“I think it was quite funny we all went out on wets and we were having our own Grand Prix race around on wets in dry conditions. Of course, they didn’t last too long, but it gave us an opportunity to look at the track, get a feel for where everything was, we went obviously back to a slick after about eight or nine laps on the wet weather tyre and we got a good handle on the track but of course the car balance was a little bit out.
“We spent three sessions really redesigning the car a little bit. We went up and down in spring rates and everything else, for us we got a pretty happy balance right at the end of session three and of course at the end of session four we were debating whether to put a second set on but we wanted to find out where the car balance had gone and we put them on and the car hooked up it was really nice.
“I had a few mistakes but I’m still learning the track but for me the car was sensational on that second set, the way the car was looking after the tyre – tyre grip here’s very different to what we’ve had so far.”
Will Davison, Pepsi Max FPR, p2:
“It is a really cool circuit and combines being technical and quite tricky with also a lot of fun aspects so it was fun to drive. Out of all the modern day Formula 1-type circuits we’ve raced on it would be the best we’ve raced on. I was a little concerned after the opening two sessions but we made some really good changes and by the end on used tyres the car was absolutely awesome. I think we are in really good shape in that respect though we made some changes which didn’t work for our new tyre run. That first run always involves a bit of guess work and we didn’t get it quite right. We know how to fix it so we are looking alright overall.”
Garth Tander, Holden Racing Team, p3:
“Our car was not too bad in the first session, we were close and then we didn’t really make the improvements the others seemed to make in Practice Two and Three. And then we made a change between the third Practice and that last session and then that really made the car much more competitive.
“We were always going to put a second set of tyres on at the end of that session to see where we were at … and the car gripped up pretty nicely in a few areas. I said to the boys, ‘I might be able to get you a tenth or two tenths out of the driving, but I’m not going to catch Lowndesy’– so that was pretty impressive (Lowndes’ lap in the 32secs).
“We need to tune the car up tomorrow – there’s two key things we need to make the car better and if we can do that we’ll be close.”
Chaz Mostert, Wilson Security Racing, p5:
“The track is pretty cool with a full on layout. It is so different to Australian tracks where you might get a bit of breather during the lap. Not here! For how big the track is and how many corners there are you have to string it all together to get a good lap. It definitely tests you as a driver. The surface is billiard table smooth, it's nothing like I have raced on before.
“The first race on Saturday will really give us the clue to whether the rear or front tyres are going to go away and that will determine a lot of the strategy for the other races.
“A two tyre stop is an option for sure. We used the second set of greens in the final run, but I reckon it was 50/50 who was on new and used at that point.
“I am looking for a Top 15 Qualifying for sure and if we can get further up that would be great.”
Alex Davison, JELD-WEN FPR, p8:
“It is a tricky track to learn and while it wasn’t a terrible day it wasn’t unbelievable either. We were pretty good in second Practice but we didn’t quite make the progress I wanted to. We used new tyres at the end and the car wasn’t too bad but I didn’t quite get the most out of the lap so we will go through everything tonight. I am not overly happy with our day but I’m not stressing about it as there were enough positives to give me confidence.”
David Reynolds, The Bottle-O FPR, p13:
“We didn’t really get a lot of running in early as we were bedding in brakes and sorting a few things out but Practice Three was much better and we made some good gains. In the final session we didn’t quite make the most of it and the green tyre run wasn’t the best so we need to do a bit of work there. We’ll come back tomorrow better and after a good look at the data I’m sure we can sort things out.”
Mark Winterbottom, Pepsi Max FPR Ford, p19:
“It is an awesome track and Turn One is going to become an iconic corner in our Championship. Overall, the layout is really enjoyable and while it was greasy and lacking grip early, by the end of the day the car really hooked up and you could attack corners. I am really happy with the car as we made massive progress and the race package will be very strong. We didn’t use fresh tyres so hopefully that will help us tomorrow and beyond. It was a good day and I’m happy with what we did.”
James Moffat, Norton 360 Racing, p20:
"It's great to hit the track over here in Austin. It's a pretty mega track, but very challenging at the same time.
"There's a lot of corners that flow onto the next one, so if you get one wrong, it means you get the next two or three wrong. You have to be very precise with the car.
"It was nice to roll out of the gate and be second quickest in the first session. I'm semi-claiming that I was the fastest. Fabian was faster than me, but he was over here a couple of weeks ago and has got 30 extra laps under his belt!
"We achieved everything we wanted to achieve today, and our position in that last session isn't a true reflection of where the car speed is at because we didn't run any new tyres."
Rick Kelly, Jack Daniel's Racing, p22:
"It's very hot, a lot hotter than we've had before, so for me I prefer it to be hot and I prefer the races to be longer because it's an advantage for us with some of the things we do to prepare.
"Unfortunately the race is only 27 laps, but it's still going to be long enough to see a few people get a little stressed. The track requires a lot of patience, one lap has 20 corners, so time that by 27 laps it's a lot of concentration and we're really focused on that and dealing with the heat well.
"It was one of the most exciting days we've had, I thoroughly love the track and I've really enjoyed learning a new place, it's not every day that we get to come out and learn somewhere new.
"Our car all day has been handling extremely well, as the end of the day we've been bumped back into the 20s because we've decided to save our tyres, but I'm very comfortable with where the car is at.
"So far it's been the best we've gone in car #15, we've stuck to our plan all day and found a lot of gains throughout the day on our own behalf and we can only be excited with that and hope it brings good results tomorrow."
Michael Caruso, Norton 360 Racing, p25:
"It was an interesting first day. Given the tyre strategy and that we have to do pit stops, we saw a lot of team playing strategy. A few teams did very little time on dry tyres and drove around on wets!
"Our focus was to work on the car. We didn't put new tyres on the car at the end and that reflected in our final position.
"We won't know where everyone is at until we all have brand-new tyres on in qualifying. We'll definitely go faster, but where that puts us, I'm not sure. We've never raced here, so we're still adjusting to this car and what makes it better."
Todd Kelly, Jack Daniel’s Racing, p27:
The heat will make it tough out there, but I don't mind it, it's pretty warm, but that's another part of the whole deal we need to challenge ourselves with and make sure that we don't let that affect us as much as some of the other guys.
“It's an unbelievable circuit and a very challenging track, it's got a little bit of everything and we worked away at the setup of the car and really improved it in a lot of areas.
"We're quite good in around half the track and we're quite bad in the other half and the cars doing a completely different thing, so at the moment when we fix one thing we wreck the other.
"We need to go over the data and work out exactly where we need to be, but we just ran the same tyres all day, which were completely ruined by the end, so it will be a different story when we put new tyres on tomorrow."
Tim Blanchard, Wilson Security Racing, p28:
“It is a very interesting track. There are not many real straights but there are lots of long radius corners, which really load up a V8 Supercar. With the race formats you are really not getting a break during the lap so it should provide some good racing.
“Today we had a few technical issues which did hamper us a little and we chose to run over three sessions on the one set of tyres. I think the speed is there but we need to string it all together. I am looking to definitely get a result on the board here in Austin.”