Meet The locals: Tim Slade Racing Driver
With 350 race starts in 12 years, Tim Slade has clocked up a lot of kilometres on racing tracks in Australia and beyond.
As Bathurst 1000 approaches we caught up with Tim to talk about Supercars, life on the Gold Coast and becoming a dad.
Hi Tim, how long have you been on the Gold Coast, and what do you like about living here?
I originally moved up here for work in 2009. My mood normally coincides with the weather so I love the sun, the blue skies and the general lifestyle. I grew up in Adelaide, and the Gold Coast has a similar feel, in that it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of a major city like Melbourne or Sydney. I enjoy my fitness training – running in the many different nice locations that the Gold Coast has to offer. Having a little boy also changed things in the last 12 months. We like just being outdoors, discovering and exploring the area with him.
Did you grow up wanting to be a racing car driver?
Yes, I did. My dad was always involved in some shape or form and did a little bit of racing himself. I’d say he sort of pushed me towards it. But in saying that, it doesn’t take too much pushing for a kid to say yes to going go-karting!
So, it all started with go-karts?
Yes, I started go-kart racing when I was nine and did it for eight years, all around the country. It was a natural progression from go-karts to the lower level of car racing and then through to Supercars.
Go-karting is awesome. A lot of us guys in Supercars still love jumping into a go-kart as it’s pretty much the purest form of motorsport, plus it’s nice to support racing at the grassroots level when you can.
What do you enjoy most about racing Supercars?
The best bit is when you achieve success. Supercars are one of the toughest car racing categories in the world and a lot of hard work goes into it, from everyone in the team, so when you get a good result, it’s very satisfying. When you have been racing since you were nine it starts to feel kind of normal, but you try not to forget the reason that you got into it in the first place – which was because it’s a fun thing to do.
Car racing is a very tough sport in that there’s so many factors outside of your control. If you don’t have the right equipment then you’re never going to get a good result. So yeah, it’s not an easy sport to shine – I’ll put it that way.
What has been your most memorable racing career moment?
Probably all the firsts. First pole, first podium, first race win etc.
And a massive 350 race starts, since 2009. That’s quite a milestone. Has it been Supercars all the way?
I have raced other categories but Supercars is my main priority, then whatever else I can fit in around that. I was doing some racing overseas in the GT category with an Asian based team which I really enjoyed, then COVID happened. I hope to do some more racing with them once we can travel freely again.
What's my property worth?
I also had a lot of bucket list stuff lined up for 2020 that I’d never previously had the opportunity to do – like the Le Mans 24 hours, Spa 24 hours and Suzuka 10 hours and a few others. Hopefully, the opportunity will come up again so I can compete in some of those iconic races.
You obviously need a lot of skills to drive Supercars. Is it tough physically as well?
You don’t need to prepare your body in the same way you would for a physical contact sport like football, but it is physically demanding to drive the cars, especially the longer races. It can get extremely hot in the cars, up to 50 or 60 degrees in the cabin, if we are racing somewhere relatively warm. And then there’s the mental side of it too. As well as working with your engineer and your team to tune the car to the track and conditions, to make the car as good as it possibly can be. So yeah, there is a lot to it.
So, is it all about racing for you – or do you still enjoy a leisurely Sunday drive?
Comparing a racing car on a racing track to a car on the road is like chalk and cheese. My wife and I like exploring, there’s obviously plenty that the Gold Coast has to offer in that sense. We like discovering what’s inland. Our last little trip was out to Mount Barney, out past Beaudesert. We didn’t climb it as we had a little one with us but it’s on the to do list!
Your son was 9-months-old when he made his first Supercars track appearance at the Townsville 500 in July. Has having a baby changed your perspective?
Oh yeah! He’s just an awesome addition to life. We obviously love having him and he definitely keeps us on our toes! He’s full-on and flat out but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re loving being parents. It was great to have him and my wife in Townsville, and my mum came up as well. We had races two weekends in a row so it was just nice to have a little family holiday in between events.
The rest of the racing schedule for the year has just been announced so it’s four weekends in a row in Sydney, a weekend off, then Bathurst, and then I come home to potentially two weeks quarantining. I am not sure how the whole situation is going to work out, whether my family can come too and then quarantine. It’s going to be hard if I can’t see them for a while – kids grow so fast and I don’t want to miss out on too much of it if there’s a choice. Hopefully, we can work it all out closer to the time.
So, Bathurst 1000 – the big one, how are you feeling about it?
It’s probably the most historical race and the one everyone wants to win. It’s definitely the biggest race of the year. It’s like our grand final, even though it’s not normally the last race of the year, but it is this year. If you could stand on the podium anywhere, you’d definitely choose the Bathurst podium.