Friday pace-setter Alex Davison expects that he'll need to go at least a second faster today in order to secure pole for the afternoon's 32nd race of the season.
Davison dipped into his weekend allocation of fresh Dunlop slicks to record a best of 1:30.96s in the dying seconds of Friday practice.
The lap proved 0.6s faster than second quickest man Alexandre Premat and 1.1s underneath the existing practice lap record, set by Craig Lowndes in 2000.
Although record times were expected with the increased grip levels brought about by a resurfacing of the circuit late last year, teams were forced to work hard to extract the speed from their cars.
The majority of drivers struggled to find a balance in the early running; a fact highlighted by several high-speed spins around the back of the circuit.
“It was different to what we expected,” offered Davison after Practice 3.
“It certainly has a lot more grip and we've seen quick lap times from that, but out of the gate with how the cars were everyone was chasing their cars.
“We were going around corners with the steering wheel pointed in the wrong direction; we had a lot of work to do to tidy it up.
“It wasn't too bad by the end of the session but we'll need to find pleny more it we want to be starting up the pointy end.
“I reckon it'll be a 1:29s,” he added when asked for a pole prediction.
Craig Lowndes was the fastest of the title contenders in third on Friday and admitted his team was another to initially struggle on the new surface.
“We were chasing the rear of the car across the sessions and we haven't got it right yet but we made some big inroads,” he said.
“We made a lot of improvements throughout the day moving from a ‘stop-go car' to something we could flow a bit better.
“I think everyone will make a lot more improvements because it really did catch us out a little bit.
“More rubber going down will make it faster as well.”
Teams will have a final 30 minute practice hit-out this morning before tackling a 20 minute qualifying session.
The afternoon's race will run to the 60/60 Super Sprint format; the last to do so before the controversial concept is axed for 2014.
The only element set to stand against record times will be weather, with some showers predicted for both Saturday and Sunday.