Tim Slade will stand in for Fabian Coulthard in this weekend’s Bathurst TCR Australia races, after Coulthard tested positive for COVID-19 in the run-up to the event.
Coulthard had been entering the early events this year on a round-by-round basis, having initially only secured the drive with Wall Racing thanks to sponsor Stan Sport, who is promoting its coverage of the series.
But after a double win last time out at Phillip Island, Coulthard rocketed up to fourth place in the drivers’ standings, and his deal had initially been extended once again to cover the third event of the season at Mount Panorama.
A last-minute change has now been required, because Coulthard has tested positive for COVID-19, with Slade standing in to make his début in the series.
Slade, 36, will dovetail his commitments in this weekend’s Bathurst 6-Hour race, where he is racing a BMW M3 along with Brad Carr, with competing in TCR Australia’s three races.
It is not the first font-wheel drive TCR taste for Slade, however, as he also tested an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce for Ashley Seward Motorsport in 2020.
“I cut a few laps on Ash Seward’s Alfa at Winton in 2020, and I was looking at the potential of doing some races, but COVID put paid to that,” said Slade.
“Now I’ve got the opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it – especially at Mount Panorama.
“Bathurst is a lot different to Winton, and I am not sure how different the Honda is to the Alfa. So, I’ve got no real expectations for the weekend.
“I’ll just do the job that Wallie [David Wall, Team Principal] and his team ask of me, get comfortable in the car as soon as I can and see how it goes.
“It’s a shame that Fabs isn’t available for it, but great that I get the chance in the Stan Sport entry. They are the host broadcaster, so I’ll be doing my best to represent them at the best level I can.
“There are only two half hour practice sessions. You can kind of afford to have a muck up at Winton, but at Bathurst, you can’t do that. It might be a bit of a slow learning process, but I’m sure I’ll get up to speed fast enough.
“I’m a fan of the TCR category, and a fan of racing in general. If something were to come up and do both Supercars and TCR on separate weekends, I’m up for it.
“Like any top tier category, I’ve kept an eye on it. Having been down at Tassie [Tasmania] for S5000 earlier this year and at Phillip Island helping my mate Brad Schumacher [in GT World Challenge], TCR has only got stronger. It’s been good to see a few different people up the front winning races.
“One comforting aspect is that I’ll have a teammate like Tony D’Alberto in the same car and same team alongside me.
“We have known each other since we raced karts, we’ve done Bathurst enduros together and most recently drove in the same team at Dick Johnson Racing in 2020.
“He is a good guy and someone who will go out of his way to help. He knows the bigger picture, so it will be good to have him to work alongside.”