki is the 26th different driver to claim the Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars Championship crown in the sport’s 63-year history.

In just his third year of full-time racing in the Supercars championship, Kostecki becomes the youngest winner of the title since Scott McLaughlin won it as a 25-year-old in 2018.

He is the first West Australian to win the title since Garth Tander claimed the drivers’ championship in 2007 and first Australian-born driver to win the drivers’ crown since Jamie Whincup in 2017.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” Kostecki said post-race.

“You don’t want to win a championship when your other contender is knocked out of the race but it’s been a whirlwind of a year, we’ve worked so hard to do what we’ve done today. 

“Betty [Klimenko] started this venture 13 years ago. For myself to deliver her first championship is something that I’m never going to forget.”

With the driver’s title now wrapped up, the focus turns to the teams’ championship with Erebus Motorsport holding a 131-point lead over Triple Eight Race Engineering.

Burgess to lead Team 18 from 2024

Team 18 has announced the appointment of Adrian Burgess as its new team principal, effective from February 2024.

It’s a reunion between Burgess and team owner Charlie Schwerkolt, rekindling their successful partnership that led to a championship at Dick Johnson Racing with James Courtney in 2010.

Burgess made his foray into the Australian racing scene in 2006, collaborating with Schwerkolt at Dick Johnson Racing. Following his tenure their, Burgess assumed the role of team manager at Triple Eight Race Engineering, overseeing Jamie Whincup’s three consecutive championships from 2011 to 2013, including the 2013 Bathurst 1000.

After stints at Walkinshaw Racing and Tekno Autosports, Burgess became the head of motorsport with Supercars in 2018 until 2023.

“It’s exciting to get the band back together with Charlie,” said Burgess.

“We’ve achieved a lot together in the past and we both know we would like to achieve those heights again. I’m not underestimating the size of the task, the competition is incredibly fierce and it’s one of the most competitive championships in the world.

“Team 18 overall is in a great shape, it showed that this year in Darwin. I’m looking forward to getting on deck, continuing their great culture and working cohesively with everyone to focus on aiming for podiums and consistent performances every weekend and ultimately get ourselves in a position where we can fight for championships, that’s the goal.”

Schwerkolt added: “It’s incredibly exciting to welcome Adrian Burgess as team principal commencing early next year.

“I’m really pleased to reunite with Adrian, our history together goes back as far as 2006 a highlight being the championship success we celebrated together in 2010.

“This appointment is a great coup for the team and Adrian will be a valuable leader with the skills and experience to bring the results we are all striving for.

“There is a massive amount to achieve at Team 18 moving forwards, and I believe Adrian will be able to take the team to a new level and best position us for greater success in the years to come.”

Penrite Oil extends deal with Grove Racing

Penrite Oil and Grove Racing have agreed on an extended naming-rights deal for the next two seasons.

Penrite Oil will remain with the Ford team that will field Matt Payne and Richie Stanaway in 2024, with the latter replacing the Team 18-bound David Reynolds.

Team owner Stephen Grove said: “I’m excited to bring together two proudly Australian companies as we pursue excellence in the most competitive Touring car series in the world. I’m looking forward to further building our relationship and achieving success both on and off the track.”

Penrite Racing team principal David Cauchi, added: “It’s fantastic to be renewing our partnership with Penrite Oil. We are proud to represent such an iconic Australian brand who have a rich history in Australian motorsport. We look forward to this next chapter in our partnership where we can build on our strong foundations developed over the past two years.”

Penrite Oil has been a regularly sponsor of Supercars, backing Erebus Motorsport before moving to Kelly Racing/Grove Racing.

“We’re really pleased to continue our relationship with Grove Racing,” said Penrite Oil chief executive officer, Toby Dymond.

“It’s exciting to see the building blocks in place with David Cauchi and the entire team, and the building renovations are complete after our first win together at the Gold Coast.”

“It was only fitting that Reynolds, who has been a fantastic brand ambassador for us across eight years, was behind the wheel for the win and we wish him continued success at his new team. But first we want one more in Adelaide to send him off in style.

“For 2024 onwards we wanted naming rights on two cars and a multi-year term to demonstrate our intentions to be here for the long term in Supercars. We love our shared vision for victory with the Grove family and look forward to achieving great results together.”

Edwards joins Supercars from 2024

Supercars has appointed Tim Edwards as its general manager of motorsport, commencing from January 2024.

Responsible for overseeing Supercars’ motorsport division, Edwards will succeed Adrian Burgess, who will depart Supercars early next year after serving as head of motorsport for the last five years.

Edwards joins Supercars after 19 seasons leading Tickford Racing, where under his leadership as CEO and team principal the team won two Repco Bathurst 1000s and claimed the 2015 drivers’ championship with Mark Winterbottom.

“Joining Supercars is a fantastic opportunity which I am delighted and privileged to accept,” said Edwards.

“Virtually my entire adult life has been spent in motorsport, I’ve had the fortune to work and compete with some of the best organisations and at the greatest events and championships there are, and to step into this role with Supercars is very exciting both for me and my family.

“After 35 years working in what we call ‘team land,’ I look forward to doing my part from the category side to help us put on the best championship we possibly can.”

Alongside his position at Tickford, Edwards has held multiple external roles tasked with managing wider motorsport, serving on the Supercars Commission on multiple occasions and also recently holding a board position for Motorcycling Australia.

Edwards’ motorsport career began in 1988 as a mechanic for Alan Docking Racing’s Mazdaspeed team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

After three seasons in sports car racing, Edwards joined Jordan Grand Prix Formula 1 team in 1991, where he worked from a mechanic role to team manager in the early 2000s, before returning to Australia in late 2004 and joining Tickford – then known as Ford Performance Racing – as motorsport director in 2005.

Supercars CEO Shane Howard added: “We are thrilled to have someone of Tim’s calibre join Supercars. In such a highly competitive and technical championship, Tim’s extensive experience, leadership qualities, and success both in Supercars and abroad make him an excellent fit for the role.

“We believe his strategic vision and passion for the sport will be of tremendous value as we continue to drive Supercars upward in the years to come.

“We extend our sincere thanks to Adrian for his dedicated service over the past five years, and welcome Tim to lead our motorsport program into the 2024 Repco Supercars championship season.”

Larko’s verdict on title showdown

Popular pitlane pundit Mark Larkham has delivered his verdict on the title showdown between Brodie Kostecki and Shane van Gisbergen at this weekend’s VAILO Adelaide 500.

Speaking exclusively to the Speedcafe Newscast podcast, Supercars tech expert Larko also demystifies the upcoming Gen3 wind tunnel tests in America.

The loveable larrikin of Supercars’ broadcasts explains in plain language how next month’s expensive off-shore aero trials – and local transient dyno engine measurements – are aimed at ending the Camaro versus Mustang parity debate. Listen here:

As well, Larko outlines who he thinks will win the title battle – and why.

Kostecki goes into the Adelaide 500 leading van Gisbergen by 131 points, with 300 up for grabs in two 250 km races. Kostecki’s Erebus Motorsport and SVG’s Triple Eight are also fighting for the teams’ crown.

But it’s Larko’s insight into Supercars’ big splurge on finally getting Gen3 parity right that is most compelling – and understandable amid so much technical gobbledygook.

A DJR Mustang and a Triple Eight Camaro are already in America, waiting to be forward to the Windshear wind tunnel in North Carolina.

They are scheduled for three days of aero testing starting December 2, overseen by Supercars head of motorsport Adrian Burgess before he moves on.

Larko will feature as usual throughout this weekend’s Adelaide 500 coverage on Fox Sports and Seven.

The latest Speedcafe Newscast also debriefs the controversial – but spectacular – F1 Las Vegas GP and the revival of the classic Macau GP.

The Las Vegas GP went from disaster to triumph – Speedcafe’s F1 expert explains the stunning transformation.

Speedcafe was also at the Macau GP, where winners of the international F3 jamboree on the tortuous street circuit have traditionally gone on to F1 stardom. Who’s the latest prodigy bound for F1?

Find out in the latest Speedcafe Newscast, presented by racing authority Mark Fogarty.