TIM SLADE wasarguably one of the form drivers of the second half of the 2012 V8 SupercarsChampionship, amongst a season full of milestones for the SBR-turned ErebusMotorsport driver.
He finishedfifth in the final standings – beating both teammates Shane van Gisbergen andLee Holdsworth home – and bettered his best race result in the championshipwhen he finished a stunning second in Race 29 of the year at the Sydney Telstra500, in December.
In fact,Slade finished no lower than seventh in the final 11 races of the 2012 season,scored three podiums and had the championship begun at the Dick Smith Sandown500 in September, Slade would have finished third – behind only Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.
It was also aseason where he notched up his 100th championship race start, his 50thevent start and his first career pole position (again, in Race 29 in Sydney).Most believe that a maiden victory is just around the corner.
It makes for impressive reading – but what does this rising star of V8 Supercars do during the off season?
In our first V8supercars.com.au 'Monday Morning Chat', we catch up with Tim to find out..
V8Supercars.com.au - So, what makes up an off season forTim Slade?
Tim Slade: I went overto Germany the Wednesday after Homebush with a few of the Erebus crew for theend of year SLS (GT car) dinner, with Betty, Daniel and Ryan Maddison (ErebusCEO), and spent three or four days over there. I had a bit of a look round andit was pretty cool being over there at that time of year when it’s snowing and aroundChristmas as well, I’d never been on a Euro trip before and never seen propersnow, so that was a good experience for me.
Then I wentdown to Sydney for a few days over Christmas to see (partner) Dani’s family,and then went down to Adelaide on Boxing Day night. I spent basically a coupleof weeks in Adelaide and up the river, cruising up there and spending a fairbit of time behind the boat on the water.
I spent afair bit of time catching up with friends and family as well.. it was a goodbreak.
V8SC: Having raced them before, we couldn’thelp but notice that you were back behind the wheel of a Sprint Car, too...
Slade: I didn’tactually do any races other than the skid I had a Parramatta the other week. Itwas awesome. I hadn’t driven one for a couple of years and it gave me a tasteagain to do a bit more.
I caught a coupleof races as well; at the Murray Bridge World Series Sprintcars round and I wentup to the Aussie titles at the weekend, which was great. I love those things.
V8SC: How much training do you do over theoff-season.. do you stay hard at it, or give your body a break before therigours of another long season?
Slade: I didn’t stoptraining. Training for me isn’t something that is racing specific, It’s just me– I enjoy it and it’s part of my lifeand it’s what I do day in and day out whether I’m racing or not, Otherwise Ifeel guilty – especially for the extra food you eat over Christmas. It givesyou a bit of extra motivation to train a bit harder.
V8SC: Is it easier to sit through an offseason having ended the year so strongly, as you did?
Slade: It does. Ithink when you have a bit of a break you want to finish on a high, whether it’sin the middle of a season and you have four or five weeks off or whether it’sthe end of the year I think it’s always better to finish on a positive note. Iguess you can enjoy your time off a little bit more knowing your last one was agood one.
There’splenty of change for this year and it’s going to be an extremely busy start tothe year. It’s something I’m looking forward to because it means lots ofdriving.
V8SC: There is going to be a lot new in yourworld in 2013.. is there any one thing you are particularly looking forward tothis year – or a combination of factors?
Slade: The thing forme is all the change, with the new car. I think there’s going to be a lot moreopportunity for us to step it up.
I’m notexpecting that to happen straight away, but definitely in the long term. I’mvery positive about it all.
V8SC: And finally, we couldn’t help butnotice you’ve got a nice new company car..
Slade: That thing isa weapon. I’ve done driver training with Peter Hackett and his team since I wasin Formula Ford, so I’ve had the opportunity to drive most of the AMG rangebefore, but when you’ve got your own to park in the driveway it’s pretty cool...it’s definitely a perk of the job!
Editors Note: Both Slade and Lee Holdsworth were quick to trumpet the arrival of their new AMG road cars on Social Media last week - causing quite a stir!