Roof ripped off in extraordinary first crash of Bathurst 1000 weekend

Holden star Jamie Whincup has emerged fastest in the opening practice session for the Bathurst 1000 after Mount Panorama claimed its first scalp.

Whincup, who will team up with seven-time Bathurst champion Craig Lowndes, topped the timesheets with 2min 04.67sec ahead of Ford's Lee Holdsworth and Holden young gun Anton De Pasquale.

Seven-time series champion Whincup soaked up the perfect conditions to set the benchmark in the one-hour session that was stalled early when disaster struck for Holden young gun Macauley Jones.

A red flag emerged in the 24th minute when Jones hit the concrete wall at The Cutting, a notorious pair of corners on the track, so hard it loosened the roof.

Macauley Jones had his roof ripped off. Image: Fox Sports

Jones emerged unscathed but his team must work furiously to get their Commodore ready for his co-driver Dean Canto ahead of the next practice session.

However, four-time Bathurst champion Whincup is sitting pretty after his impressive start to his Mount Panorama campaign.

"It's early days but it feels good out of the gate," Whincup said.

"We still have a huge job to do but so far so good.

"I will be more responsible for the qualifying car and Craig (Lowndes) can concentrate on the race car."

Jamie Whincup in action during the first Bathurst practice of the weekend. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

McLaughlin still the red-hot favourite?

Whincup threw down the gauntlet from the outset on Thursday setting a pace that runaway series leader Scott McLaughlin could not match.

McLaughlin's Ford teammate Alex Premat was eighth fastest in the session.

Defending series champion McLaughlin had been expected to extend his 2019 dominance at Mount Panorama and claim his maiden Bathurst title on Sunday.

McLaughlin holds a 598 point championship lead heading into Bathurst, ensuring he could crash out in the next two rounds and still conceivably lead the series.

The practice session's top five was completed by Ford's Chaz Mostert and Holden gun Shane van Gisbergen.