How did your favourite fare in day one of the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365 event? See what some of the drivers had to say about Practice.
Craig Lowndes, Red Bull Racing, 1st combined:
"The car is different to drive, the rear end is nicer and we can run curbs a lot better than we have in the past.
"The current car sits and squats nicer than last year and at the moment the car has been nice all day.
"At the end we had a good run on the new tyre. We did struggle a little bit with traffic trying to get a lap but once we did get a lap the car was good…
“We've come a long way in the two practice sessions we had and we've now got some things we can change in the car that we now will have an effect."
Jamie Whincup, Red Bull Racing, 2nd combined:
"My car's been a bit of a handful. It's been trying to buck me off all year.
"We had great test day a week and a half ago and we have come out here and certainly feel relief that the car feels much, much better.
"We had a pretty good run all the way though and we had a good set of tyres to throw on at the end (of practice) but we just didn't maximise.
"All in all I take out of today that we are much stronger than we were in the first two rounds."
Fabian Coulthard, Lockwood Racing, 3rd combined:
"Tassie for us last year wasn't a great round. We struggled to qualify 16th so we didn't have great expectations coming here – but the car's surprised all of us today. It's not perfect, there's still time in it, but I've already sat in more Tassie press conferences than I have in my entire V8 career!
"We bashed around on tyres that had done a bit of work out there today and were pretty competitive so I think we've got a pretty good race car. I normally get massive rear locking with the tyres here but not this weekend so braking is pretty strong.
"I think the new format is going to be good. It's going to be all about tyres and how long they last, which is an unknown but we'll make the most of our opportunities."
Jason Bright, Team BOC, 6th combined:
"We were looking alright until we put the green tyres on at the end. I had a lot of traffic at the end there and had to keep on aborting laps but that last set of greens just didn't come on.
"I'm happy with where we are though. It's pretty good considering. I think we're right in there with Triple Eight, especially on old tyres. We were in the top two all that last session on used tyres, we just didn't have a good run on greens so it's all looking alright.
"With the greens, we tried to make it a better qualifying car but I had more understeer than I had all practice. We didn't have a good run on greens but I'm happy with it. We've got a race car at the moment."
Mark Winterbottom, Pepsi Max Crew FPR, 7th combined:
"The first session didn't give us much, though it was good to have the extra time to go through a few things. In the other sessions we weren't quite happy with things but it was only a bit of rear tyre locking into the hairpin, so if we can sort that we will have quite a competitive car. We'll look at things and go over the data tonight and given we only need gains in one area, it should make a big difference if we can tidy it up."
Will Davison, Pepsi Max Crew FPR, 12th combined:
“Our tyre bank meant we didn't quite show what we had today so we spent most of the day working on other areas of the car. We learnt quite a bit in the final session of the day and overall the car balance is pretty good. No doubt we have some lap time we need to find but with a few tweaks tomorrow should look much better."
Lee Holdsworth, IRWIN Racing, 15th combined:
“It was good to finish in the top 15 – that’s a pretty good effort. Considering we came here thinking this would be a pretty big challenge for us and considering we’ve been down on speed previously, I think we’ve improved that area slightly.
“This is a big horsepower track so you’ve got to get braking right – we’ve obviously got a strong bake package and everything’s working right with the car.
“We made improvements every session we went out. It was a little frustrating first session this morning, but I didn’t let that get to me – I set myself up – I expected those sorts of things to happen this year. We’re always going to have those little teething problems but as long as we get on top of it in practice and they don’t happen in the race I’m very happy.”
David Reynolds, The Bottle-O Racing FPR, 17th combined:
"It wasn't a bad day. We were competitive on the hard tyre and while we are using the soft tyre this weekend we didn't have a lot of softs in our bank to sample. I think we made improvements and on my best run I encountered traffic so the car as it is, on old rubber, would've been in the top 10. So we'll see how we fare tomorrow."
Todd Kelly, Jack Daniels Racing, 20th combined:
“Straight out of the truck the cars were really not ideal set-up wise for this place and I was struggling quite a bit with my car. By the last session we made quite a few changes and the car was really doing everything I wanted it to.
“I was around 19th or 20th and had, up until that point, run on old hard tyres, while the rest of the field was on softs, so I was expecting to really pop up somewhere mid-field with the soft tyre.
"We put them on at the end to confirm where we were at and again the car felt quite good, so I expected to be somewhere and it only really jumped up a few spots relative to the rest of the field.
"Genuinely we're probably somewhere between about 18th and 24th and like I said the car feels quite good, so we need to have a good look at the data. The way the car feels, we're not that far off with it so it's as we expected, most likely coming from the back straight."
Alex Davison, JELD-WEN FPR, 21st combined:
“We didn't have a particularly good tyre bank though the tyre quality was good, it's just we had good hards, not softs. That set us back a bit, but it was more that I struggled a bit with car balance and couldn't get on top of it. Ironically it was understeer we had an issue with and not oversteer, which has been an issue for me all year. That's actually a good thing as it shows we are getting on top of things. I'm confident the car will be sorted for tomorrow so we aren't worried."
Rick Kelly, Jack Daniels Racing, 22nd combined:
"Two practice sessions for us today and half-hour sessions is a pretty short time because adjustments on these cars can take a fair while. We got to change a few things and learn a little bit more about the car, but the ending to the day was frustrating.
"There's no doubt ending in the 20s on a good set of tyres is tough to swallow for me as a driver and, to be honest, for the whole team. Everyone wants to be up the front, so we've got to learn a little bit more overnight.
"We've been talking about coming here this weekend for a number of weeks and wondering what we're going to be like and what the car’s going to handle like – and the exciting thing is now we know. We know what our strengths and weaknesses are and we can take all the data and decipher what went on.
"Tomorrow's a new day and a very exciting format for us, but we've still got to get a bit more pace out of the car."
Tim Blanchard, Wilson Security Racing, 27th combined:
“I don’t think the time sheets show actually where we are. It was a mixed day, but I am confident we were quite competitive before a lot of the cars switched to new tyres. The car improved dramatically throughout the day and considering the mileage on the tyres, I feel it really did show some progress.”
When asked about the new starting procedure for Saturday’s rolling start, Tim said, “I have bit of homework to do tonight! I think it is going to be very exciting for the fans.”
Jonny Reid, Wilson Security Racing, 28th combined:
“This is my first time here and it is a challenging track! There really are only three ‘real’ corners and the rest of it is on the throttle. I think the racing will be very entertaining.
“With the new COTF brake package you are on the brakes very late, so it should provide some great racing. We learnt some more things today, and despite only running hard tyres, still got some good data on the car.
“I’m really happy with the improvements and understanding we are getting on the Wilson Security Falcon.”