Jim Beam Racing recruit James Courtney started work on his pre-season promise of a V8 Supercar pay day in 2009 by setting the pace in his first full appearance with Dick Johnson's legendary outfit.
Courtney, with brand new race car and race suit laced in gold, set the quickest time at the official Queensland test day, where an estimated 3000 spectators donated $17,870 to the Queensland Premier's Flood Relief appeal.
Courtney's old team-mate and sparring partner Russell Ingall was hot on the youngster's tail in the Supercheap Auto Commodore on a day when best times were set in the middle part of the day, as rain played with any chance of quick times in the afternoon.
TeamVodafone's Craig Lowndes was next in line, ahead of Wilson Security's Fabian Coulthard, with Lowndes' champion team-mate Jamie Whincup fifth fastest on a day when fuel testing appeared to be his team's main goal.
Courtney switched to Jim Beam Racing at the end of last year after a strong, but win-shy, stretch at Stone Brothers Racing. He has made it clear that 2009 is his year to achieve more winning results.
“Pressure is what you make of it, and no-one could put any more pressure on me than I do myself,” Courtney insisted, “There are two ways to look at pressure - you either hide from it or use it to your advantage. It was a productive day today that went to plan. To finish on top on your first day for a new team is always a good result.”
Courtney's team-mate, Steve Johnson, was solid in sixth, with Stone Brothers Racing's new recruit Alex Davison seventh, while Supercheap Auto rookie Tim Slade was next up on his debut in the championship.
Davison worked through a detailed programme, designed to ensure he was comfortable in the car, and building his working relationship with race engineer Wes McDougall, rather than setting the fastest time.
“Today was the first time I had ever driven a brand new V8 Supercar and have all the attention focused on me,'' he admitted, ''Overall, the day was good, but clearly the weather did make it frustrating at times. We ran on old tyres that had been sitting on the shelves for over three months then, when we went to put the fresher set on, the heavens opened! There were plenty of positives to come out of the day, but we are very competitive people and we will continue to work on some minor things.”