It was an “awesome” two years in CoolDrive blue for Tim Slade, despite his 2022 campaign falling away.
Slade took the one-car team to 11th in 2022, just 22 points behind 10th-placed Andre Heimgartner.
It came after he raced to 12th overall in 2021, his first full season since 2019.
Tim Blanchard recruited Slade for his team’s maiden solo venture into Supercars last year.
It began with an emotional weekend in Bathurst, with Slade crashing out late after qualifying on the front row.
All told, in 63 starts in the #3 CoolDrive Mustang, Slade recorded 26 top 10 finishes.
The Achilles heel proved poor one-lap pace, but Slade more than made up for it in the races.
In 34 races this year, Slade made up a staggering 160 positions — for context, the next best didn’t crack 100.
It came in a season engineer Mirko De Rosa was sidelined due to back surgery, and Team Manager Brendan Hogan departing the role.
“I definitely hoped for a lot more from this year,” PremiAir Racing-bound Slade told Supercars’ Cool Down Lap podcast.
“We had good momentum at the end of last year, and the first few rounds of this year.
“We had a lot of potential, definitely didn’t maximise. We struggled quite a lot.
“It’s disappointing not to continue the momentum we had, but it’s no secret we’ve had a lot going on in the team as well.
A final BRT outing on home soil
“When it’s a small team, and the two most experienced people in the team [De Rosa and Hogan] aren’t there at the track, it makes things quite difficult.
“I wouldn’t loved to have finished off in the top 10, it was close with Andre there... theoretically, we could’ve got to ninth with Winterbottom.
“He was a little bit unlucky with engine failures and startline shunts."
Slade will now shift to PremiAir Racing alongside incumbent James Golding, who pushed the new team to top 10 finishes and Shootout berths.
PremiAir will have brand new cars for the first time, albeit turnkey Triple Eight Gen3 Camaros.
Slade is also preparing for his second child with fiancé Dani.
The time with Blanchard’s Box Hill squad wasn’t lost on Slade, whose full-time career looked done at the end of 2019.
“It’s been an awesome couple of years,” said Slade, 37.
“I’ve enjoyed it. It’s bee great to work with Tim, who’s been a good mate for a long time.
“And the Blanchards, and the CoolDrive family. It’s a bit sad, but Christmas break and into it next year.
“[Baby due] end of Jan… hectic."
Todd Hazelwood will replace Slade in the #3 Ford for 2023, with the team also running a Super2 entry for Aaron Love.
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will commence in Newcastle next March.
Tickets are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.