LINCOLNSHIRE, Illinois (March 4, 2020) – Blackdog Speed Shop is back in the Pirelli GT4 America Sprint championship with the 2020 season set to kick off this weekend at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. It will mark the start of the team’s second year with the McLaren 570S GT4 and first trip with the car to COTA.
The full-season campaign is a mirror image of a year ago – Tony Gaples and McLaren Automotive factory driver Michael Cooper each will drive the pair of Blackdog Speed Shop-sponsored GT4 racers. They’ll each look to challenge for Blackdog Speed Shop’s fifth Team Championship, two more Drivers Championships and a repeat Manufacturers title.
Both will compete in a pair of 50-minute, single-driver races – 4:20 p.m. CT on Saturday and 3:10 p.m. CT on Sunday.
It’s been two years since Blackdog Speed Shop competed at Circuit of The Americas, and the team has a good deal of success with three victories, a runner-up and third-place finish in five previous visits.
Some of those results came at the hands of Cooper and Gaples – drivers of the No. 10 and No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop McLarens. Cooper won in a Blackdog Camaro in 2015 with Gaples posting a runner-up class finish in 2017.
The pairing drove together as teammates in 2018 in GTS SprintX competition – a third-place finish in that season’s opening event.Blackdog Speed Shop will look to improve on its second-place championship finish in 2019. The team scored four victories, helped McLaren to the GT4 Manufacturers Championship, and recorded runner-up Drivers Championship finishes for Cooper – second overall – and Gaples – second in GT4 Am.
During the offseason, the Blackdog team has been taken the task of tearing down the McLarens and freshly rebuilt them ahead of COTA.
Last season’s results bolstered Blackdog Speed Shop as the most successful team in GTS/GT4 competition in the series formerly known as Pirelli World Challenge. It has claimed 29 race victories, two Team Championships, four Driver’s Championships and contributed to three Manufacturer’s titles to date.
The opening of the Pirelli GT4 America Championship begins with a doubleheader for Sprint competitors March 7 and 8 at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.MICHAEL COOPER, NO. 10 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP McLAREN 570S GT4: “It’s good to be back with Blackdog Speed Shop, back in the McLaren GT4 and back at COTA. As a group, I feel like we learned a lot last year with the McLaren for the first time. We have a better understanding of how to make the 570S GT4 work on a variety of tracks. That will be useful at a place like COTA, which has very distinct sections and requires a car to be balanced in order to have success.”TONY GAPLES, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP McLAREN 570S GT4: “Heading into COTA, I think we are all optimistic. Having the McLaren 570S GT4 for a second season is a big advantage. We have a much better idea how it races, how we work on it, understanding the engine and electronics… those are all known factors now. All of this should allow us to get up to speed quicker once we’re on the track this weekend. It’s a quick start to our season with back-to-back events so good results this early can help set the tone for your season. So our goal is to get off to a fast start.”
About Blackdog Speed Shop
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 Drivers Championships – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
- Pirelli World Challenge GTS Team Championships – 2013, 2017, 2018
- Pirelli World Challenge GTS Manufacturers Championships – 2013, 2017, 2019
- Pirelli World Challenge GTS Victories: 29 – Most in class history