ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 10, 2018) – Blackdog Speed Shop couldn’t ask for a better start to its GTS Championship defense in the Pirelli World Challenge. Lawson Aschenbach drove the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R to a hard-earned victory today in the first of two PWC races this weekend on the St. Petersburg (Fla.) street circuit.
Aschenbach won for the fifth time in his World Challenge career at St. Petersburg and second time with Blackdog Speed Shop – the first coming in 2014. Aschenbach also set a record for fastest GTS race lap – 1:19.201 – to earn pole position for Sunday morning’s second 50-minute race of the weekend.
Teammate Tony Gaples, in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, finished fourth in GTSA and 11th overall in a wild battle among the mid-pack runners throughout. He will start 12th overall and fifth in GTSA.
Aschenbach used a pair of gutsy moves early in the race to pick up his 25th career World Challenge victory. Starting fourth, Aschenbach picked up two spots to second place at the first corner. A lap later he dove to the inside of eventual runner-up Gabriele Piana at the slow, right-hand Turn Four and emerged with a lead he never lost.
It was the 22nd victory in World Challenge for Blackdog Speed Shop to rank first among GTS entrants. The Chevrolet Camaro won for the 50th time in World Challenge.
After a bit of a chaotic start, Gaples bided his time and moved up from 15th back up to 12th overall after five laps. Staying cool and calm was the order of the day, especially considering the traffic (27 cars started the race) and some light rain in the first 20 minutes.
Nevertheless, Gaples’ best lap put him in prime position to challenge for the GTSA lead at the start Sunday.
GTS Race 2 is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday. Live race coverage will be available at World-ChallengeTV.com.
LAWSON ASCHENBACH, NO. 1 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “What a great way to start the season. Big thanks to everyone at Blackdog Speed Shop, Chevrolet and Pratt & Miller for a great Camaro GT4.R. We had a feeling things could get pretty frantic at the start, so I knew I needed to be aggressive into the first corner. Fortunately I made the move to second stick, and then the overtake for the lead a lap later. From then on it, I had to hit my marks and not make any mistakes. The Porsche made it tough but I always feel confident in a Camaro when I’m out front. It feels great to win a race right out of the box. This one goes to the guys at Blackdog Speed Shop for all the work they did to get this Camaro ready. We’ll start from pole tomorrow… you couldn’t ask for more!”
TONY GAPLES, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “It was an OK race for me. We brought back our Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R back without damage, which is saying something considering the size of our GTS field. The start wasn’t what I had envisioned but it’s a big risk to go too aggressive into the first corner with so many unknown drivers and cars. You never know how everyone is going to react in that big scrum. So I lost a couple of spots but was able to steadily claw back to a decent finishing position with our Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. With a little better conditions and track position, I definitely think I could have challenged some of the front-runners. Congratulations to Lawson and the team on a great victory. We have good, fast and reliable Camaros for tomorrow. Let’s see what the conditions in the morning bring. It should be a lot of fun.”
Blackdog Speed Shop Facts and Figures – Pirelli World Challenge
Winningest GTS program in PWC history – 22 victories
- Two Team Championships (2013, 2017)
- Four Driver Championships (2013-15, 2017)
- Two Manufacturer Championships (2013, 2017)
Chevrolet Facts and Figures – Pirelli World Challenge
- Chevrolet Camaro second all-time in PWC victories by model (50).
- Chevrolet first all-time in PWC victories by brand (124)
- General Motors first all-time in PWC victories by manufacturer (187)
- Chevrolet: Five Manufacturer Championships (1990-91, 1994, 2013, 2017)
- Blackdog Speed Shop: Two Team Championships (2013, 2017)
- Blackdog Speed Shop: Four Driver Championships (2013-15, 2017)
About Blackdog Speed Shop
Blackdog Speed Shop is a high-performance, custom car builder in the northern suburbs of Chicago specializing in ground-up car builds, high-performance upgrades for engines, transmissions, suspension and exhaust including computer and dyno tuning. Whether you have a modern muscle car, vintage muscle, 1930s hot rod or a foreign exotic, you will enjoy the Blackdog experience.
Ever dreamed of piloting a real World Challenge race car? Blackdog offers rental and “arrive and drive” racing in addition to purpose-built cars. Call Blackdog today at (855) 4-BLACKDOG to schedule an appointment or discuss the best way to put you in the driver’s seat!
Blackdog Speed Shop at a Glance
- Pirelli World Challenge GTS Driver Championships – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
- Pirelli World Challenge GTS Team Championships – 2013, 2017
- Pirelli World Challenge GTS Manufacturer Championships – 2013, 2017
- Pirelli World Challenge GTS Victories: 22 – Most in class history