It was all systems go on Wednesday as drivers touched down at Williamtown alongside fighter jets while millions of dollars worth of Supercars machinery rolled into pit lane at Foreshore Park ahead of this year's Newcastle 500.
The third edition of the season-ending race program gets underway on Friday, but last-minute preparations are now in full swing for what's been described as "Newcastle's premier sporting event".
And while the 2019 championship has already been decided, unlike the previous two thrilling finales on Newcastle's street circuit, competitors are gearing up for more than just the main prize.
Scott McLaughlin has already successfully defended his No.1 ranking, but Red Bull Holden duo Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen have their eyes locked on the team title just 116 points behind Shell V-Power.
"We were absolutely no where mid-season, we were well behind, but as the year's gone on we've clawed our way back and we've given ourselves an opportunity this weekend to have a real go," seven-time Supercars champion Mr Whincup said.
Brad Jones Racing's Nick Percat wants to improve upon his individual position of 10th overall.
"Some of the guys say, if you're not in the top two or three who really cares, but for us an me it was a goal to be in the top seven or eight of the championship then build on that for next year," Mr Percat said. "Hopefully we can tick that box [at Newcastle]."
Off the grid and Newcastle Airport chief executive officer Dr Peter Cock said he once again expected the terminal to experience its busiest 24 hours of the year in the lead up to Supercars.
In 2018 the airport broke its highest-ever daily passenger record for the second consecutive year, when more than 5270 passengers travelled through the Williamtown facility on the Friday of the Newcastle 500.
"It's a lot busier [around Supercars], we really get a lot more people," Dr Cock said.
"Virgin put more flights on, around 13 over the period, plus Jetstar and other flights are much more full.
"Our biggest day of the year is normally the first day of Supercars. It's why we do up the terminal, to show the whole region is excited about Supercars. For many the airport is the first port of call and the last port of call."
City of Newcastle councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said Supercars, which debuted in the Hunter in 2017, has quickly made a significant mark on the region.
"I think that it demonstrates this is Newcastle's premier sporting event," Cr Winney-Baartz said.
"People look forward to it, it's in their calendar and I think it's become a festival. Whether you're a race enthusiast or not, there is something for you to enjoy."
Cr Winney-Baartz pointed out a free event at Civic Park on Thursday, featuring a signing session with drivers for one hour from 5pm.
Supercars stars Mr Whincup, Mr van Gisbergen, Mr Percat, Todd Hazelwood, Anton De Pasquale and David Reynolds met flight lieutenant Nick Reynolds in front of a 77th anniversary F/A-18 hornet on Wednesday as fighter jets took off behind them.
Trucks lined Wharf Road on Wednesday as Supercars vehicles were rolled into race headquarters by team members, including The Bottle-O crew of Lee Holdsworth.