Zak Best relished a "really fun" first run aboard a Tickford Mustang as he readies for his Bathurst debut.
The 20-year-old was named as Jack Le Brocq’s co-driver for December’s Repco Bathurst 1000.
Best will make his main game race debut aboard the #5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang at Mount Panorama on December 5.
The Victorian turned his first laps in the Truck Assist Mustang at Winton Motor Raceway on Tuesday.
There, Best came to grips - literally - with a car which he described was a marked difference to his Super2 Falcon FG X Supercar.
“I wasn’t as shocked as I expected I would be,” Best told Supercars.com of the Mustang's performance.
“There’s a lot more aero, and a lot more grip. It was also my first experience with a Soft tyre, which was different again.
“It was a lot grippier than I expected; it’s worlds away from the Hard tyre that I run in Super2.
“At the sweeper, I was turning too early because the Falcon isn’t as sharp through there with a bit less aero.
“The Mustang gets through the high-speed stuff a lot better. It was really fun.”
Best earned the call-up with Alex Premat unable to travel to make the event.
The Benalla-born driver will be the only Bathurst rookie on the 26-car, 52-driver grid.
Full-time Tickford drivers Le Brocq, Cameron Waters and James Courtney were all present at Winton, along with co-drivers James Moffat and Thomas Randle.
Not overawed by the situation, Best said the team’s established drivers let him do his thing, rather than pepper him with tips - a key sign of his own development.
“The guys didn’t give me too much advice,” Best said of the senior Tickford drivers at Winton.
"They just said, ‘Do your thing and get comfortable’.
“It was just another day where it all felt real. Getting that first call from Tim was really exciting.
“One of my goals in my first few Super2 years was to get a co-drive, so it’s cool to have it now.
“It’s great knowing that my results haven’t gone unnoticed at the team, everyone’s been so supportive. I feel more than the team’s Super2 driver.
“The next part is making sure I make the most of the opportunity.”
While the Great Race remains on Best’s radar, a shot at the Super2 title remains his core focus.
Best will arrive at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight just 51 points behind Triple Eight Race Engineering driver Broc Feeney.
Just 36 points behind Best is MW Motorsport’s Jayden Ojeda. Best and Ojeda are the only two drivers within a race of Feeney.
Feeney has been the standout in 2021, but Best got the better of the incoming Red Bull Ampol Racing driver in their last start in Townsville.
With an eye on Bathurst, Best was determined to regain the points lead he lost to Feeney in Townsville.
“I’m just so keen to get back in the car. I’m still in the hunt for the Super2 title, so that’s my main focus," he said.
“I’ve got to keep in front of Broc and Jayden, keep getting big points and get the lead back.
"But every time I’m in car 5, I need to do the best job I can.”
The 2021 Dunlop Series will resume at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight on November 19.
The 2021 Repco Supercars Championship will continue at next weekend’s Bunnings Trade Sydney SuperNight. Tickets for all four upcoming Sydney events are on sale now.
All sessions will be broadcast live on Fox Sports and streamed via Kayo. The Seven Network will broadcast live from 3:30pm AEDT on Saturday and 12:30pm AEDT on Sunday.