The PremiAir Racing driver will make a one-off start in the Aussie Trans Am series as a stand-in driver for brand new team The Racing Academy.
Run by renowned driver coach Tom Williamson and his business partner Doug Westwood, The Racing Academy will field young drivers in state-level Formula Ford and national Trans Am.
The regular Trans Am line-up for 2023 will be former karting world champion Cody Gillis and last year’s West Australian Formula Ford champion Elliott Cleary.
The latter, however, won’t be old enough to compete in Trans Am until after the opening round at Symmons Plains on February 24-26, with Slade set to sub for the 16-year-old.
“Having been through the ups and downs of climbing the motorsport ranks myself, especially when you don’t have a lot of money, it can be hard to make the right decisions straight out of karts,” said Slade.
“It’s cool what Tom, Doug and their team have put together.
“It’s awesome that Tom has the ability to nurture the talent in karts and keep them in his system for those next steps after karting, and potentially all the way to Supercars and beyond.
“I haven’t driven a Trans Am properly, but I’ve always been a big fan of the class. It seems to be the best value for money category in the country.
“The cars look good, sound good, the racing always seems to be entertaining, and outside of a Supercar, it’s potentially the closest thing you can get to one.
“For me, I want to do as many miles as I can, now that we only have 12 race meetings and a few test days, so extra miles for me is the aim and something that I’ll look at doing for the rest of the year.
“It’s perfect to do at the start of the year when you’ve had three months off.”
According to Williamson, Slade’s on-track cameo will be followed by a mentoring role for The Racing Academy.
“I’ve known Tim for years and I know that he is going to be a great mentor for the young drivers in the new academy,” said Williamson.
“He’s a no bullshit kind of guy. He’ll tell them when they’re doing a good job, he’ll tell them when they are not, and importantly, it’s something that he we wants to do.
“Giving him this drive at Symmons Plains will certainly help give him a feel of the cars so he can relay the best information to the young guys.
“The idea of the academy is to get them from karts to Formula Ford, teach them the fundamentals of so that they have the best chance of keeping their career progression on track.
“I feel Trans Am a really good series and gives them a base of skills that gives you future options. You can go to America, you could go to Super2 or Porsche.
“Cody has been racing karts world wide for a number of years, and anything he has touched, he has won. He hasn’t had great opportunities, but his experience will put him in a strong position in Trans Am.
“He has mentored Elliot the last two years in karts, so it was a no-brainer to have them linked up this year.
“When Elliot jumps into the Trans Am, I know he is going to fast straight away, and having guys like Tim and Cody in his corner will help with his transition.”