New Zealander Richie Stanaway has recorded his first laps at Mt Panorama; he and lead-driver Chris Pither ending the first practice session of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 weekend in 13th place.
“It's not an easy track to learn, so I've just got to build up to it and just chip away,” Stanaway told NZ Herald.
“It's good to get some sighting laps early on there, and now I've got an hour to think about it.
“It's not going to be easy. Obviously it's a pretty unique scenario for me to roll up having never driven [a V8 here] and straight into the main event. I've just got to try and apply myself over the next few days and try and do the best job I can despite my lack of experience.”
Stanaway's debut performance in the series at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 was one that attracted praise from a number of series commentators, following a confident showing on slick tyres while racing on a wet surface.
Though the Bathurst circuit represents a new list of challenges for the 24-year-old.
“It's hard over the top, with walls either side and having to get the line right. It's all high-speed corners and having to manage the weight of the car and just getting a feel for the tyres over the top,” he added.
“But in saying that, the whole track is pretty tricky.”
Co-driver Chris Pither said that he was satisfied with the team's opening practice hit out, however is quick to note that there's a long way to go before the series embarks on the first qualifying session.
“I'm pretty happy with practice one to be honest. Obviously it's the early part of the weekend; basically systems checks and making sure everything's comfortable to press on in the car. But I think it's a fairly good base for us to build on,” Pither said.
This is Pither's first time as a lead driver at the Bathurst 1000, having been a co-driver with teams such as Garry Rogers Motorsport and Brad Jones Racing.
“There's a few aspects that are different for me. The big thing is the fact that you're qualifying the car, and that's going to be new. But something I'm looking forward to, and something I've done in other categories here too.
“It's not going to be too different. I've had three-quarters of the season now to get a feel for how the qualifying sessions are run in the main championship.”
The #88 Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodore of Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell topped the session, despite spinning off at the final corner to prompt one of several red-flag periods. Fabian Coulthard was the leading Kiwi, landing his and Luke Youlden's DJR Team Penske Falcon in second place ahead of the BJR Commodore of Tim Slade and Ash Walsh.