Davison, an Australian F2 champion back in 1980, who only debuted in the popular 5-litre V8 historic open-wheleer category with his ex-Alan Jones Lola T332 less than a year ago, overcame some morning practice issues to string together a series of hot laps during the short 10-minute session, going faster and faster until, on the very last lap, he became the first driver ever to dip under the 1min 07 seconds barrier, with a scintillating 1min 06.9824s lap.

It breaks the existing outright lap record for the modern-day Sandown circuit, which stood at 1m 7.86 seconds – also set by a Formula 5000 car (Andrew Robson), in 2012.

"I’m speechless,” a clearly astounded Davison said, once he had pitted and been made aware of his time.

"When I ran here before, I was in the 1m 09s, and I hoped to get into the eights to match what the boys will probably do in their V8 Supercars, but I had no concept that the time was that good until I stopped.

"Now all I want to do is break the bogey from the opening round, where I went out on the opening lap ...”

The qualifying performance comes as a great filip for his team, who have worked night and day to rebuild the 550 horsepower V8 engine which failed so early in the event just two weeks ago.

Sharing the front row for tomorrow’s opening heat (of two) will be Aucklander Andrew Higgins (Lola T400), whose 1m08.0920s lap just shaded series leader Tom Tweedie (Chervron B24/28). Tweedie suffered some fuel injection problem at the critical point in qualifying and should proivide a strong challenge over the weekend.

Melbournians Bryan Sala (Matich A50) and Andrew Robson (Lola T332) filled out the top five.

Missing from qualifying was ageless kiwi star Ken Smith, whose Lola broke a crown-wheel and pinion in practice. He expects to join the field at the back of the grid tomorrow.

Formula 5000s will contest two qualifying heats on Saturday, with a feature event at 10.15am Sunday, preceding the opening round of the 2013 V8 Supercar Pirtek Enduro Cup.