Ford driver Mark Winterbottom has fired the first shot at the Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercar event by topping the timesheets in the first practice session today.

Winterbottom clocked a quickest lap of one minute, 12.4570 seconds on the 2.96km Surfers Paradise street circuit to finish ahead of Holden's Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes at the end of the 40-minute session.

Lowndes goes into this weekend's race, which pairs the championship's regular drivers with overseas-based co-drivers, holding a 100-point lead in the title race over team-mate Whincup.

The session, one of four to be held on Friday, was largely uneventful with American driver Patrick Long causing the only stoppage when his Commodore lost power on the track with 11 minutes remaining.


Long was able to return to the Bundaberg Racing garage and the session resumed but the Californian will be hoping for a better luck in the day's second and third practice runs, which are limited to the international co-drivers only.