Ford Performance Racing (FPR) trio Mark Winterbottom, Will Davison and Paul Dumbrell have made an encouraging start to the on-track action at the Clipsal 500, filling three of the top nine positions after Friday's practice sessions.
Winterbottom finished second in the #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon in both sessions he contested and was one of only three drivers to break the 1m22.0s barrier during practice.
"I was a little surprised with the lap that put me second. I had a really average first two sectors," Winterbottom said.
"It was hard to get a clean line and as soon as you went wide to pass a car you were in the marbles. The track will feel different tomorrow but we have to improve the Orrcon Falcon overnight as everyone else will be much quicker.
"It is great for the team to have so many cars at the pointy end. I am really looking forward to qualifying."
Davison gradually built speed in both sessions on his first Clipsal appearance in an FPR Falcon and the driver of the #6 Trading Post Racing Ford ended the final 30-minute session fifth despite a minor off in the closing minutes.
"I am impressed with the pace of the car and I just kept improving it on every run. I lost a little time when I ran off a little into the gravel trap but I actually set my best lap next time round so it didn't cost me too much," Davison said.
"I am adapting my driving style to suit the Falcon and it takes time to mentally adjust to doing things differently but I am happy with where I finished the day. It is a credit to FPR that all three cars were so quick."
Dumbrell, who ran in all four sessions by virtue of being in the bottom half of the points table, used the extra running to his advantage and the #55 The Bottle-O FPR Falcon ended the day ninth-fastest after an earlier faster lap was cancelled when he cut turn two.
"It was a pretty routine day today and though the extra two sessions I had this morning were handy to have, they didn't really make much difference to how the day progressed," Dumbrell said.
"We set some good times and tweaked the car according to the track as it developed but there were no major issues. The team as a whole looks to be where we need to be so we are all looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying."
The opening day of V8 Supercar main series action went by without any real incidents for FPR and the team is looking well-placed ahead of tomorrow morning's 20-minute qualifying session.