Slade snags dream co-drive in Supercars
At the end of last year's Supercars season, South Australian driver Tim Slade got proactive about the next step in his career and sought out a co-drive with arguably the biggest team in pit lane.
Slade, 34, and his former team Brad Jones Racing had agreed to part ways, and although there was another potential full-time driving option available for the 2020 season, he opted to investigate a part-time enduro co-drive instead.
It was that decision that led to him pulling on the DJR Team Penske colours this season and sharing a Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang with last year's series champion and Bathurst winner, Scott McLaughlin.
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"I didn't want to be full time for the sake of being full time, I want to be in there for the chance of getting good results," he said.
"I spoke to the team (DJR Team Penske) to see where they're at, to let them know (I was available)."
McLaughlin previously had raced with Frenchman Alex Premat, including for the Bathurst win, who now has been signed by rival Ford team Tickford Racing for the three endurance rounds later this year.
He said the co-drive with Slade would ensure the team could hit the ground running for the first enduro at The Bend in September - a track at which Slade has racing experience, but Premat has not.
McLaughlin said he previously raced with Slade in the development series and the two already had a strong relationship.
"To do it with a friend of mine is great," he said.
"He's a main series driver coming off (full-time racing), a very strong series driver, so coming to the endurance, we had to grab him."
Slade, who grew up south of Adelaide, drove McLaughlin's Mustang at Supercars' test day on Tuesday.
While he previously has driven a Ford, and a Mercedes, as well as his Commodore last year, he said there were not too many surprises but still minor differences between the race cars.
"We just need to work on some comfort things, and we've got plenty of time to get that sorted," he said.
"The car's quite enjoyable to drive.
"I don't think there's chalk and cheese between one car and another, it's a lot of little differences and these are where you get the feel of the car - the steering, the throttle and the brake, and the set up is a big different to what I'm used to.
"It's an extremely professional outfit.
"It's pretty awesome to be a part of."
The part-time enduro drive gives him more time to pursue GT racing internationally, and he flew out of Australia Wednesday afternoon for Thailand, where he will compete in the final round of the Asian Le Mans Series at Buriram International Circuit.
"Doing the same thing for 11 years, it's going to be nice to have some change and do some different stuff," he said.
"There's this and some more GT racing overseas - (that) team's aim in doing that championship is trying to win that class and get a ticket to the Le Mans 24 Hour."
Endurance races at Spa, Suzuka and Indianapolis also are on the list.