Photo: Erebus Motorsport,

Brodie Kostecki tops Newcastle season opener practice sessions

Chevrolet Camaro driver Brodie Kostecki was fastest of all in the first-ever Gen3 practice sessions of the Supercars Championship season opener on the streets of Newcastle, Australia.

The first session saw Brad Jones Racing’s Andre Heimgartner setting the fastest time, lapping the street circuit in 1:11.9958 which was 0.1813 seconds faster than Erebus Motorsport driver Will Brown.

David Reynolds was fastest of the Ford Mustang drivers in third, two tenths behind, with Nick Percat in fourth for Walkinshaw Andretti United.

The second session saw Triple Eight Race Engineering driver Shane Van Gisbergen putting his Camaro on top, just 0.0374 seconds ahead of Mustang driver Will Davison.

Gisbergen’s team-mate Broc Feeney was third fastest, 0.1167 seconds adrift, while Chaz Mostert rounded off the top four.

The third and final session saw Erebus driver Kostecki climbing to the top of the result sheets with 1:11.4068, beating reigning champion van Gisbergen by 0.0557 seconds.

Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert was the fastest Ford driver in the third session, 0.0760 seconds from Kostecki’s fastest time, while Tim Slade and James Golding rounded off the top five.

Several driver complained about high cockpit temperatures during the practice sessions, including van Gisbergen.

“I’m struggling in the car,” said van Gisbergen.

“It’s so, so hot. It’s the hottest car I’ve driven in a long time. And they made us take all the heat stuff out last night that we’d put in. It’s crazy. If I wriggle my toes I’m touching the firewall. They extended the cabin bit, so that cabin bit is further into the engine bay now. Hopefully they let us do something.”

The Supercars Championship organisation has confirmed that teams will be allowed to add heat protection ahead of qualifying and address the situation further moving forward.

“Supercars has sent out a note this evening saying that team can put some more insulation,” said Mark Dutton, team manager of Triple Eight Race Engineering, to

“So you can insulate what’s called the ex- or cross-pipe underneath the car. That’s where you’ve got the headers come down, you’ve got a collector where it goes four into one. So that cross pipe through there, which is basically beneath the driver, that can be insulated to reduce the amount of heat that’s going through the floor into the cockpit.”

Next up is qualifying, starting at 11:15 local time/01:15 CET on Saturday.