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Teammate challenge invigorating Slade

TIM Slade is excited by the opportunity to bounce off a teammate for the first time in years as he shakes down his own Chevrolet Camaro Supercar today at Queensland Raceway.

Last Tuesday, when PremiAir made its maiden Gen3 track appearance with James Golding’s chassis, marked Slade’s first laps in General Motors machinery since 2019.

After departing Brad Jones Racing, Slade spent a season co-driving with Dick Johnson Racing star Scott McLaughlin before becoming the Blanchard Racing Team’s inaugural driver in 2021.

Even throughout Gen3 prototype testing, the 37-year-old only ever got to drive the Ford version – not that he’s too fussed which side of the divide he sits on.

What is a nice change, however, is the presence of Golding in a sister car, the two working closely together in their first time at a track as teammates last week. Golding is not at QR today.

“I get along well with Jimmy,” Slade, now a father-of-two, told V8 Sleuth.

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“I think we both know that the best way forwards is to be open and honest and work well together so that won’t be a problem, which is nice.

“But for sure, I think when you’re by yourself it has its advantages and disadvantages.

The #23 Chevrolet. Pic: PremiAir Racing

“I think it’s all good when things are going good but it’s difficult when things aren’t going as good as it can be and when it’s not making sense.

“I’m looking forward to that side of things as well and it’s good just to push yourself along with someone to obviously compare yourself against.

“We’ll have the technical relationship with T8 as well which will be pretty cool to have their stuff with their guys.”

Slade has the distinction of being one of only three drivers to ever beat Shane van Gisbergen as teammates over the course of a Supercars season (in 2012 when they both were at Stone Brothers Racing). The other two members of the club are James Courtney (SBR, 2008) and Jamie Whincup (Triple Eight, 2017).

This year is his first in a Triple Eight-built Supercar, and he has quickly begun feeling at home in the PremiAir camp.

“To be honest, there’s a lot of familiar faces in the team, some of them I have previously worked with and a lot have been in pitlane for a long time,” said Slade.

“Obviously I have been in this sport for a long time now so I already know a lot of them and then some you have seen at the track for a long time.

“It feels very comfortable straightaway so it has been good.”

Slade’s #23 Camaro is one of three Gen3 Supercars at QR today for a shakedown, along with Dick Johnson Racing’s #11 Mustang and Matt Stone Racing’s #34 Camaro.

Running today after wet weather forced the outing to be postponed from Tuesday, the trio only have until 12:30pm local time (AEST) before vacating the track for a pre-existing booking.

They lost crucial track time when Super2 returnee Nash Morris needed to be recovered out of the Turn 3 gravel trap after a brake failure, triggering a red flag period.

Team 18’s Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye are also completing shakedowns today at Winton Motor Raceway. (UPDATE: Team 18 has since postponed those shakedowns until Friday February 17)

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