MOUNT Panorama roared to life once again on Thursday as the opening day of Challenge Bathurst gave Australian teams the chance to test their machines around the Bathurst circuit.
There were no repeats of the previous years' scorching times around the Mount on day one, thanks mostly in part to the high track temperature and sweltering conditions.
Vince Muriti set the fastest time of the opening Supersprint Group GT session - and the quickest of the day overall - when he took his Mercedes Benz AMG GT around the track in two minutes and 5.8620 seconds.
Porsche 911 GT3s filled the minor placings through Yasser Shahin (2:06.3690) and David Wall (2:06.5150).
Wall then went quickest in a hotter second session around lunch, clocking 2:07.1790 in his Porsche to finish ahead of Neale Muston's Radical SR8 (2:08.0840) and Shahin (2:08.4180).
But for the guys in the high performances categories it's less about producing fast times and more about getting their cars in check for the season ahead.
That's precisely what Wall was looking to do over the day's two sessions, while helping car owner Paul Tresidder get the Porsche into a comfortable race setup.
Wall said while the heat puts to bed any ideas of super fast times the chance to test at Mount Panorama is always a welcome opportunity.
"The car is unreal but it's pretty hot. It was a fair bit quicker this morning and we're on the same set of tyres in this session and this is the first time we've run this car here," he said.
"For me, it's more about giving Paul, the owner of the car, a few reference laps and tuning the car a little more for him. We're chipping away and doing that, and this thing is just sensational to drive.
"Across the top it's the best car I've ever driven but on the 90 degree corners we're putting up with a little bit there. It's a very responsive car and a real driver's car."
Wall said the difference between the two sessions, held at 7.50am and 1.10pm, was stark.
"You'll find in the morning it will be 30 degrees cooler in track temperature. You'll find the track was probably off a good second or so in the next run and I was half a second slower on the same tyres I ran this morning, so I'd say we made some good improvements," he said.
Seeing Mount Panorama thriving again after a challenging year with COVID-19 is a big positive for the city and the motorsport scene.
Wall said the two days of testing feels very welcome after a year of many cancelled event.
"I feel blessed to be able to come here and do laps and to hang out with some great people in our team," he said.
"We're enjoying ourselves after what's been a terrible year for a lot of people, including ourselves.
"There's some interesting and encouraging things happening in Australian GT. It all depends on what Paul wants to do with this car, and we've also got Adrian [Deitz] in his car as well doing some preparation for racing next year."
Two more sessions will be held Friday.