Tim Slade to compete in opening round of Trans Am at AWC Race Tasmania
Supercars star Tim Slade will make his debut in Trans Am as part of a new two-car team at the opening round of the series at AWC Race Tasmania at Symmons Plains next month.
The two-time Supercars race winner will jump aboard new Trans Am team The Racing Academy, spearheaded by renowned karting operator and engineer Tom Williamson.
Williamson and racing business partner Doug Westwood have established The Racing Academy as an extension of Williamson’s successful karting team, aimed at nurturing young stars from karts to Formula Ford and beyond.
In 2023, the Racing Academy will have three young drivers coming in the West Australia Formula Ford state titles, plus two entries in Trans Am.
In the pilot year for The Racing Academy last year, 16-year-old Elliott Cleary won the WA Formula Ford title and will graduate to Trans Am this year.
For the opening round at Symmons Plains, Cleary will not be old enough to compete in Trans Am, which will see Slade take his seat in a one-off capacity ahead of Cleary’s national debut at Round 2 at Phillip Island.
The Racing Academy will field two Trans Am entries in 2023, with Slade to be joined by Cody Gillis at Symmons Plains.
Gillis, 23, is a karting world champion, having won the Rotax DD2 class in 2017.
After Symmons Plains, Slade will remain linked to The Racing Academy as a mentor to the young drivers, offering his vast experience as a way to fast track their progression into tin top racing.
Slade’s appearance in the 2023 AWC Race Tasmania, coordinated by Chad Parrish, will be his second-straight, having competed in a one-off race with Team BRM in S5000 last year.
Trans Am is part of a huge bill of national and local motorsport at the famous Symmons Plains Raceway. The big V8s will be joined by the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series, S5000 and Touring Car Masters on February 24-26.
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Australian motorsport driver
“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.
“I’m looking forward to working with Tom, Doug and the rest of the team as well.”
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.”