The Grove Group’s highly anticipated junior driver and development program has officially opened and is now accepting applications.
Known as the Grove Junior Team, the program’s aim is to find and develop emerging young drivers from Australian and New Zealand and help create a pathway into the Supercars Championship.
Inspired by the famous Red Bull Junior driving program, which helped ignite the careers of Formula 1 stars Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, the program will consist of driver and engineering training, sports psychology, business mentoring and financial literacy to help progress the careers of aspiring drivers.
On top of the structured development plan, successful applicants will also receive a financial contribution to their respective racing budget from the team.
Applications are open to any individual from as young as 12-years-old, including karters across the Tasman.
Click here to apply for the program.
With Grove Racing to take full ownership of Supercars outfit Kelly Racing from 2022, team founder Stephen Grove believed it was the perfect time to launch the junior development program.
“The Grove Junior Program has been set-up to identify young drivers in Australia and New Zealand that have potential to build a racing career, who may not have the resources or expertise to be able to follow that road map,” Grove said.
“It’s something that we’ve put in place and we’re really excited about.
“In Australia and New Zealand, we’ve identified an area to give young kids the opportunity to progress. One of the models we’ve used is the global Red Bull Junior program, which has been able to discover and foster some of the world’s best drivers.
“Grove Racing has a variety of racing programs from Carrera Cup to Supercars, and once we entered Supercars team ownership earlier this year, we identified that it was really important to start bringing young drivers through a development program.
“When we sat down and developed the program, one of the very important items highlighted by the team was to make sure we had the resources to be able to teach the drivers about all components contributing to becoming a professional.
“These included teaching young drivers about the fitness requirements, media training, the commercial side of the business, liaising with sponsors and making sure they are getting a return on investment.”
The team has already signed up one driver to the program, with New Zealander Matthew Payne already making a strong impression with the Grove team.
The talented 18-year-old enjoyed a solid run as a karter in New Zealand and won the 2020 Toyota Racing Series before joining Australia’s Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup, with a race win and two podiums in the last four races.
With Payne to finish off the Carrera Cup season upon its return, the Kiwi was excited for the next chapter of his career.
“We’ve seen how successful other motorsport academies have been across the world and the Grove Junior Team is aiming to join the elite in this area,” Payne said.
“I’m so grateful to be the first inductee to this junior program and I just can’t wait to represent it on the racetrack.
“It’s an awesome opportunity for myself to progress my career as we know these days it’s really hard to keep climbing the motorsport ladder and it’s great to have Stephen (Grove) helping out other young drivers looking to boost their careers as well.
“It’s really hard for young drivers to make their way into Supercars because there are so many top athletes in the sport already and it’s hard for the next generation to get into it.
"I think the Grove Junior Team program does a good job of giving us the support network we need to boost ourselves to that level. I think the opportunities it provides are unlike anything else.”
Click here to apply for the program.
Applications for the program can be submitted via the Grove Group website with applications being accepted until the end of October.