Tim Slade isn’t ruling a line through his full-time Supercars career just yet, despite signing on with Shell V-Power Racing as a co-driver for the 2020 PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
The 34-year-old moves into a co-driver role after 11 seasons as a full-timer in the main game, the last four of which have come at Brad Jones Racing.
Slade has replaced Frenchman Alex Premat in the Shell team’s line-up, set to be paired with two-time reigning champion and 2019 Bathurst winner Scott McLaughlin.
After a particularly tough final season at BJR, Slade is keen to chase wins during his limited 2020 campaign, but isn’t closing the door on a future full-time return.
Asked if he’d chosen the Shell Ford drive over a potential full-time slot elsewhere, Slade said: “There was nothing concrete, there weren’t two contracts on the table or anything like that.
“There were probably a couple of things where if I really, really wanted to, I could have tried to hustle a bit more and make it work.
“But I’ve done this for a long time now, this was my 11th year, and I’ve been in a fairly similar position for most of those years in terms of achieving results.
“I’m at the stage where I don’t want to be full-time just for the sake of being full-time. I don’t want to do something with someone just to make up the numbers.
“This is attractive to me because if all goes to plan, every race I’ll do next year I’ll have a genuine chance of winning, no matter which category I’m in.
“But it’s not like I’ve said I’m never going to race full-time ever again. If the right opportunity popped up then it’s something I’d definitely like to do again.”
Shell V-Power Racing’s signing of Slade followed Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander moving from full-time roles into co-driving positions for Triple Eight in 2019.
While both those veterans closed the book on their full-time careers, 2019 Tickford co-driver signing Michael Caruso was hopeful of scoring a seat in 2020, but found it difficult to get back in.
“I’m under no illusions you’re going to do the enduros and have people ring you up asking you to drive their car the following year,” continued Slade, who has two career Supercars race wins.
“It’s pretty tough at the moment, but if the right opportunity comes up in the future, it’s not like I’ve said I’m done full-time driving.
“I think I’m still capable of doing the job when everything’s right. If you look at the last race weekend, it wasn’t a win, but with where the competition is at at the moment, it was as good as.”
Slade finished third in the Newcastle season finale, scoring his first podium finish – and the first podium for BJR – since Albert Park in March.
The result came as part of a late-season resurgence that was said to follow the discovery of an issue with his car in an inspection conducted ahead of Bathurst.
Slade hopes to pair his DJR Team Penske duties with other racing commitments in Australia and overseas, with the latter likely to come with Asian GT outfit HubAuto.
He competed throughout Asia with the team in 2018, before this year contesting the Bathurst 12 Hour and California 8 Hours with the squad, winning the latter encounter aboard its Ferrari 488 GT3.