Jamie Whincup has set the pace in Practice 1 for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with a late 2:04.6744s in the #888 Red Bull Holden Racing Team entry.
Whincup was one of two drivers to make the 2:04s in the 60-minute session, moments after Lee Holdsworth had become the first to do so in the #5 The Bottle-O Mustang.
He remained second to the #888 ZB Commodore at a margin of 0.1904s, with the top five rounded out by Anton De Pasquale (#99 Penrite ZB Commodore), Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang), and Shane van Gisbergen (#97 Triple Eight ZB Commodore).
The very first flying lap of the weekend was Whincup’s 2:07.9345s before David Reynolds (#9 Erebus ZB Commodore) moved the benchmark down to a 2:07.1785s by the time all had made it back to the control line, despite starting on tyres which had reportedly already done 150km of running.
Whincup was on top again with a 2:06.0457s once the first runs had come to an end, with Reynolds 0.4017s slower in second position.
When championship leader Scott McLaughlin (#17 Shell V-Power Mustang) showed his hand for the first time, he rolled out the first ‘five’ of the weekend, a 2:05.9670s early in his second run.
That was subsequently beaten by Mostert and twice over by Reynolds, before McLaughlin reclaimed top spot with a 2:05.6601s despite not being fastest in any individual sector on that lap.
Macauley Jones brought a stop to the session in the 25th minute when he got loose at The Cutting and hit the wall with the right-rear corner of his car.
The impact dislodged the bodywork of the #21 ZB Commodore such that the roof panel flew up and Jones came to a halt at Reid Park.
At that point, McLaughlin led the Erebus duo of Reynolds and De Pasquale by 0.0924s and 0.1677s respectively.
When the session restarted, there was a relative flurry of fast times, starting with improvements for Whincup and Fabian Coulthard (#12 DJR Team Penske Mustang).
Mostert then took the lead with a 2:05.3456s, only for Coulthard to beat that and Reynolds to go faster again in a matter of seconds, moving the fastest lap to 2:05.2012s.
Several drivers improved but the top of the timing screen remained unchanged until the final five minutes, when De Pasquale clocked a 2:05.0634s, just before Holdsworth and Whincup set their respective best laps.
“It’s obviously early days and we’re running through our program but the car feels pretty good out the gate, which is nice,” said Whincup.
“You hate starting seconds off and having to chase, so hey, it’s still a huge job to do in tuning the car as the weekend goes on but so far so good.”
On running for the whole session, leaving Craig Lowndes sidelined until Practice 2, Whincup added, “I think I’m more responsible for the qualifying car, not that that means a huge amount here at Mount Panorama but you’ve got to have the car to be fast and competitive.
“Lowndesy will concentrate on the race car. He’ll jump in P2 (which) is all co-drivers. He’ll jump in and do all of P2 and then we’ll share P6 and 7.”
Mostert, who had closed back to within a tenth of the fastest lap, was ultimately 0.4201s off the pace, while van Gisbergen found more than three tenths with the chequered flag out to get down to a 2:05.1578s.
The New Zealander therefore bumped Reynolds, whose Erebus entry was hamstrung by a gear sensor issue, to sixth, ahead of DJR Team Penske’s Coulthard and McLaughlin.
Kelly Racing entries rounded out the top 10 with Rick Kelly (#15 Castrol Altima) putting in a 2:05.4112s and Simona De Silvestro (#78 Harvey Norman Altima) a 2:05.4728s, set on slightly used tyres from Phillip Island.
Kostecki Brothers Racing reportedly had an early vibration issue with their #56 ZB Commodore on their way to 23rd, while the Walkinshaw Andretti United wildcard pair of Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe (#27 ZB Commodore) ended up at the foot of the timesheet.
Some, but not all, teams opted to put co-drivers in one or both of their cars for the end of the session, with both Tony D’Alberto and Alexandre Premat getting laps in the DJR Team Penske Fords.
Tim Slade (#14 Freightliner ZB Commodore) was seen running off at The Chase, but no other run-ins with the wall were sighted during the session, which was run under sunny skies throughout.
Practice 2, an hour-long session reserved for co-drivers, starts at 1245 local time/AEDT.
Results: Practice 1
|1||888||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||J.Whincup/C.Lowndes/G.Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||2:04.6744|
|2||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||L.Holdsworth/T.Randle/J.Moffat||Ford Mustang GT||2:04.8648||0:00.1904|
|3||99||Penrite Racing||A.De Pasquale/W.Brown/L.Youlden||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.0634||0:00.3890|
|4||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||C.Mostert/T.Randle/J.Moffat||Ford Mustang GT||2:05.0945||0:00.4201|
|5||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||S.van Gisbergen/C.Lowndes/G.Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.1578||0:00.4834|
|6||9||Penrite Racing||D.Reynolds/W.Brown/L.Youlden||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.2012||0:00.5268|
|7||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||F.Coulthard/T.D’Alberto/A.Premat||Ford Mustang GT||2:05.2210||0:00.5466|
|8||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||S.McLaughlin/T.D’Alberto/A.Premat||Ford Mustang GT||2:05.3329||0:00.6585|
|9||15||Castrol Racing||R.Kelly/B.Fullwood/D.Wood||Nissan Altima||2:05.4112||0:00.7368|
|10||78||Team Harvey Norman||S.De Silvestro/D.Fiore/A.Rullo||Nissan Altima||2:05.4728||0:00.7984|
|11||7||Plus Fitness Racing||A.Heimgartner/B.Fullwood/D.Wood||Nissan Altima||2:05.7383||0:01.0639|
|12||23||Milwaukee Racing||W.Davison/M.Caruso/A.Davison||Ford Mustang GT||2:05.8082||0:01.1338|
|13||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||C.Waters/M.Caruso/A.Davison||Ford Mustang GT||2:05.8094||0:01.1350|
|14||35||Bigmate Racing||T.Hazelwood/J.Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.8689||0:01.1945|
|15||8||7-Eleven Mobil Racing||N.Percat/T.Blanchard/A.Walsh||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.9786||0:01.3042|
|16||14||Freightliner Alliance Racing||T.Slade/T.Blanchard/A.Walsh||Holden Commodore ZB||2:06.0683||0:01.3939|
|17||34||Boost Mobile Racing||J.Golding/R.Muscat/C.Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||2:06.0912||0:01.4168|
|18||2||Mobil 1 Racing||S.Pye/J.Perkins/W.Luff||Holden Commodore ZB||2:06.2302||0:01.5558|
|19||18||Irwin Racing||M.Winterbottom/S.Richards||Holden Commodore ZB||2:06.2446||0:01.5702|
|20||3||RABBLE.club Racing||G.Jacobson/D.Fiore/A.Rullo||Nissan Altima||2:06.3389||0:01.6645|
|21||22||Mobil 1 Racing||J.Courtney/J.Perkins/W.Luff||Holden Commodore ZB||2:06.7077||0:02.0333|
|22||33||Boost Mobile Racing||R.Stanaway/R.Muscat/C.Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||2:06.9316||0:02.2572|
|23||56||Team Arcoweld Racing||B.Kostecki/J.Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||2:07.5973||0:02.9229|
|24||21||Team CoolDrive||M.Jones/D.Canto||Holden Commodore ZB||2:07.6944||0:03.0200|
|25||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||J.Le Brocq/J.Webb||Holden Commodore ZB||2:08.0006||0:03.3262|
|26||27||NAPA Auto Parts Racing||A.Rossi/J.Hinchcliffe||Holden Commodore ZB||2:09.2497||0:04.5753|
Note: Timing displaying all drivers entered in each car and does not necessarily denote that a driver participated in the session