REIGNING V8 champion Jamie Whincup and teammate Craig Lowndes pushed their cars to the limit during a critical day of testing at Queensland Raceway yesterday.
The Team Vodafone drivers, who finished one-two in last year's championship, are second and fourth this season. They are keen to move up the rankings as they look towards the Ipswich 300.
Team principle Adrian Burgess said with only four testing days allowed each year, the team had to make the most of the opportunity to get on to the track.
"It's the first time we've brought the main cars here this year," Burgess said trackside yesterday.
"These sessions aren't really for the drivers, they're all about the car. We try new parts, new set-ups, we practise starts.
"The drivers get mileage but it's more about testing the car."
Stone Brothers Racing and Tekno Autosports joined Team Vodafone for the day-long session, which offered drivers their first chance to assess the new track surface laid last year.
Burgess said feedback from Lowndes and Whincup had been positive.
"The bumps are gone and the track surface is more consistent now. They've done a good job," he said.
Stone Brothers drivers Shane van Gisbergen and Cameron Slade also worked on car set-ups.
Co-drivers, who rarely get extended time in the V8 cars, also enjoyed yesterday's session.
Luke Youlden will drive with van Gisbergen at Bathurst this year.
"These test days are critical because we get such a limited amount of time in the car," Youlden said. "As a driver every single lap we can do is important.''
Youlden agreed the new surface would lead to faster lap times during this year's V8 event at the track. He challenged suggestions the design of the track made it simpler to drive.
"We drive all sorts of tracks and this one doesn't have the humps and blind corners like Bathurst,'' he said.
Following the latest testing session, the teams will head for Darwin to race on June 15-17.
Teams will have one more chance to test at the Ipswich track before the Ipswich 300 in August.