Tim Slade will drive the #23 Chevrolet Camaro in the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship, PremiAir Racing has announced.
As has typically been the way in PremiAir’s short history, drivers have been allowed to choose their race numbers, with team-mate James Golding preferring the #31 for his arrival midway through the 2022 season.
#23 has significance for Slade too, being the number he ran during the 2008 Super2 Series on his SladeSpeed VZ Commodore.
“My first racing number in karts was the #24, which I used for the first half of my karting career,” explained the 37-year-old.
“When I got to the top of the junior class that number was already taken, so I dropped the ‘4’ and have been using #2 ever since.
“The next time in my life I had the opportunity to pick my number was in 2008 with SladeSpeed, but again, #24 was already taken and so was #2, so I chose #23 as it is obviously close to #24.
“I also liked almost the number as much, being something of an NBA fan as a kid with Michael Jordan and also cricket with Shane Warne, who both wore 23 in their careers.
#23 has a recent history in the Supercars Championship, with 23Red Racing as recently as 2020, and, before that, Nissan Motorsport gave “two” and “three” in Japanese “ni” and “san” respectively.
But it is also a special identifier for Slade, he gave the first race and scored round victories in Super2 with it.
“Racing in 2008 using the #23 with SladeSpeed was a special year, because of the way we rounded it, and to win my first race and round in Supercars that year felt better,” he added.
“It was a huge effort from my whole family together with my long-time supporter, James Rosenberg, and you could guess that the campaign really helped to create an opportunity to start my career in the main Supercars category.
“With the story behind it, I really want to say thank you Peter” [Xiberras, team owner] for allowing me to choose my number to join the team – it’s really nice to have a bit more of a personal touch to everything.
“I’m really looking forward to this new era in my supercars career with PremiAir Racing and to wearing the #23 as I do my 400th Supercars race in Newcastle – I can’t wait to get into it.”
Slada, a two-time Supercars Championship race winner, replaces Chris Pither at PremiAir, with the Kiwi running the #22 for the Gold Coast-based squad.
PremiAir is set to undertake its first Gen3 test at Australian Raceway next week, on February 9.