Scott McLaughlin says he can keep pace with Cameron Waters who set a time nearly three tenths faster than the Kiwi in Practice 3 at Mount Panorama.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team driver set a 2:04.4633s late in the session, which was bettered by his Monster Energy Racing rival who clocked a 2:04.1696s.
McLaughlin lamented a small mistake on his final lap, citing a lack of rear end stability in his Ford Mustang.
“I think we’re pretty close,” McLaughlin said.
“We’ve been fast all day but the thing’s just made a little mistake there on that fast lap.
“We’re still chasing a little bit of rear stability in the car. Overall, I’m really stoked with how it’s rolled out.
“I think we’re on for a good weekend. It’s right there. If Cam can do it, there’s no reason why we can’t. So we’ll go out there (tomorrow) and have a crack.”
McLaughlin’s co-driver Tim Slade set the third fastest time in Practice 2 solely for additional drivers.
Supercheap Auto Racing driver James Moffat topped that session on a 2:06.0584s, 0.0245s ahead of Penrite Racing’s Brodie Kostecki on a 2:06.0828s and Slade on a 2:06.1157s.
Slade ended the session 0.0574s adrift, which came only one practice after Slade clashed with Shane van Gisbergen, which the DJR Team Penske driver accepted blame for.
“It’s tough,” McLaughlin said of Slade’s lack of track time in 2020.
“The miles that these guys have done hasn’t been exactly right, but that’s why you’ve got to have a good bloke like I’ve got next to me and we’ll be right.
“He jumped straight in the seat today, had never driven this car since Tailem Bend, and that was his first go, and was fast straight away. It was a good day.”
Slade relished his first hit out in the Mustang since the pre-season test at The Bend Motorsport Park.
“It was amazing,” said Slade.
“I got a little taste of it, like Scotty said, earlier in the year at the test day at Tailem Bend. That was a long time ago and it was just a little taste.
“To come here and kind of have to learn a car at a pretty difficult place is a bit of a challenge. We’ve got plenty of running and I’m getting my head around it.
“Scotty did an awesome job. Keep on pressing on.”
Practice 4 for additional drivers gets underway at 09:45 local time/AEDT.