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It’s finally here; the Gen3 era will make its long-awaited debut at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 this weekend.  

With the ocean and coastline set to be the backdrop to the season opener, Penrite Racing anticipates an action-packed weekend with the Gen3 spec cars going head-to-head for the first time in 2023.  

Supercars return to Newcastle Street Circuit, a track which hasn’t been on the calendar since 2019.  

Newcastle Street circuit will host Round 1 with the 2.641 km circuit situated overlooking Newcastle Beach and the foreshore around Nobbys Beach reserve. 

Making his full-time main game debut, Matt Payne will captain the #19 Penrite Racing Ford Mustang alongside veteran David Reynolds who is entering his 17th Supercars season.  

Garth Tander joined the ranks as Co-Driver and mentor to the Grove Junior Team and has participated in each day of testing undertaken by the team.  

Reynolds is one of three currently competing drivers who has completed all 564 racing laps in Newcastle, and he is no stranger to the circuit’s undulating lines and high-speed corners.  

David Reynolds, Driver #26 Penrite Racing Ford Mustang said:  

“First round of the year is always the most exciting – had a really long break and everyone is eager to get in the cars and start racing again and it’s going to be the most challenging at Newcastle as we haven’t been there for a couple of years – It’s a street track, brand new cars – there’s going to be a lot of opportunity to perform pretty well…” 

“Newcastle is one of those tracks lined with concrete and any mistake is a big mistake. The circuit is bumpy with lots of undulation in it and you have to use the kerbs to make the car fast – tricky time for us as we haven’t touched curbs in these new cars, so we don’t know what they are going to do down the back over the bumps in the braking zones and we don’t have the data yet. It’s going to be a difficult task to get up to speed – as a driver I love this track and can’t wait to get back there.” 

Matthew Payne, Driver #19 Penrite Racing Ford Mustang said:  

“Really exciting for everyone to arrive at the first round. It has been a long break, so everyone is going to be pretty excited to get back into it. I think the team has done a fantastic job with preparing the cars and they’ve achieved a huge thing in getting everything ready before the first round. I know that it’s been very stressful for everyone so it’s awesome to see the progress made and they’ve done a super job.  

“We’ve had very successful testing so far so it’s going to be really good to put them on the track in Newcastle. It’s certainly going to be interesting driving the new cars around the street track. I am really looking forward to getting out there for the Friday Practice and then just having a go and seeing what it is like. I don’t think I have any expectations for now, but we will get it out there and give it our best shot.”  

This weekend’s season opener will see three practice sessions on Friday followed by Qualifying, shootout and Race 1 on Saturday. Sunday will set the scene for the final day of action, with another Qualifying, Shootout, and final Race.  


You can watch LIVE on FOX SPORTS on Foxtel and streamed LIVE & ON DEMAND on Kayo Sports.