V8 Ute front-runner Nathan Pretty had his first taste of a 2013-specification V8 Supercar at Winton on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old was awarded the test for finishing as the top Holden in last year’s Ute standings.
The highest placed Ford driver, 2012 series winner Ryal Harris, enjoyed his corresponding test in Ford Performance Racing’s #55 Falcon earlier this month.
Unlike Harris, who is yet to start a V8 Supercars Championship race, Pretty’s career as a co-driver has included 14 Bathurst 1000s.
His last start came with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport in 2011, where he drove the team’s ex-Walkinshaw chassis to 22nd alongside regular Warren Luff.
The Tuesday hit-out at Winton saw Pretty steer Walkinshaw’s #66 Holden.
“It was good fun, it’s been a long time between drinks and it was good to get the opportunity to jump in the car,” said Pretty.
“I haven’t driven the next generation car before and there are a few differences than the one I drove for so long.”
Pretty’s previous V8 Supercar endurance experience includes driving with the Holden Racing Team in 2000, 2002 and 2007.
Although an unlikely prospect, Walkinshaw engineer Matthew Crawford said that Pretty did well enough at the test to indicate that he would not be out of place if given another endurance chance.
“You could never rule it out; we (the Holden Racing Team) had him back after he hadn’t driven for a while in 2007,” noted Crawford.
“He has a lot of experience at Bathurst and that’s what that track commands. You can never say no to anyone these days.
“(At the test) he did exactly what we requested of him, we’ve known him for such a long time, we know he can drive, he just needs miles in the car as that’s what it takes these days to make a quality driver.”
Pretty will return to Winton on Friday for a test in his V8 Ute.
He sits third in the standings heading to next month’s final round at Sydney Olympic Park, 41 points behind leader Harris.
“We are definitely giving the title a red hot go and doing what we can at attacking Ryal,” said Pretty.
“I’m feeling confident I have the car to do it, we’re just working on getting all our chickens in a row.”
Pretty’s chances of taking the crown were significantly damaged after a CAMS tribunal last week upheld his disqualification from the Bathurst qualifying session.