Bathurst 2020: Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen collides with Scott McLaughlin's co-driver in practice

Opening shots have been exchanged early between Kiwi Supercar rivals Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen during the first practice session for the Bathurst 1000 classic.

As drivers put cars through their paces around the Mt Panorama raceway, van Gisbergen collided with McLaughlin's co-driver, Tim Slade, losing valuable preparation for Sunday's 'Great Race'.

"As we got to 'Elbow', I made my intention clear to pass him on the inside, he went super wide and saw me, and then just cut across," explains van Gisbergen.

"I got into the brakes to try to pull out of it, but couldn't."

Slade spun out of the contact, while van Gisbergen's Holden Commodore spent the rest of the session undergoing repairs.

"It's just a little tweak," says van Gibsergen. "Nothing feels broken, maybe just a little bent, so better just to check it out.

"I feel for these co-drivers who haven't done many laps - it's going to be tough for them. It sucks for us to lose track-time, we were working through a good programme, but we've got a bit of time to make it up."

The Kiwi relationship soured somewhat after McLaughlin's 2019 Bathurst victory, when teammate Fabian Coulthard - another Kiwi - deliberately slowed and blocked his pursuers during the closing stages.

Bathurst 2020: Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen collides with Scott McLaughlin's co-driver in practice

Van Gisbergen, who finished less than a second behind, described Coulthard as a "sacrificial lamb" and called for McLaughlin's disqualification.

DJR Team Penske were ultimately fined and lost 300 points from the teams championship, and Coulthard was relegated to the back of the field, but McLaughlin kept his victory.

Penske claimed the 'slow-down' order was designed to help Coulthard retain his podium spot without having to wait behind McLaughlin in the pits.

McLaughlin has already sealed his third consecutive Supercars crown and is favoured to defend his Bathurst title, before making his US Indycars debut in Florida next week.

Many expect him to switch full-time to the American open-wheel championship next year.

Slade has apologised for the scrape with van Gisbergen.

"I literally just jumped in the car and haven't done any real miles this year, so everything feels very foreign," he says. "I wasn't even looking in the rearview mirror, so my bad.

"Luckily, there was no damage, and we are able to press on and get some laps at the end of the session.

"The car is quite different to what I have driven in the past few years. It's like any foreign car - you take a few laps and build up to it. "

Join us on Sunday for live updates of the Bathurst 1000 Supercars race at Mt Panorama