Patric Niederhauser set the fastest time in the 45-minute free practice session for the opening round of the new-look GP3 Series season at Barcelona.
Although the second-generation GP3 uses the same chassis as its predecessor, it now features a throaty 3.4-litre AER V6 engine producing 400bhp.
Niederhauser, a two-time GP3 race-winner in the old machine, lapped the Circuit de Catalunya in 1m35.044s, almost three and a half seconds quicker than the fastest previous race weekend lap set by Mitch Evans in 2011, whose pole time back then was 1m38.498s.
Jack Harvey set early pace of 1m36.417s, a tenth clear of ART team-mate Conor Daly. But after 15 minutes Red Bull Junior driver Daniil Kvyat hit the front, where he stayed until the last 10 minutes of the session.
Then the times began to tumble, with Jenzer's Alex Fontana going fastest before his team-mate Niederhauser set his best lap that proved the quickest overall.
Trident's David Fumanelli came closest, just failing to capture the top spot by 0.093s on his last lap.
Fontana held onto third ahead of a late effort by Arden's Robert Visoiu.
China's Adderly Fong backed up his promising pre-season pace with the fifth-quickest time for Status, ahead of Kvyat.
Harvey fell to ninth after failing to improve on his early time, with Daly back in 12th.
Early in the session, Status's Josh Webster spun off at Turn 9 and became beached in the gravel, while Patrick Kujala shunted his Koiranen car soon after, nosing into the Turn 3 barrier to end his session.
Before that, Kujala became one of four drivers to pick up a 10-place grid penalty for failing to acknowledge yellow flags. Fontana, Carlos Sainz Jr and Kevin Korjus face the same punishment in Saturday morning's qualifying session.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer 1m35.044s 2. David Fumanelli Trident 1m35.137s + 0.093s 3. Alex Fontana Jenzer 1m35.464s + 0.420s 4. Robert Visoiu MW Arden 1m35.581s + 0.537s 5. Adderly Fong Status 1m35.800s + 0.756s 6. Daniil Kvyat MW Arden 1m35.810s + 0.766s 7. Nick Yelloly Carlin 1m35.821s + 0.777s 8. Luis Sa Silva Carlin 1m36.170s + 1.126s 9. Jack Harvey ART 1m36.417s + 1.373s 10. Emanuele Zonzini Trident 1m36.471s + 1.427s 11. Eric Lichtenstein Carlin 1m36.480s + 1.436s 12. Conor Daly ART 1m36.553s + 1.509s 13. Carlos Sainz Jr MW Arden 1m36.567s + 1.523s 14. Tio Ellinas Manor 1m36.680s + 1.636s 15. Jimmy Eriksson Status 1m36.951s + 1.907s 16. Giovanni Venturini Trident 1m36.973s + 1.929s 17. Dino Zamparelli Manor 1m37.224s + 2.180s 18. Facu Regalia ART 1m37.304s + 2.260s 19. Samin Gomez Jenzer 1m37.512s + 2.468s 20. Lewis Williamson Bamboo 1m37.513s + 2.469s 21. Melville McKee Bamboo 1m37.763s + 2.719s 22. Kevin Korjus Koiranen 1m37.907s + 2.863s 23. Carmen Jorda Bamboo 1m38.321s + 3.277s 24. Ryan Cullen Manor 1m38.582s + 3.538s 25. Josh Webster Status 1m38.648s + 3.604s 26. Patrick Kujala Koiranen 1m38.801s + 3.757s 27. Aaro Vainio Koiranen 1m39.091s + 4.047s