SLADE RETURNS WITH NEW SUPERCARS SQUAD

Tim Slade will drive for the new Blanchard Racing Team in 2021. Pic: Supplied

THE COVERS have finally come off the all-new Blanchard Racing Team, which will field a Ford Mustang for Tim Slade in the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship.

After four years of their Racing Entitlements Contract being run out of Brad Jones Racing, the Blanchards have elected to go it alone next season.

The new team will be based out of the Melbourne headquarters of the Blanchard family business, CoolDrive Auto Parts.

Its technical package consists of a Tickford Racing-built Ford Mustang leased from Phil Munday, running Tickford engines.

The team’s Mustang will sport the same CoolDrive colours and #3 that the Blanchard entry previously ran at BJR.

Brendan Hogan, who has spent the last five years at Tickford and previously worked with Tim Blanchard at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, has been appointed team manager.

For 35-year-old Slade, the new deal represents a return to full-time Supercars duties after a year as a co-driver at DJR Team Penske.

“I am super happy to be joining the Blanchard Racing Team,” said Slade, who drove 11 full-time seasons from 2009-19, yielding two races wins.

“The fit is perfect for me and I’m genuinely excited and proud to not only represent BRT but also the Blanchard family and the CoolDrive business.

“Having worked in the Acacia Ridge and Eagle Farm branches this year for a few months during the COVID period, I know how much the CoolDrive racing program means to the staff.

“To have the race team workshop inside of the CoolDrive headquarters in Melbourne is really cool and gives the staff something that no other sponsor of the sport currently provides.

“Tim [Blanchard] has done a really great job of putting it all together and I can honestly say we have all of the right ingredients to achieve some good things.

“Supercars is an extremely competitive and tough category, so we’re under no illusions that it’s going to be easy, but in saying that, I’m excited to show everyone what we’ll be capable of.

“I’m also very fortunate to have the continued support from long-time supporter James Rosenberg.

“James has become a great friend over the years and I look forward to having him around the team again just like the old JRR SBR days.”

For Tim Blanchard, the move to a standalone team comes two years after he stepped back from full-time driving in the CoolDrive entry.

From left: Tim Slade, Brendan Hogan, Tim Blanchard and John Blanchard. Pic: Supplied

“For CoolDrive Auto Parts and the entire Blanchard family, this announcement is the result of a long-term commitment to Supercars racing, and is very exciting for all involved,” he said.

“We joined with Brad Jones Racing in 2016 in a customer relationship, it was a good run over those years, we learned a lot, but now it is time for us to stand on our own two feet.

“Our long term vision by investing in a Racing Entitlements Contract was to one day control our own destiny, with Supercars still providing the perfect platform to promote our core automotive business.

“We’re investing strongly in this project with high-quality equipment, a top-line facility, and very skilled people.

“We also thought it fitting to rename the outfit to Blanchard Racing Team [formerly Tim Blanchard Racing] to appropriately reflect the entire Blanchard family’s involvement in the team, and passion and commitment to the sport.

“Motorsport is who we are, it’s in our family’s DNA.

“Tim is a great asset for the team, he brings a lot of experience and speed, which is important for a single-car outfit. I have known him for a very long time, and have a lot of respect for his ability.

“I can’t wait for the 2021 season to get started.”

The CoolDrive car was previously driven by Macauley Jones, who’ll remain in BJR’s line-up next year thanks to the purchase of Munday’s former 23Red Racing REC.

That has in turn left Tickford scrambling to sort an additional REC to remain a four-car team next season.