Mercedes-Benz 1-2 in Townsville

For the first time in history two Mercedes-Benz and a Volvo have finished the fastest in a V8 Supercars session, locking out the mainstays Fords and Holdens.

Lee Holdsworth and Will Davison scored Erebus Motorsport's first 1-2 finish in any form of V8 Supercars racing in practice at the Castrol Townsville 500 – Driven by TAFE Queensland.

The young team, who scored a maiden win at the Winton event earlier this year, have taken a small step towards being consistently competitive Scott McLaughlin returned to the form of earlier in the year when his Valvoline GRM Volvo came in third.

The introduction of Erebus, Volvo and Nissan to the category has been warmly received as V8 Supercars' prepare to plan for the next generation V8 Supercar.

While there was no champagne bubbling at the end of the 'Friday Grand Prix' the Erebus garage were certainly happy that their twin E63s were on top after three short, sharp sessions.

"It's exciting for our team when you hit little milestones like that and it means a lot to everyone involved," Holdsworth said afterwards.

"We are progressing forward and hitting new goals it's fantastic – it's a real confidence booster for the team.

"I've always liked this circuit. In 2009 I was able to take out the first pole and I have a really good memory of that. I had a really good run in the race until I had an engine issue so I feel like that was one of the ones that got away and I have always been trying to get on the podium ever since.

"I feel like it's a more realistic opportunity this weekend than has been in the last couple of years so we will just keep punching forward and see where we end up."

Davison won in Townsville in the first race last year when he was with Pepsi Max Crew FPR alongside Mark Winterbottom, famously rear-ending the wall while doing donuts on his victory lap.

"I have been part of a few teams, a few situations and it is these little moments like today which are special. We know it's Friday, I have been around in this game long enough but it does mean something for the weekend," he said.

"It gives everyone a little pep in their step and I don't think it's false speed. Who knows what everyone else did but I sort of know what speed I did on old tires."

Davison said being quickest today was a good sign on a circuit where you never really know how the car is performing.

"This sort of track, last year I was quite competitive as well and it sometimes doesn't feel that great, you are sliding around a lot, bouncing off curbs and sometimes it does feel good and you're slow and sometimes it doesn't feel good and you're fast," he said.

"We know we have to carry it on to tomorrow, we will be pushing. A podium would obviously be a great result, a clean weekend, proud of how our team's bounced back from Darwin.

"We didn't have a great weekend so we tried a few things today and in particular we know we have some big things to come in the next few events that aren't on the car yet so it's encouraging signs."

The top four cars were all within one tenth of a second, Volvo's McLaughlin and Holden's Jamie Whincup right on the tail of the Erebus machines.

Shane van Gisbergen finished on top in the first two session and fifth in the third, with Jason Bright, Nick Percat, James Courtney, Garth Tander and Mark Winterbottom completing the top 10.

There is one practice session to run tomorrow morning, marking the V8 Supercars' first time on-track for Saturday, at 10.30am.

Back-to-back qualifying for the afternoon's two 125km races will begin at 11.40am, with the races set to run at 3.15pm and 4.50pm AEST at the Castrol Townsville 500 – Driven by TAFE Queensland.