He has found plenty of speed in practice but Shane van Gisbergen is still chasing more as he closes in on a maiden Supercars title in Sydney.
The Holden driver set a new lap record in the last of two sessions on Friday in sweltering heat at the Olympic Park circuit.
His time of 1min 27.07secs was nearly 0.3 secs faster than Red Bull Racing teammate Jamie Whincup’s mark set in 2011.
Whincup was also under record time and finished third quickest.
It came as little surprise, though, with teams allowed to use soft tyres – which have more grip – in practice for the first time.
“Today was about getting the car fast and comfortable, and we managed to achieve that,” the Kiwi said.
“There’s a few little things to tweak, but we’re in a good position.”
Van Gisbergen is 119 points clear of Whincup in the series standings and is in the box seat to take out his maiden Supercars championship this weekend.
A total of 300 points is on offer over the two-race, season-ending round – the first starting late Saturday afternoon.
“It’s obviously not done, the championship. It still can be lost on Saturday,” van Gisbergen said.
“Our objective for tomorrow is to qualify up front, stay out of trouble and see how it goes.”
Van Gisbergen, with a reputation of being a gung-ho driver, said he had no plans of taking it easy out on the track this weekend in a bid to stay out of trouble and cruise his way to the 2016 crown.
“If you need to conserve at some point, I guess I will – but I’m not just going to pull over and let people past.”
Whincup said the conditions were difficult in the two practice sessions, which were both interrupted by red flags to clear cars from the track.
“It was hard work out there,” the six-time champion said.
“The car was pretty ordinary at the end there.”
It was a frustrating start to Mark Winterbottom’s final weekend with the No.1 sticker on his car.
The reigning champion’s Ford suffered an electrical issue inside the first few minutes of the opening session, limiting his time on track, and was only 16th quickest in the second run.
A number of drivers felt the wrath of the concrete-lined track, including Holden veteran Craig Lowndes, Nissan’s Michael Caruso and Dale Wood, Chris Pither in a Ford and the Commodore of Shae Davis.
Qualifying begins just after midday on Saturday, followed by the race at 3.45pm.