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2024 NTI Townsville 500

Townsville, NT

NTI Townsville 500

Strategy masterclass delivers Townsville success. 

A spirited strategy call from Race Engineer Jack Bell, has delivered Penrite Racing, and Matt Payne their first victory of Season 2024 at the NTI Townsville 500. 

A combination of a bold three-stop strategy, and blistering pace from Payne, resulted in the 21-year old’s second career victory; both of which have come in gruelling 250km races. 

In one of the tightest seasons of Supercars’ action yet, Payne became the seventh different winner this year, whilst also vaulting himself from ninth to fifth in the Championship. 

Penrite Racing were buoyed by a strong weekend, in which they maintained fourth place in the Team’s Championship. 

The festivities of the Townsville 500 began on Wednesday evening, with the first-for-Townsville running of the ‘Track to Town.’ Thousands of North Queensland locals lined the streets to watch the stars (and cars), of the Supercars Championship parade from the Reid Park facility, to the Jezzine Barracks. Richie Stanaway and Matt Payne were greeted by fans at that evening’s signing session. 

Friday was uneventful, as both Richie and Matt turned bulk laps in the two practice sessions, choosing to focus on long-run race pace. The pair finished the day 16th and 7th respectively. 

There was an ever-present threat of rain as teams arrived for Saturday’s action. The morning’s qualifying session was run in dry conditions, as Matt Payne snuck into the Top 10 Shootout in ninth. Richie Stanaway would qualify 16th. 

A brief rain shower during a support category race meant that the Townsville Street Circuit became greasy and treacherous. The heat was enough to disperse the standing water, however the painted lines still proved to be an issue. 

Matt was second out on track, by virtue of qualifying ninth, and had posted a competitive lap time. However, he drifted a touch too wide on those painted lines and encountered a big moment of oversteer at Turn 7, all but ruining his lap. A mistake from Bryce Fullwood meant that Matt would line up in ninth. 

Both drivers were able to avoid early Race 13 chaos, with a mid-race deluge spicing up the action. Payne was able to use fresher tyres in his final stint to go from eighth to fourth at the flag, collecting the fastest lap along the way. Richie finished in 14th. 

With the added confidence of Saturday’s result, there was cause for optimism to deliver a strong Sunday result. 

Qualifying followed a similar story as Saturday, with Matt making his way into another Shootout in eighth, while Richie was only less than a tenth out of progressing, qualifying in 13th. 

The conditions in Sunday’s Shootout were some of the most difficult of the weekend. High UV, and added heat meant that no driver was able to maximise their lap. Matt would end the session in 10th; his starting position for Race 14. 

Sunday’s Race 14 started in familiar chaotic action, with Championship leader Will Brown caught up in a scuffle. As was the case with Saturday, Matt and Richie were able to avoid the drama and gain crucial positions. 

The number 19 crew committed to the three-stop strategy, bringing Matt in for his first stop on Lap 19. The bold strategy allowed for Matt to push for the entire race, providing an overt sense of reward at the end of the race. “There was no backing off, with our strategy we were pushing the whole way. Tough work, but very rewarding.” 

Richie’s race was curtailed following a brief clash which forced the number 26 Penrite Racing Mustang off-track, resulting in slight steering damage. Despite gaining early positions, Richie would come home in 14th. 

Matt came in for his final stop on Lap 62, coming out with a seven second buffer to second place. From there, Payne was never headed as he crossed the line six seconds ahead of Waters to claim a spurring victory. 


Richie Stanaway

Driver profile


  • Practice 1

    P5 Matt Payne
    P17 Richie Stanaway
  • Practice 2

    P7 Matt Payne
    P16 Richie Stanaway
  • Qualifying - Race 13

    P9 Matt Payne
    P16 Richie Stanaway
  • Top Ten Shootout - Race 13

    P8 Matt Payne
  • Race 13

    P4 Matt Payne
    P14 Richie Stanaway
  • Qualifying - Race 14

    P8 Matt Payne
    P13 Richie Stanaway
  • Top Ten Shootout - Race 14

    P10 Matt Payne
  • Race 14

    P1 Matt Payne
    P14 Richie Stanaway

The circuit

Located just south of the Townsville CBD, the circuit winds its way through Reid Park where specially-constructed roads from approximately 70 percent of the circuit. Set in a parkland reminiscent of the Albert Park and Adelaide street circuits, the Townsville layout proved to be a challenge in its inaugural year in 2009 and quickly became a favourite of the drivers.

Races 2
Circuit Length 2.86km
Race Distance 250 kmkm
Top Speed 260km/h