“We’re very happy – the car is responding extremely well and what we’ve learned from the test day last week in how to manage the car better over bumpy tracks like this is paying dividends.
“The car is nicer to drive now and I’m really happy. The biggest thing we have to keep an eye on really is the weather as there’s likely going to be some wet conditions. But our car works really well. We’ve found some good balance.
“And with the four corners re-surfaced there is definitely more grip out there which suits us, too. There’s great potential here with these cars of the future that we can break the race record for the first time. I’m very excited for the weekend ahead.”
Lee Holdsworth, IRWIN Racing, p2:
“I suppose it isn’t surprising as we had a very successful test day last week. Our weakest point before this was green tyres and we worked on that at the test day and took a different direction and it worked.
“It’s nice to feel what a green tyre feels like again with a bit of rubber underneath.
“Practice we have been in the top ten most of the time in the last couple of rounds and then it all goes out the door in qualifying so to put on a green set then and get a good gain out of it was quite pleasing. I am hoping we can repeat it tomorrow, I don’t want to get my hopes up too much.”
Will Davison, Pepsi Max Crew FPR, p3:
“It’s been a great day, Steve (Owen) was really fast in his session and I did drive round. I remember I did a nine-three in that pre-season test in 2012 and then a nine-one in qualifying last year I did a nine-zero then I was like ah beat my time but I had a feeling that someone may be able to top it. But the day got better and better for us.
“Usual story, our tyres we brought here were not too bad, we learnt a lot on them but you don’t really know where your speed is at until you out a set of tyres on.”
Scott McLaughlin, Fujitsu GRM, p4:
“Day one at Sandown was a good day. We went out and the car was pretty good straight out of the truck. I went out and did basically the whole session, Jack jumped in for a bit we both said the car was pretty good. So I handed over to Jack for the co-driver session, he did a good job and he made a bit of a change and went better on some better rubber. He went fast in the session and it was good for him and for the team. Went into the last session and had good build up, the car was good, just drove it around and we ended up fourth in the session, I stuffed up my good lap on my good tyres but more to come and early day yet so pretty happy and happy for all the boys. Push on and we’ll be right.”
Alex Premat, Fujitsu GRM, p5:
“Day one at Sandown. It’s been quite a good day. We had three practices with my teammate Greg (Ritter) and I think we did what we have to do. A bit of tuning in car, working as teammates and preparing and sharing the car. It’s working really good with both of us and I think we’re pretty good because in three practices we were in the top 10. It was a really good start for the weekend and definitely looking forward to having a top 10 in qualifying and a really strong race.”
Mark Winterbottom, Pepsi Max FPR, p6:
“We had a pretty good day and the car isn’t too bad. Steve (Richards) was comfortable and we have driver changes and all the basics you need sorted for enduros working well, which is important. We didn’t have the cleanest run at the end due to a few factors, so it’s hard to know where you are at, but I think we are okay.”
Garth Tander, Holden Racing Team, p7:
“We made good progress today and managed to set a reasonable time towards the end of the session on used tyres. We have some work to do ahead of tomorrow and we’re working through the data now.”
Alex Davison, Team Jeld-Wen, p8:
“I am really happy, mainly with how we improved the car. At the start I wasn’t that happy but we made some really good changes and when I jumped back in for the final session it felt 100 percent better than the earlier sessions. I think there are more improvements we can make quite easily which gives me confidence. I enjoyed driving today as the changes we made brought improvements and that is encouraging.”
Jason Bright, Team BOC, p9:
"We made a big change towards the end of that last session and ran out of time. We had to go to our next set of tyres in a hurry but didn't end up getting a lap in anyway because I backed off to get some clear track and got the chequered flag instead.
"I think the car's reasonably strong though. All day it's been up there and this race is all about the 500km on Sunday, not your time over one lap. I'm very happy with the way the car's working at the moment. It's balanced."
David Reynolds, The Bottle-O FPR, p10:
“I think as a team we are all pretty fast. I didn’t run decent tyres at the end but our pace on old rubber was good so we are looking okay for the race. We will just need to tidy it up for qualifying and all should be fine. Dean (Canto) was on the pace and was pushing on, so I am happy.”
James Courtney, Holden Racing Team, p11:
“Practice went pretty well today – the overall balance of the car is good but we have a few adjustments to make to improve our outright pace. We’ll make some changes overnight and see how we go in P4 tomorrow morning.”
Russell Ingall, Supercheap Auto Racing, p12:
“We bounced back well from some of the dramas early in the day and the car was pretty fast by the end.”
Tim Slade, Heavy Haulage Australia Racing, p14:
“The Heavy Haulage Australia rig was speedy all day, between Wes (McDougall - engineer), Thommo (Andrew Thompson) and myself, we feel incredibly positive right now.
“When we had the better tyres on in the final session there, we couldn’t get a clear lap, so the third practice isn’t a true indication of the pace of how our day has gone.
“Thommo did an awesome job in his session and we’re all feeling really good about where we sit currently.
“Following our test day last week, we’ve tried a couple of new things and it is quite clear that we’re on the right track.”
Rick Kelly, Jack Daniel’s Racing, p15:
"It's great to get back in the car after a couple of weeks and it's a fun little track here at Sandown. The track was quite dirty to start with and cleaned up throughout the day which changed the car's handling a little bit, but we made some changes with Karl (Reindler) and myself and thought it was not too bad.
“Tomorrow if it stays consistent and continues to grip up, I think we shouldn't be looking too bad for a good race car and a reasonable qualifying car, but it goes without saying, here there are two very long straights and you can see from the sectors that we're losing a lot of time there, which we can't do much about. Apart from that, the car is very good."
Shane van Gisbergen, VIP Petfoods TEKNO, p17:
"Just a couple of runs for me today, and then Jeroen had the car for the rest of it. He did a pretty good job, it’s hard for him without any test days, it’s just a case of jump in and see how you go. Pretty good, just built up the speed and built up to the high speed stuff – that’s a pretty tough corner up there. He got better and better, and then I got in and did a couple of runs on a better set of tyres. We’ve got another practice session in the morning, and I’ll probably do more laps then."
Jamie Whincup, Red Bull Racing Australia, p18:
“Today was all about the new car, testing out what does and doesn’t work.
“We’ve got four practice sessions to get to grips with it and out of the box, it’s a lot better. It feels much better and there are no vibrations like those we suffered at Winton. We’re looking good. We’ve got another practice session to work on a few things tomorrow before qualifying.”
Fabian Coulthard, Lockwood Racing, p19:
"I just can't seem to do what the other dudes are doing at the moment. I'm struggling for all-round grip. This morning we were OK but now the pace has lifted I don't know where it's going to come from.
"We don't know if it's tyres, but they were very old. We won't really know until we get chance to go over everything. Hopefully we'll find something or we'll look at using a race-allocated set for tomorrow's last practice session. We just need to do some analysis and work out what it is."
Maro Engel, SP Tools Racing, p20:
“It’s definitely a cool track to drive, my focus today was to learn the track. I’ve been working closely with Chris (Stuckey - Engineer) and Steve (Johnson) on where we are at and getting everything right for the rest of the weekend.
“The car was very competitive on the older tyre, if we get the setup right we can be right in there.
“There’s definitely more pace to come – Steve (Johnson) has given some good feedback, we’ll look through the data tonight and turn out even better tomorrow.”
Jonathon Webb, Team TEKNO Darrell Lea, p21:
"It’s been an interesting day, giving Marc plenty of laps, but at the same time making sure that he’s got a car that’s nice and comfortable to drive. It started off not too badly, with the car in the ballpark. I then had a small off, which we didn’t think much of at the time, but it looks like it broke the roll bar on the way through. It didn’t break fully, just enough to hinder us, and we didn’t really pick it until the end of the day. Thankfully we didn’t go a million miles away with set-up, but we probably haven’t been able to get too much out of today, aside from the good track time for Marc."
Chaz Mostert, Wilson Security Dick Johnson Racing, p23:
“I’ve had a bit of an up and down day. The car isn’t too bad. It’s still early days and we’re not too sure where the car is at. There were a lot of people trying to get a lap at the end of the final session and there were people trying to slow down and get space to do a lap, so it was pretty busy. Sandown is a fantastic track, a great venue and I can’t wait to get out there in the 500 on Sunday and be part of it all.”
Michael Caruso, Norton Hornets, p24:
“In terms of our final position, the car is not where it should be.
“We put our best tyres on, so we didn’t see the time gains that others had because they all put on new rubber.
“We’ll definitely see a gain tomorrow – the thing will be how much quicker we go.
“The car is handling really well. It’s hard to fault it. There’s not one major area, other than the straight line speed, that we can complain about.”
Todd Kelly, Jack Daniel’s Racing, p25:
"The car is quite nice, it's good over the kerbs and good in all the corners and we actually put a set of new tyres on early in the last session and did two or three changes to try and get the car in the window, which worked well.
"The rest of the field put their tyres on towards the end and the track got better and better, and I did my fastest time on the sixth or seventh lap, which cost me a little bit.
"We're in the top few in all the corners, but just getting smashed up the front and back straights, which we can't do much about, so that will make it a tough weekend, but there is certainly no drama with the handling of the car."
Tim Blanchard, Wilson Security DJR, p26:
“I’m pretty happy with the day. Ash was quick in the co-drivers session and we were pretty quick on old tyres, running around the 14th and 15th mark for most of the day. On the last two laps, when everyone went out on new tyres, everyone was tripping over each other and it was a bit of a mess out there, to be honest, so we didn’t get a real run on new tyres – so the time we posted was on 15-lap old tyres. Considering that, I think there are a few tenths on new tyres which will put us back up there.
“The car isn’t the best at the moment, to be honest, but I think we’re going to be fairly competitive with it. It’s been pretty good so far with Ash. Ash has been one of the quicker co-drivers every time he jumps in the car and that will be an advantage for us come Sunday.”
James Moffat, Norton Hornets, p27:
“We had an interrupted day, especially when Taz (Douglas) was in the car, losing a wheel, which is never ideal.
“That was disappointing and it put us behind where we wanted to be in terms of some of the changes we wanted to get through today.
“The interruption meant that we had to give Taz more laps in Practice Three, because it is important that he is as comfortable in the car as I am.
“Fortunately, we have the practice session in the morning, so we’ll both get some more time in the car then.
“We knew we were going to struggle this weekend with how the engine is, but the car is feeling pretty good. We didn’t run on any decent tyres, so considering that we’re reasonably encouraged.”
Warren Luff, Red Bull Racing Australia #888, p1:
“I think when you come to these races with a good team and you have a good bunch of guys around you it makes the job that much easier. You can focus on what you’re doing, you’re not having to worry about the team or the other driver and obviously I was partnered with Craig last year and a couple of years ago with James Courtney.
“It’s a situation I’d rather be in where you are in a good team and with a good bunch of guys around you as I’ve said it makes the job that much easier.”
Craig Baird, IRWIN Racing #4, p2:
“When you jump from a GT car or a Carrera Cup car to a Car of the Future it is still a V8 Supercar. And the guys, Luffy and me, it takes a few laps to get in to that zone of driving a Supercar.”
Steve Owen, Pepsi Max FPR #6, p3:
“I have been in this situation with Jamie (Whincup) a few years ago and everyone said it was a lot more pressure but it actually isn’t, I am used to racing against these guys in a car that wasn’t as quick and once jump in with these guys it almost feels as though the pressure’s off because we aren’t expected to go as quick and bring things back in a decent position to and over to Will. So to a certain extent I feel like it is less pressure. This will be my 15th Bathurst, it is something that comes naturally so it is fine.”
Jack Perkins, Fujitsu GRM #33, p4:
“It’s been a really good day and it’s good to finish Friday well but we know we have a lot of work ahead of us.
“The #33 car was in the top five in every session and then it was a great team result to have both cars in the top five in the final session.
“I got a couple of laps at the end of the first session and then in the co-driver session I ran really well, the car was good from the outset and we were basically up the top most of the time.
“Some of the other guys put a second set of tyres on and we did the same and ended up, up the top. It doesn’t mean a lot on come Sunday afternoon but its good now."
Greg Ritter, Fujitsu GRM #34, p5:
“I had a good day today at Sandown driving with Alex. Car felt good, it was competitive in all sessions and certainly looking forward to having a good race. So far the car’s been great and responded to changes quite well. It’s reasonably easy to drive which is good for the endurance races. Hopefully we get a good qualifying position tomorrow and start up the pointy end come Sunday.”
Nick Percat, Holden Racing Team #2, p7:
“It was great to get back behind the wheel of the #2 HRT VF Commodore today. I just took it easy and worked through our program ahead of the qualifying races tomorrow.”
Andrew Jones, Team BOC #8, p9:
"Brighty has been saying all year that we had the most to gain from the introduction of Car of the Future and this was one of our worst circuits last year. If we were going to gain anywhere it was always going to be this place. Now, all the places that we were weak here last year we're not weak anymore. We're much more competitive.
"I feel pretty confident with where I am with the car. Early on in my session we were really strong. We had a program to get through and the first couple of changes were quite good and we made time but, just before the red flag, we made a change that hurt us quite a bit. We lost too much time with the red flag to back out so we dropped back a bit at the end."
Greg Murphy, Holden Racing Team #22, p11:
“I think we have a good car this weekend – it was pretty good out of the truck and we’ve shown some reasonable pace. The direction of the car is certainly encouraging we’re looking forward to getting out there on some fresher tyres for tomorrow’s qualifying run.”
Ryan Briscoe, Supercheap Auto Racing #66, p12:
“We had a little incident in Practice Two but the boys were able to fix it really quickly.
“I was able to get comfortable in the SCAR VF Commodore and now I feel pretty confident; I think we’ve got a good race car.
“In this new car you can brake really hard and deep, and it has really good high-speed handling as well."
Andrew Thompson, Heavy Haulage Australia Racing #47, p14:
“We’ve had a really good start to the weekend, the car rolled out of the truck really well.
“Tim was really quick right away, which made my life easier. With the car being so good, I was able to get in and get up to speed without any trouble. Every time we made some changes the car got better.
"From my perspective, I was happy to focus on the job that I’ve been given. I have got some work to do to get the rust out of my system, but with every change the car went forward.
“Without doubt, the Heavy Haulage Australia E63 is definitely very quick and it is pointing towards a good weekend.”
Karl Reindler, Jack Daniel’s Racing #15, p15:
"I had some solid laps today, obviously being out of the car for a few weeks it was a good chance to familiarise yourself with it again and we did a bit of tuning at the same time and I'm starting to feel really good in the car.
"We've done some great driver change practice, which will be important come Sunday, but I'm just playing my role in supporting Rick and I think the progress we've made so far has been positive.
"We'll make a few more demon tweaks in the morning and see how Rick qualifies at around midday tomorrow."
Jeroen Bleekemolen, Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods #97, p17:
"I’m pretty happy, it was a fun day, for sure. It’s great to be back in these cars, and I think after a day of running we are quite close to where we should be. I’m sure there’s still some room for improvement but I’m pretty confident that we’ll be competitive for the races."
Luke Youlden, Lockwood Racing #14, p19:
"That's the fastest I've been around Sandown I think! Last year we were only doing 1min11s I'm sure. The cars or the track are a fair bit quicker than then obviously and our car's clearly not too bad either.
"I did a 1min10.48 in today's co-driver session after we put a good set of tyres on at the end but I really needed another lap or two to feel where the grip is."
Steven Johnson, SP Tools Racing #9, p20:
“All three cars have shown some good speed right throughout. We’ve all been on a different program which gives us some extra scope on setup when we sit down for a discussion tonight.
“The track has evolved throughout the day which has led to a changing balance on the car, we have to be sure that we make the right choices in setup and don’t take ourselves outside that window.
“Maro is getting more comfortable with each lap he does here.
“All in all, I’d have to say it has been a good day for the team right across the board.”
Marc Lieb, Team TEKNO Darrell Lea #19, p21:
"I think it was very important to get some laps, and the team was very nice to give me enough time to get familiar with the car. Of course, the first two or three laps are always a shock again, but then you just get your head around it and then it was getting better and better every lap. Tomorrow, the quali race will be a learning race for me, for sure, but then for the main race I’m sure we’ll be fine."
Dale Wood, Wilson Security DJR #12, p23:
“We’ve had a few dramas today. A mount broke on the tailshaft and the vibration was driving me crazy during my session. Chaz’s sectors have been unreal, really good, so I think we’ll be somewhere around the mark. As long as we can get up the front then we should be able to race there. I’ve been working with our engineer for a couple of years now so I have a good relationship with him and I’ve got a good relationship with Chaz; we seem to speak the same language. The DJR boys are unreal and they make you feel very welcome, so I’m comfortable; I’m at home.”
Daniel Gaunt, Norton Hornets #36, p24:
“For me, it was a matter of getting confident in the car.
“We didn’t get a lot of running in the first practice, but we worked away at it for the rest of the day and Michael (Caruso) and I were feeling the same things. We made a good gain towards the end as well. I feel that we will be in a much better position tomorrow.”
David Russell, Jack Daniel’s Racing #7, p25:
"Today was good to be able to get some miles in the car, we had limited running today, because we need to focus on getting the car set up right and Todd being the lead driver, can make those changes.
"We'll get in tomorrow during practice four and hopefully get some more laps and do a bit of a longer race run. We made some changes to the car, which was an improvement, but there is still a bit more to do, especially in the middle sector, which is down the back straight."
Ash Walsh, Wilson Security DJR #17, p26:
“It’s been pretty good. I’ve never been to Sandown in a V8 Supercar before so I’ve been getting comfortable in the car and just trying to keep it on the track and it seems to be going alright. We’ve been working on the car and have a good direction, but I feel very comfortable already. I’m still learning how to drive the car and its good we’re not too far apart on pace, it means I can look at data properly and I don’t have to extend myself to get the pace. It’s been a good start for me.”
Taz Douglas, Norton Hornets #360, p27:
“It was a difficult day, but there’s always been worse days.
“We can take some positives out of it, and considering the tyres that we were running on, we’re in better shape than what it looks on the time sheets.
“The wheel incident was a bit of a negative, but l’m sure that’s not going to happen again. I’ve done plenty of laps around Sandown, and I feel comfortable in the car and I’m not stressed out that much.”
From the teams
Tim Edwards, FPR Team Principal:
“Today was the ideal opening day with lots of laps logged and good seat time for the co-drivers. All four cars were in the 10 and with the record-breaking pace we saw today qualifying is going to be very close.”