Peter Xiberras has placed no expectations on James Golding, but doesn’t want any heroics in Townsville.
Golding will make his first full-time Supercars start since 2019 at this weekend’s NTI Townsville 500.
The Victorian took the PremiAir Racing seat vacated by Garry Jacobson.
Golding had no prior running in a PremiAir car prior to Friday practice.
He kept the car straight and ended up 23rd in a hit-out that impressed Xiberras.
Xiberras was adamant there is no pressure on Golding, and is delighted how he has slotted into the team.
However, given Golding’s lack of seat time of late, Xiberras wants his recruit to walk before he can run.
"Whatever the result is this weekend, it will be what it will be," Xiberras told Supercars.com.
Golding on track on Friday morning
"There were a lot of options out there; you want a guy to be quick and reliable.
"But we also wanted a guy to fit in with our team dynamic and structure.
"It’s like he’s been with us since the start of the year. He fits in like a hand in a glove.
"There’s zero expectation this week. But equally, I don’t want him to be a hero on the first lap.
"He can his elbows out later in the year. But he needs to get comfortable first."
Golding returns to Supercars a more mature product, having made his full-time debut in 2018 at 21.
He has taken to S5000 and karting in a bid to stay sharp, with Golding preparing for a third Bathurst start with Team 18.
Xiberras said there was no shortage of talent available to replace Jacobson, but knew Golding had what was required to succeed at PremiAir.
'We want him to get his bearings and get comfortable'
That journey starts this weekend in Townsville, and Xiberras is willing to give Golding the time he needs to become a force in Supercars.
"We were a bit nervous too," Xiberras said of Golding’s first laps on Friday morning.
"He’s a confident young man; he’s not cocky, but there’s an aura of confidence about him.
"He went out and did exactly what we thought he would do.
"He is easing into it, and he’ll get faster and faster as the weekend progresses.
"I think he did very well in that first session. Like I said, I said to him that there’s zero pressure on him this weekend.
"He needs to catch up, so we want him to get his bearings and get comfortable."
Cars will return to the track for Practice 2 in Townsville at 2:50pm local time.