The Kiwi motorsport production line is in great working order.
New Zealand already has fantastic young talents competing internationally, with Marcus Armstrong and Liam Lawson in F2, Scott McLaughlin trying IndyCars, Earl Bamber racing Porsches, Nick Cassidy in Formula E and DTM, numerous drivers in Supercars and Brendon Hartley in the World Endurance Championship.
Coming up behind them are the likes of Matthew Payne, Madeline Stewart, Callum Hedge and Kaleb Ngatoa. It is Payne, though, who is turning motor racing heads.
Payne is ranked internationally in karting, having been based in Europe for the past two years. After a full year (2019) in the European FIA Karting Championship, he was ranked 30th, and he recently won the Kartsport NZ National KZ2 Sprint Championships and a round of the Australian Championships.
Having only recently arrived on the single-seater scene, he impressed in the opening round of the Toyota Racing Series (TRS) last month at Hampton Downs.
He'd been in a single seater only twice before stepping up into the internationally-recognised junior Formula FT-60 race car. Payne put in a scintillating performance against well-established names, reaching the podium three times over the weekend, including a third in the New Zealand Grand Prix.
"I struggled in the first part of the race [NZGP], to be honest, but after I got past the first two, I thought I'd just get on with it," said Payne. "I got ahead of Andre [Heimgartner] and just said to myself, 'it's time to put in qualifying laps and go for it'.
"I'm still learning a lot about the car and how to get the best out of it. The team is great and having Liam [Lawson] on the radio helped heaps.
"It did take me quite a while, though, to transition into the car, as it's very different to a kart. It's taking me time to extract the best out of the car [FT-60].
"The biggest thing is the weight difference and you have to be quite gentle with the Toyota, as it doesn't move around as much as a kart."
The following weekend, he cemented his growing reputation as one to watch when he won all three races, again at Hampton Downs, to leap to the top of the points table.
"It was a really good weekend and we got the car dialled in for the last race, after finding out one of the rear shocks wasn't working properly.
"I just seem to be getting more comfortable each lap I do. It's getting a bit easier and I'm getting more consistent each time I go out. I'm really enjoying it."
After the final round of the TRS next weekend at Manfeild, Payne will be involved in another type of racing — Porsche Carrera Cup Australia. The 18-year-old is being mentored by multi-international champion and Porsche maestro Bamber and will be racing an Earl Bamber Motorsport's Team Porsche New Zealand car.
"It's the first time Earl Bamber Motorsport has raced in Australia and I'm really looking forward to it. It should be really interesting.
"My manager in Australia, Michael Patrizi, has done a really good job of seeking out opportunities to race Porsche Carrera Cup this year. He got in contact with Earl and his brother Will and put together a deal.
"Also, Porsche New Zealand have their scholarship, which I won at the end of 2020, and that went towards the deal as well. It's an awesome opportunity and I'm looking forward to having my first run in a Porsche."