Preparing for their maiden outings in a McLaren, McLaughlin and Lowndes tested at Queensland Raceway today, while van Gisbergen - the 2016 12 Hour winner in a 650S - attended the Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s launch in Sydney.
The race will also be McLaughlin’s first in a GT3 sportscar, with Lowndes having won at Bathurst twice in a Ferrari and finished on the podium in an Audi.
“It was good,” McLaughlin told Supercars.com
“Obviously it was just getting used to everything, it was the first time I’ve driven a car with traction control, ABS and that sort of stuff.
“It was finding my preferences in that and I got to a point where I was pretty comfortable.
“It got really hot during the day so it was almost pointless running, so we just started bedding brakes.
“But I did a decent amount of running in the morning, a couple of hours and then about an hour in the afternoon.”
McLaughlin’s experience beyond Supercars includes races in Porsche Carrera Cup cars, and a 12 Hour class win in one in 2016.
The driver aids and focus on aerodynamics in GT3 machinery is another significant step up, and marks a departure from McLaughlin’s regular Shell V-Power Racing Falcon.
“Today was the first car that I’ve driven that has proper big wings,” he said.
“To be honest it probably wasn’t the greatest track to get a completely good feel for the car in regards to the aero corners, but the thing’s got a whole lot of grip and braking capability.
“It was nice to get comfy and see if Fraser [Ross] likes what I like at this stage, my other team-mates weren’t there.
“The braking’s pretty phenomenal. I don’t think I locked a brake all day, that’s something we talk about a lot in Supercars, it was pretty weird to go into a corner and push the brake as hard as you can.
“It was just trying to work out how much I could push the brake without using all the ABS and hurting my braking.
“It’s going to be a balance, but Bathurst is a completely different beast so I’m looking forward to getting there.”