New car a mental boost for Slade

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 29/08/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Walkinshaw Racing boss Adrian Burgess believes Tim Slade's move to a new car will provide a mental boost but not a technical advantage for the struggling Supercheap Auto Racing driver heading into the Pirtek Enduro Cup.

The 29-year old was put out of last weekend's Sydney Motorsport Park 400 on the first lap of the first race because his Holden Commodore VF was damaged too badly to be repaired on-site after a collision with the Bottle-O Ford Falcon of David Reynolds.

It was the latest in a disastrous run of results that have bedevilled Slade this year and left him lying a miserable 21st in the V8 Supercars Championship.

The silver lining for Slade is the accident means he will shift for the rest of the season into WR team-mate Garth Tander's old car, the freshly upgraded chassis WR019. Slade's damaged chassis, WR016, will be repaired and become a spare.

Slade's appalling run of bad luck in the car includes qualifying on the front row in New Zealand only to have a clutch failure on the line; breaking a steering arm in a clash with Volvo ace Scott McLaughlin in Perth when on for top 10 result; losing another top 10 in Darwin because of a pit stop error; front suspension and engine misfire issues in Townsville; forgettable results at Ipswich and then the accident in Sydney.

"Maybe it's cursed," mused Burgess of WR016. "The plan wasn't for him (Slade) to have another chassis. I don't believe there is a mechanical or technical reason to swap, but one positive out of this is we will give him another car now so he can tick that box again and if that is a mental thing, or there is something in it, then we will find out.

"I am quite happy he has the ability to jump in another car because that's another thing we can put to the back of our minds, not that I think there is an issue there. But that helps that."

Slade and Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver Tony D'Alberto will try out their new car in Monday and Tuesday's test at Winton and Slade is certainly hopeful its arrival signals a change of fortune.

"I don't normally believe too much in luck, but it just seems one of those things, that whatever happens I seem to be a part of it," he told v8supercars.com.au.

"I don't normally believe in karma or luck, but I have been changing this and changing that, doing things and not doing things, and nothing ... it just keeps happening. If something goes AWOL I seem to be with it.

"You just have to take it for what it is and just keep boxing I guess."

WR019 became vacant because Tander debuted a new chassis in Sydney. It had been previously earmarked for Nick Percat to take over, starting with this week's test.

The shuffle means Percat and Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver, Englishman Oliver Gavin, will miss out on testing the latest round of chassis upgades at Winton on Monday and Tuesday.

However, the HHA Racing Commodore, chassis WR01-2013, will still be upgraded in time for the opening endurance race, the September 12-14 Wilson Security Sandown 500.

Slade started the season buoyed with optimism by his new three year deal with Walkinshaw Racing after a hard season at Erebus Motorsport in 2013. In 2012 he was the rising star of the category having finished fifth in a Stone Brothers Racing Falcon.

"We just want to win races and be competitive and be in the top 10 consistently," said Slade. "So wherever that puts us in the Pirtek Enduro Cup or Championship-wise so be it. We just have to take each race as it comes and get back to where we want to be.

"We still have some more upgrades coming with the car and the engine-side of things," he revealed. "The enduros look good.

"I've got a great co-driver in Tony. I couldn't ask for any one better, he has just come out of a full-time gig and he's probably done more Bathursts than me.

"I think it all looks good, I've just got to get the runs on the board again."

Slade will also enter the Pirtek Enduro Cup with a revised engineering lineup. Data engineer Bryce Seales is headed overseas so HRT veteran Jason Bush has joined his crew as engineer. Terry Kerr, who was engineering #47, assumes the role of data engineer.

James Stone has joined Blake Smith on Tander's new Holden Racing Team Commodore as data engineer, taking over Bush's previous gig.

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