They were warned they would be driven around The Bend.
Still, it came as a surprise when Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin "looked like a Gumby" as some of the biggest names came unstuck in their first crack at the category's newest track - The Bend in South Australia.
Holden gun Shane van Gisbergen - one of only a handful of drivers to have competed at the remote track - delivered an ominous warning before Friday's opening practice, saying rivals would be "caught out" by the Tailem Bend circuit, an hour outside Adelaide.
But it seems nothing could quite prepare drivers for their first taste of the $110 million circuit.
McLaughlin, Ford great Mark Winterbottom and even local hope, former Bathurst 1000 winner Nick Percat, were among those who ran off the new track as drivers got their bearings in the 45 minute session.
When the dust literally settled on practice, the 28-strong Supercars field appeared inverted with Holden's local hope Tim Slade topping the timesheets.
The Bend certainly lives up to its name, featuring 18 turns on the 4.95km track - not that any of the drivers had to be reminded.
McLaughlin was one of the big-name victims, coming off at several turns to finish 18th fastest with Holden great Jamie Whincup 17th.
"It was loose. I had so many offs. I looked like a Gumby," McLaughlin laughed.
"For these cars it is quite a challenge. Some of it is like X Games."
Slade was fastest in one minute, 50.13 seconds ahead of Nissan's Michael Caruso and Holden's Tim Blanchard with McLaughlin's biggest series threat van Gisbergen fourth quickest.
"It is only practice, but it is cool to top the first session here," Slade said.
McLaughlin holds an 89-point lead over van Gisbergen, who enjoyed a Tailem Bend track stint driving a McLaren in the Australian GT race in April.
The Bend is the first permanent track unveiled on the Supercars circuit since Ipswich's Queensland Raceway in 1999.
It has multiple layouts, the longest being 7.7km making it the second longest permanent race circuit in the world behind only Germany's legendary The Nurburgring.
The state-of-the-art circuit even meets category standards to be able to host MotoGP grands prix.