The Tickford Racing driver nonetheless began his Bathurst redemption mission on the right foot, finishing second with his first timed lap after a red-flag stoppage.
The session had been halted with seven minutes remaining after James Golding became the first victim of the Surfers Paradise concrete canyon, hitting the wall at Turn 11 and causing damage to the front-right of his #34 Commodore.
Shane van Gisbergen and Richie Stanaway gave Practice 1 some late spice with a heated on-track moment.
Stanaway blocked his Kiwi compatriot, who duly gave him a small bump at Turn 11 complemented by some hand gestures.
“He’s one of my good mates, but he wonders why sometimes. I went down the inside and he just slammed me,” van Gisbergen said.
“Anyway, the car’s good, we didn’t run [new] tyres then, just stayed on the same ones and it feels pretty comfortable.”
Van Gisbergen finished third, having traded fastest times with David Reynolds for much of the session.
Reynolds finished fifth, just behind James Courtney.
Cameron Waters, Fabian Coulthard, Nick Percat, Anton De Pasquale and Scott McLaughlin rounded out the 10.
The top 24 drivers were separated by less than 1.8s, with the Kostecki Brothers Racing wildcard the only runner outside that window.
Golding aside, the other 24 cars got through Practice 1 relatively unscathed.
McLaughlin promptly achieved the Gold Coast 600 trademark, knocking the left mirror off his Shell V-Power Racing Mustang in the early stages.
Todd Hazelwood later scraped the right-hand side of his new-look Matt Stone Racing Commodore at the beach chicane.
A number of other cars had lap times discounted due to kerb strikes or shortcuts.
Many teams took the opportunity to give their co-drivers an outing before the additional drivers only Practice 2 session at 1:45pm local time.