By Matthew Agius

After a difficult Betta Electrical 500 Melbourne, Stone Brothers Racing is looking to return to the form that won it the previous three V8 Supercar Championships - with no better venue to kickstart this resurgence than Mount Panorama Bathurst.

Using its sole remaining test day of the six allocated for 2006, the defending V8 Supercar title holders clocked over 280 laps of Queensland Raceway in an effort to improve the speed of the team's two BA Falcons - the Caltex Ford and the Jeld-Wen Motorsport machine.

Crew members felt it was SBR's best test day for the year, with the Yatala squad finding new gains in various aspects of both cars. With only twenty days in the team's Gold Coast workshop between now and the final round at Phillip Island, lead driver and defending drivers' champion Russell Ingall was pleased with the session.

"It was by far our best test day that we have had this year. Mind you considering it was our last allocated test day for the year, we had to make it count," said the Briton Ingall.

"Now that James is up to speed and his feedback is excellent, one of the big positives to come is that we have two cars we can get plenty of information from and that gives us a short cut to getting the right set up for the big one at Bathurst next week.

"We ran in total Bathurst configuration and split the testing duties up between the two cars and some very positive gains were made. I wish we had these sort of results at the beginning of the year as I am sure the championship would look a lot different to what is does now.

"Having said that at least we are more confident than ever that we are going to have a fast car to attack with at what will be one of the biggest events that the Mountain has ever seen. There is one thing for sure, if we can't win the championship this year, winning the Bathurst Holy Grail would be an excellent consolation."

His regular teammate James Courtney was also impressed with the progress made by the team in the whole-day run.

"We got a lot of stuff done yesterday and pulled together lots of information. It was probably the most promising test we have had this year," said Courtney.

"We made some good headway in areas where we really needed it and have been struggling. We ran Bathurst set ups and got the balance right. We also found some things that will help us for the remaining races so it was a really productive day.

"Glenn drove the car and was super happy with the things that we had done with the car so we've got two happy drivers. Now I'm just really excited about getting to Bathurst with what we are sure will be a really good car."

Ingall's co-driver Luke Youlden did not participate in the test session, however Courtney's Jeld-Wen teammate Glenn Seton completed laps on board the machine he will run at Bathurst. Seton is looking for his first Bathurst win in a long career of Australian Touring car racing that has not bore a Mount Panorama trophy from twenty-two starts.

"I'm not feeling any extra pressure going into Bathurst. At the end of the day, it's my 23rd start so I know what the race entails and I've been second three times. I'm going there to do a job, that is to support James, and if that leads to victory then that's great. That's certainly what we will be striving for and hopefully we can achieve that.

"I have some great memories of Bathurst, being on the podium in 2003 and 2004 with Craig (Lowndes) was fantastic. Ultimately, you also have some pretty bad memories too, like in '95 when I was leading the race with nine laps to go and the engine blew."

"There was definitely a marked improvement in the JELD-WEN car from Sandown so we are moving in a positive direction. We now have to see how it responds and how the gains transfer to the Mount Panorama circuit," said Seton.

"I was comfortable with the changes that James made yesterday so we should combine well for the Great Race, I'm looking forward to having a go."

Stone Brothers Racing was the last team to win the Bathurst 1000 - in 1998 with Jason Bright and Steven Richards behind the wheel of the Pirtek EL Falcon.