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Why Slade was convinced about PremiAir

WHEN his negotiations for a contract extension hit a hurdle, Tim Slade only had one team in mind.

It was around the time of the Townsville 500 in July that the wheels were set in motion for Slade’s end-of-season move from the Blanchard Racing Team to PremiAir Racing.

At that point, PremiAir appeared in a state of flux, having just executed a brutal mid-season driver change after a rough few rounds.

But Slade knew better.

He had long ago struck up a connection with PremiAir owner Peter Xiberras through a mutual friend in Chad Parrish and had been impressed by the way Xiberras’ business and drag racing outfit operate.

His Supercars team has taken leaps forward in recent rounds too and is building for its second championship season, as Gen3 debuts in 2023.

“I didn’t really have any intentions of moving, but I guess just on that front, contractually things didn’t align when they needed to and I’ve actually known Pete for a few years now,” Slade explained to V8 Sleuth.

“I didn’t speak to anyone else. I just reached out to Pete to see what his plans were for the future and I guess it went from there.

“For starters with Pete, I think he’s a very passionate, driven guy. I know he’s only doing this to achieve the best results possible.

Slade in PremiAir Racing apparel

“He is obviously very successful in his own business world and with his whole drag racing side of things as well and actually I watched him race at Willowbank last year.

“I guess a lot of people in Supercars wouldn’t have probably ever heard of Pete and potentially thought it’s just another guy to come in and not know how hard it is and they’ll be out of it after a couple of years as we’ve seen with some people in the past.

“But having seen his drag racing team operate, it’s quite impressive and I knew he would obviously want to do the same with the Supercar race team as well, so I guess it was a good indication to me of how he does things.”

For the first time since his 2013 campaign with Erebus Motorsport, which at that stage was based on the Gold Coast, Slade will live in the same city as the team he’s driving for.

What’s more is the machinery PremiAir will roll out: turnkey Triple Eight Chevrolet Camaros, complete with a technical alliance.

Slade has driven for Paul Morris Motorsport, Stone Brothers Racing, Erebus, Walkinshaw Racing, Brad Jones Racing, Dick Johnson Racing and the BRT – but has never before raced a Triple Eight Supercar.

“I actually have thought about that,” he said.

“Even though it’s obviously a different generation car, it will be quite cool to be aligned with them.

“It’s something that I did think about. I have done it for a while and it’s something that I’ve never driven.”

Slade with engineer Mirko De Rosa at Bathurst. Pic: Nathan Wong

After two years in a single-car set-up, the 37-year-old will have James Golding as his 2023 teammate.

“I think the whole single car thing is fine when things are going well,” said Slade, who’ll run a race number of his choosing.

“It can be difficult when things aren’t going so well and things aren’t making sense.

“It will be nice in that respect I guess to have a teammate.

“I don’t know Jimmy really well but I have known him over the years and we sort of always say g’day and have a bit of a chat and whatever else.

“I think we’d work quite well together given we’re two fairly no bullshit kind of guys, which is nice.

“I think we could easily work together for the best interests of moving the team forwards.

“Also I guess I have done it for a long time now and similar to with the Blanchards, I’d like to hope that I can spread or give some of my experience to help the team along as well.”

Slade has one round remaining with BRT: the Adelaide 500 on December 1-4.

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