The 2019 Bathurst-winning pairing has been split for 2020, with former Brad Jones Racing driver Tim Slade to partner Scott McLaughlin for the 2020 enduros.
Just after finishing the 2019 season with Brad Jones Racing on a high in Newcastle, Slade confirmed he would be leaving team.
On Wednesday, it was confirmed Slade will replace Alex Premat alongside McLaughlin in the #17 Mustang for the 2020 PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
Stream over 50 sports live & anytime on your TV or favourite device with KAYO SPORTS. The biggest Aussie sports and the best from overseas. Just $25/month. No lock-in contract. Get your 14 day free trial >
Fastest Supercars season ever: 21 lap records broken in 2019
to the future: Jack’s back as Tickford confirms Mostert replacement
Mostert ‘sad’ to leave Tickford. But he’s set to receive key parting gift
It’s a major coup for the Ford squad, wich despite shedding the services of Bathurst-winning co-driver Premat, will gain the a driver fresh from an 11-year stint as a full-time driver.
Shell V-Power Racing also confirmed Tony D’Alberto will stay on as a co-driver for a fifth year, having performed co-driver duties alongside Fabian Coulthard since 2017.
It’s believed Las Vegas-based Premat is now exploring other options, having been nabbed from Triple Eight by the Ford team after a successful 2016 enduro campaign with Shane van Gisbergen.
Premat had driven alongside McLaughlin in five of six years between 2014 and 2019, with a Bathurst podium in 2018 followed by the stunning breakthrough victory in October.
Team boss Ryan Story praised Premat’s contribution to the team, an admitted the decision to replace the Frenchman was a difficult one.
“Firstly, I’d like to thank Alex Premat for his time here at the team and for his contribution over the last three years,” said Story.
“In our sport, sometimes difficult decisions must be made, and this was one of those decisions.
“With his recent history as a full-time driver, we know that Tim will be able to deliver great things in a Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustang.
“And Tony has been a big part of our team for many years, so we are excited to have him for another season.
“With both drivers being based in Australia, we intend to have them compete in all additional driver sessions next year, and attend all of our team test days so they are fully integrated into our program.”
For Slade, it’s a genuine chance with a front-running team, with the 34-year-old still searching for a maiden Bathurst podium.
Driving the Freightliner Racing ZB Commodore in 2019, Slade reached the Top 10 Shootout only to be sent into the concrete on the very first lap.
“I couldn’t be happier to be joining the Shell V-Power Racing Team for the 2020 season,” said Slade.
“This is the best team in the sport, and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of one of these Mustangs.
“Driving for names like Penske and Johnson is not something I take lightly, and I’m very much looking forward to working with the team next year.”