Kiwi Ford gun Scott McLaughlin has fired a warning shot at Holden's Red Bull Racing by topping yesterday's final practice session at the Supercars season opener in Adelaide.
Lap records look set to be smashed this weekend after McLaughlin clocked a blistering one minute, 19.83 seconds ahead of qualifying for today's opening 250-km race.
Dunlop claimed "all" lap records would come under threat this year after introducing a faster - yet durable - soft control tyre this season.
McLaughlin will now have Ford teammate Fabian Coulthard's 1:20.01 qualifying record in his sights after providing a wake up call to RBR.
RBR star Jamie Whincup's race lap record (1:21.05) is also expected to fall in today's opening 250km event on the tough 3.2km street circuit.
McLaughlin was fastest in yesterday's second and final 40-minute practice session ahead of Nissan's Rick Kelly and RBR's defending series champion Shane van Gisbergen after all three cracked the 1min:20sec barrier.
Six-time series champion Whincup was fourth fastest after topping the opening session in his Holden.
All eyes are on Ford powerhouse DJR Team Penske this year after ex-Volvo gun McLaughlin linked with fellow Kiwi Coulthard following a career-high third placing last year.
Pressure is building on DJR Team Penske - backed by US motorsport great Roger Penske - to break RBR's vice-like championship grip.
RBR have claimed five of the last six drivers' championships.
And Holden has won every race in Adelaide since 2013.
Now in the third year of his collaboration with Dick Johnson Racing, Penske has demanded results in 2017.
But McLaughlin already looks poised to deliver the Ford heavyweights their first race win after his head-turning practice display.
And it seems the field will only get faster as they get used to the new soft compound tyres.
"I think it will take a lot of races before anyone gets a really good handle on this tyre," Nissan's Rick Kelly warned.
"It didn't come as easy just then as it did in the first session."
History was made at Adelaide in the first session.
Perth high school student Alex Rullo - just 16 - became the youngest Supercars driver.