The two-time race winner made a sensational return to Supercars at Mount Panorama, following a year on the sidelines after losing his Brad Jones Racing drive at the end of 2019.
Driving for the brand new, single-car Blanchard Racing Team in a customer Tickford Mustang, Slade managed to out-perform ‘factory’ Tickford drivers James Courtney and Jack Le Brocq across Friday practice and qualifying on Saturday.
He started the season-opener from second on the grid, and was just five laps from a fairytale top four finish when a gear selection issue led to a violent crash on the run to Forrest’s Elbow.
The impact was bad enough to force Slade out for the rest of the weekend, with BRT now preparing its spare chassis for Round 2 at Sandown later this month.
Slade took to social media this morning to reflect on the rollercoaster weekend, admitting he’s “gutted” but also recognising the positives that can be taken from the team’s speedy debut.
“Absolutely gutted to not finish the race Saturday and put us out for the rest of the weekend,” he wrote.
“I said many times over the weekend what an amazing job the whole team has done in such a short period of time and how well they all worked at their first race for BRT. Super proud of them all.
“I didn’t do my job properly, but it’s done now. I’ll get over it soon and focus on bouncing back and being the best I can be at the next one.
“Many positive to take from out first race weekend and there’s no reason why we can’t repeat the speed we showed.”