Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver Jamie Whincup set a new Supercars lap record at Barbagallo Wanneroo Raceway, to lead first PIRTEK Perth SuperNight practice.
Whincup logged a 53.4430s late in the session to shade Chaz Mostert by 0.0246 seconds, with third-placed Will Davison also within 0.0351s.
Championship leader Scott McLaughlin was seventh and Shane van Gisbergen 11th.
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Thirty minutes of running was the first taste drivers had of Barbagallo under lights, and the circuit that was resurfaced over summer.
The former practice/qualifying lap record of 54.5730s was surpassed immediately, with Mostert ultimately setting the pace through the first runs on a 54:0159s.
That stood as the benchmark until McLaughlin recorded a 53.8217s at the halfway mark.
Lee Holdsworth moved to the top entering the final 10 minutes, before further gains by Tickford team-mates Mostert and Davison.
Whincup logged a 53.4430s with three minutes left on the clock, which was not bettered.
"First impressions are that we’re much more competitive than Phillip Island," Whincup, who struggled last time out, said.
"It’s not going to guarantee anything, we’ve got to keep the ball rolling, but much more competitive out of the track.
"After P1 at Phillip Island, we were absolutely nowhere and we were in catch-up all weekend.
"It’s nice to be in a position where we should be competitive this weekend, but as it always is, we’ve just got to grind it out as the weekend goes on."
Mostert and Davison wound up second and third, while Fabian Coulthard made it three Mustangs in the top four behind Whincup.
"You’re trying to feel what the car was doing, but very difficult," Davison said.
"Obviously one thing just picking your marks and getting your line and length with the level of grip out there was crazy.
"Obviously the vision is never as good in the night, but the grip level is just massively high.
"All very strange feeling in the car, everything is just on fast-forward, it’s nuts.
"There’s going to be some big offs in the race. If you leave the track you’re going to leave it at a pretty great rate."
Penrite Racing pair David Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale were fifth and seventh, separated by Holdsworth.
McLaughlin was eighth, while Scott Pye regrouped from a puncture-induced off-track excursion at Turn 7 to finish ninth, and Cameron Waters took 10th.
Van Gisbergen finished 11th, one spot ahead of Simona De Silvesto in the best of the Kelly Racing Nissans.
Jack Le Brocq was 14th on the day his Tekno future was resolved, while wildcard runner Tim Blanchard had an off at Turn 1 on his way to 25th.
Friday's running starts with Practice 2 at 12:45pm local time, before knockout ARMOR ALL Qualifying at 3:25pm and the 50-lap race from 6:45pm.