Tim Slade will officially part ways with the Erebus Motorsport team at the end of this year’s V8 Supercars Championship season, the team has confirmed.
Slade is hotly tipped to join the Walkinshaw Racing stable as the replacement for Russell Ingall, who will retire from full-time competition with the SuperCheap Auto Racing team.
Slade has been a part of the three-car Erebus team’s ambitious foray into the V8 Supercars Championship with its E63 AMG Mercedes entries, following three years spent racing under its previous Stone Brothers Racing moniker when it was a Ford team.
It would appear that this has been the principal factor in the 28-year-old’s decision to seek new pastures.
“We’ve always been aware that it was going to take time to shape the organisation in line with the long term brand vision of Erebus Motorsport,” the team’s CEO, Ryan Maddison, said.
“Despite some robust negotiations, we weren’t able to reach agreement with Tim, he has been open and professional throughout the entire process, which is exactly what we expect from anyone involved with Erebus Motorsport.”
It is understood that Slade was unhappy with the timing of the team’s announcement, which came just hours before he had his first practice outing in his #47 entry ahead of this weekend’s Sandown 500 endurance race.
“My preference was, any announcements I ever had to make – not that I’ve had to make many in my career – but I’d prefer to do it away from the race track,” he shrugged.
“That was my words of advice to everyone involved, but it is what it is.”
The Walkinshaw Racing stable was equally displeased to be brought into the driver market speculation regarding Slade – a representative of the team described Erebus’ assertion that Slade would join the factory Holden squad as “unprofessional”.
The announcement in turn gives rise to speculation about the future of the #47 entry which Erebus Motorsport leases from James Rosenberg, a long-time backer of the Adelaide-born driver.
With his deal with Erebus also set to expire at the end of the season, both parties’ negotiations to remain with one another are continuing.
“I’m still talking to Erebus but at this stage I see no reason why I won’t be continuing on there, regardless of what Slade does,” Rosenberg told the Speed Café website.