INDYCAR star Helio Castroneves took to the Queensland Raceway like a seasoned veteran in his Stone Brothers Racing V8 Supercar yesterday.
All of the international drivers competing at the Gold Coast 600 this weekend had a practice day at the Ipswich track yesterday, and Castroneves was the fastest of the three SBR guest drivers.
Castroneves (Brazil), Marc Lieb (Germany) and Emanuele Pirro (Italy) enjoyed plenty of seat time in their new rides, each clocking up over 80 laps in preparation for this weekend's two 300km races.
Castroneves, who will partner Tim Slade on the Surfers Paradise street circuit, had the advantage of having driven with Slade in last year's event.
"Today was awesome. It's always good to come back to a team and guys you know and whose expertise you value," Castroneves said.
"I have been following the Team all year and Tim and I have unfinished business here on the Gold Coast after last year so we'll be doing our best to wrap it up on the weekend."
Multiple Le Mans winner Pirro also found his comfort zone early. Pirro will team up with Shane van Gisbergen for this weekend's races.
Porsche factory pilot Marc Lieb pumped out almost 100 laps at Queensland Raceway. Lieb will join long-time friend and former Porsche compatriot Alex Davison in Saturday's opening race.
"These cars are very different to what I am used to but they are actually what I expected," Lieb said. "Things were difficult at the start of the day but as we progressed I got a lot more comfortable and my lap times improved accordingly."
SBR's regular drivers, Shane van Gisbergen, Alex Davison and Tim Slade will return to the track with their international counterparts on Friday morning for opening practice at the Surfers Paradise street circuit.
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