Brad Jones Racing duo Jason Bright and Fabian Coulthard topped the time-sheets in the first official test session of the V8 Supercars’ new era at Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday.
The V8 Supercars test day was the first time that all four 2013 championship contending marques had shared track time and despite limited running for some, all four posted times within two seconds of each other.
Much of the pre-season talk had been about the more fancied runners, but it was Bright and team-mate Coulthard who, even without having run their cars in VF configuration beforehand, set the pace in both the day’s morning and afternoon sessions.
Watched on by a crowd of 17,600, a record for any pre-season official V8 Supercars test day, Bright posted an unofficial record-breaking lap time of 1m28.9655s round the 3.93 km circuit, 0.2838s quicker than the previous unofficial mark set by Craig Lowndes in the pre-season test two years ago. Coulthard also dipped under the previous benchmark, just four-hundredths of a second slower, with Lowndes who had spent much of the afternoon session in the top two, a further three-tenths of a second behind.
Dean Fiore and Scott Pye were fourth and sixth quickest in the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport entries with Rick Kelly in the Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima splitting the pair in a very encouraging fifth place, just half a second off Bright’s time.
Jamie Whincup had largely set the pace until the final 15 minutes finishing seventh, followed by Ford Performance Racing’s David Reynolds and Mark Winterbottom. Jonathon Webb in the Tekno Autosports Commodore was next up, making it seven Holdens in the top-ten, five of which have been built by Triple Eight Race Engineering.
Maro Engel was the best of the new Erebus Motorsport AMG trio in 14th, doing the bulk of the running but the German impressed the onlookers, scaling the top-ten in the afternoon session.
Thoughts now turn to the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, with several teams carrying out private testing between now and the season opener in two weeks’ time.
Results of the pre-season official V8 Supercars test day can be seen here.