Lucky 7 V8 Supercars driver Tim Slade has given his brand new Ford a shakedown at Queensland Raceway and launched his new colours ahead of this weekend’s season opening test day in Melbourne.
Slade is the first and only driver to enjoy laps in his V8 prior to the compulsory Sandown Raceway test and will be the only driver to get a new car for the 2012 season. The Stone Brothers Racing built Lucky 7 Falcon is the very last car to be built before the next generation Car of the Future debuts next year.
“The first laps in the new car were pretty cool, it's a shame that we only get 20 laps,” said Tim Slade.
“I’d love to spend all day out there, but we have plenty of time for that at Sandown later in the week.
“The shakedown was an opportunity to iron out any bugs that may loom in the car.
“The test days are very limited, you don’t want to waste half a day trying to iron out problems rather than tuning the car for the first race.”
In what is Slade’s first ever new V8 Supercar, not only did the 20-lap ‘shakedown’ go without a hitch, but in the process he launched the all-new 2012 Lucky 7 livery, which will debut at the first round of the season in Adelaide early next month.
“I think the livery looks fantastic,” said Slade.
“I thought last year’s car looked pretty cool, but I had a chance to look at the new car from a distance and it really stood out on the track.
“For Lucky 7 the key is to have a car that looks bold and stands out well, I think this has been achieved.”
For Slade, driving the newest Ford Falcon FG in the series (and the last of its kind before the 2013 season sees the introduction of the Car of the Future) is exciting. He hopes it will be the best car he’s ever driven.
“It’s extremely cool to have a new car,” said Slade.
“There are no real butterflies, but I’ve been excited all week to jump back in after such a long break over the Christmas period.
“There’re a few little bits and pieces that suit me better inside the cockpit so hopefully this puts me in good stead for this year.
“A new car is just another positive thing to take into the new year. Fingers crossed it is the best car I'll have ever driven.”
Having finished 2011 in the top 10, which was his best ever season, Slade has set himself more ambitious goals for 2012.
“We finished ninth last year, we have to better that,” said Slade.
“Last year we showed flashes of form but we need to improve our consistency week in week out.
“I’d expect a top eight this year in the championship, a few more podiums and we'll be chasing for that first win pretty hard as well.”
Lucky 7 Racing Team Principal Ross Stone was happy with the car following its shakedown and described the Lucky 7 Falcon as striking. While the look of the car is important, Stone’s main goal is to see Slade take the next step in his career.
“Definitely we need to take the next step, and Tim needs to do the same as a driver, which I believe he can,” said Ross Stone.
“We are strong as a team, the engineering team is great and as long as we are all doing the simple things OK we'll be on the money in 2012.”
Slade’s engineer Wes MacDougall has echoed the thoughts of Stone, believing that they have built a very strong, competitive car that will provide Slade with the consistency needed to attain his pre-season goals.
“We need to improve our qualifying, but Tim’s shown, and the car has shown, that when we get it right we are really close to Triple Eight,” said MacDougall.
“Improving our consistency is what we need.
“We are striving to make sure that the car will be as good as it can be and beat (Triple Eight) as well.
“The (Lucky 7 Ford) looks nice; hopefully it’ll go as quick as it looks.”
Lucky 7 Racing tests at Sandown Raceway this Saturday between 9am and 5pm ahead of the first event of the season, the Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide, March 1-4.