Slade concerned about crashing after Bathurst cool suit failure

Tim Slade says ‘there would have been another crashed car’ had he kept going after his cool suit failed during Sunday’s Bathurst 1000.

Slade concerned about crashing after Bathurst cool suit failure
 Tim Slade, Brad Jones Racing Holden
 Tim Slade, Brad Jones Racing Holden
Tim Slade, Brad Jones Racing Holden
Tim Slade, Brad Jones Racing Holden
Tim Slade, Brad Jones Racing Holden crash

The Brad Jones Racing driver was visibly distressed during his second stint in the car, on-board cameras showing that he was struggling with the cabin temperatures.

It quickly became apparent he’d suffered a cool suit failure, leading to his Brad Jones Racing crew removing side windows as they tried to help him deal with the failed suit.

Slade was ultimately pulled from the car in favour of co-driver Andre Heimgartner, having entered into a territory of exhaustion that put him at risk of crashing the car.

That would have been a disaster for the BJR crew, which has had a horror run of shunts in 2017, including Todd Hazelwood’s spectacular roll at Sandown and Slade’s own bingle at The Dipper at Bathurst on Thursday.

While Slade said he was disappointed not to finish his stint, he conceded that it was the right call given how exhausted he was.

“It wouldn’t say it dangerous, but there would have been another crashed car – and that’s the last thing I wanted to do,” he told Motorsport.com.

“It’s hard, because I’d keep getting tiny bits of relief, whether it was the window coming out, or spraying water on your face. So I’d think ‘okay, keep on pressing on’.

“But I was so sapped, depleted of energy. I couldn’t put in the energy required to get the most out of the car, and that’s when you can’t concentrate and start to make stupid mistakes.

“It’s a tough one, you want to press on but I was at the point where if they’d said, ‘Come in, we’re going to put Andre in because he can do a better job than you’, that’s what I was kind of hoping for.

“It’s just tough; when you’re driving the car you have the adrenaline going. That’s your job, your job is to jump in and do that run home. And you want to finish the job.”

Slade added that he wasn’t sure of what caused the cool suit to fail, but that extra ducting to stop the windscreen from fogging in the wet conditions probably didn’t help the ventilation when the suit did fail.

“I’m not sure exactly what happened, but the cool suit wasn’t working. And the helmet air wasn’t working either,” he said. "We run pretty minimal ducting, so there was just no air flow.

“Then I used up all my water just trying to get some form of relief spraying it on my face and letting it drip down through my suit.

“It started once we started having the fogging dramas. I’m not sure what the guys ended up doing with ducting to try and un-fog the screen, but at the start it was fine.”

Cabin temperatures were relatively low during this year’s Bathurst 1000, leading to some drivers not even bothering with the cool suit.

However having a broken cool suit is worse than not having one at all, with the ribs in the vest filled with what is meant to be cold water that slowly rises with the cabin temps.

“It’s always worse if your cooling fails. You’d be better off not wearing the cool suit as all, because the tubes are running through but instead of the cool suit running at 10 degrees, it’s running at whatever the cabin temperature is,” said Slade.

“And that’s something like 45 degrees. So it’s like having a hot blanket on you the whole time.”

The cool suit failure came at the end of a drama-filled weekend for Slade, which started with the practice crash and included regular co-driver Ash Walsh withdrawing on Friday morning after failing to sufficiently recover from injuries sustained in a testing crash.

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