Mark Winterbottom expects to get more of “an idea” of his new Gen3 Camaro in Sydney after Team 18’s first shakedown.
Team 18’s two new Camaro made their track debuts at Winton Motor Raceway on Friday.
Winterbottom and Scott Pye shook down chassis T18-002 and T18-001 respectively in hot conditions.
The two cars were up to the task, Pye later claiming he was "struggling to wipe the smile off my face”.
Both Camaros completed approximately 90 laps each, leaving Winterbottom — a veteran of 593 races — impressed by the hit-out.
The focus now shifts to Sydney Motorsport Park, where all 25 cars will share the track for the first time for the official pre-season test.
“We had a really good day, the first time Team 18 has built cars in-house and we rolled straight out with no dramas,” the 2015 champion said.
“I did around 90 laps and never once were we in the garage repairing it. The team has done a great job and now we load up and do some serious testing.
“We’ll get an idea at Sydney Motorsport Park, and then we’ll test again at Winton before Newcastle.
"But these cars at Newcastle are going to be hard to drive. It’s risk versus reward, they need to be driven hard to go fast.
“Today was good to roll through and get comfortable, but in terms of testing it’s hard to tell as we’re the only cars here, but the way the car felt I think is not a bad sign.
“Shakedowns have become test days, it’s unbelievable how these days used to be 60 kilometres, 20 laps but today we did over 90, so we pushed the new rules and it was a rewarding day.”
Team 18 has another test day scheduled for Wednesday 1 March at Winton following next week's Sydney test.
Then, all teams will arrive back in New South Wales for the season-opening Thrifty Newcastle 500.
Friday’s running came a day late for Team 18 due to steering wheel issues, but Pye reiterated that it was all best case scenario for the team come day’s end.
"I’m excited to head to Sydney Motorsport Park and see what everyone else has, but all in all I’m really happy with the day,” Pye said.
“When you go and see others testing you get itchy feet for sure, but today was proof of why we waited. We spent time and made sure everything was right on both cars and had no dramas all day is why we did it.
“Yesterday we wanted to go but there was something that Supercars introduced which caused a bit of a problem and it meant that we couldn’t get out there.
“But postponing it to today was the perfect solution because it’s been a fantastic day all round.
“I definitely don’t feel like we’re behind, we’re in a good spot and everyone is on a level playing field we’ve all got the same equipment now.
"We’ve still got a test day up our sleeve after Sydney Motorsport Park but we’ll head up there next week and see what we’ve got.”
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will commence at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 on March 10-12.
Tickets are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.