Craig Lowndes set the fastest time over the practice sessions today in the Australian series debut at the Circuit of The Americas
V8 Supercar greats Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander have given a massive thumbs up to the sports debut in the US after the first day on track at the Circuit of the Americas.
The ground-breaking event has received saturation media coverage in the US and the awareness levels are high ahead of the weekend's racing. The Austin locals have embraced the sport and the thousands of Australians who have made their way to Texas.
Red Bull Racing Australia's Lowndes had the honour of being the fastest on the very first day at the track in Friday practice from Pepsi Max Crew FPRs Will Davison and Holden Racing Team's Tander.
The practice day featured plenty of American and Australian fans at the circuit in a warming reception for the sport and the teams.
"Every time I go into a restaurant or something they know we are here and they know there is a major influx of Aussies in town," said Lowndes who has spent the week in Austin.
"I have had plenty of people coming up and saying they are following us over here. They are very appreciative of what we do at home and to now see the cars live they are a bit blown away.
"It's the same for us; we are blown away to be here. You wait until Saturday and Sunday you will see a big crowd and what we are all about."
Tander said Holden's presence here underneath the General Motors flagship was huge; as was the interest at home and in the US.
"For us it's a massively worthwhile exercise," Tander said.
"We are here with the VF Holden Commodore that is going to be sold as the Chevrolet SS here, Toll do business here, Mobil are big here and it's a massive opportunity for us to show of V8 Supercar racing at a fantastic facility.
"I was absolutely blown away when I got on the plane and saw just how many Australians are over here and if that's a measure of how the potential this event has to grow then I think it is going to be a real winner.
"There has been a lot of curiosity I think and so many people have said to me 'God we have been waiting so long for you guys to get here'. I think the most noticeable thing has been how warming it has been. I've only been in the town a few days and it has been really big."
Davison had one of the more unusual experiences when he was doing a television commitment at a local venue well out of town during the week.
"I was going a TV thing on the side of the road and a massive F250 rips the handbrake on, pulls up and starts screaming out the window that he's a massive fan who watches every race," Davison said.
"I'm not going to try the accent but he watches it all live, he knows all the drivers and teams and is here this weekend. That really blew me away."
Lowndes clocked the fastest time over four practice sessions on the first day of V8 racing at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas - a stunning 1min 32.9042sec lap on Saturday (AEST).
The Red Bull Racing pilot uncorked his time inside the final five minutes of the last session of the day.
After drivers had struggled to go under 1min 35sec for most of the day in mid-30s temperatures, Lowndes led a late charge and held on as 10 drivers ploughed under 1:34 in quick succession.
Lowndes' teammate Jamie Whincup was well outside the top 10 on combined times from the four sessions.