Gaples, Aschenbach to debut impressive new GT4-spec Camaro
LINCOLNSHIRE, Illinois – A new-look season starts this week for Blackdog Speed Shop, which officially debuts the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R to open the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GTS season. The team is confident that the impressive new Camaro, built to global GT4 specifications, will aid in the quest for a fourth GTS Driver’s Championship in five seasons.
Lawson Aschenbach and Tony Gaples will pilot the two Blackdog Speed Shop Camaros for the full World Challenge season. In another change for this year, the two Blackdog Camaro GT4.Rs will run in a new livery scheme starting with a GTS doubleheader as part of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. A total of 20 GT4/GTS cars are entered.
Based on the road-going Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, the Camaro GT4.R features a 6.2-liter, Chevrolet small block V8 that was developed and validated by Chevy Racing. Power is delivered to a six-speed Xtrac sequential transmission with paddle-shifting and adjustable traction control.
Additional mechanical features include an Xtrac racing limited-slip differential, a two-way adjustable Ohlins Racing dampers and adjustable ABS along with Brembo brakes. On the aero side, a new rear wing, front splitter and front diveplanes offer noticeable improvements over the previous generation Camaro.
“There’s always anticipation to start the season, but this one we’ve been waiting on for a long time,” said Aschenbach, a four-time World Challenge champion. “It’s not every day you get the chance to debut a car like the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R with Blackdog Speed Shop, so we’re all doubly excited about this! I’ve been very impressed with the Camaro GT4.R in testing leading up this weekend. That support from Chevy combined with the expertise of the guys from Blackdog Speed Shop will give us all the pieces we need to contend for another GTS Championship.”
The 1.8-mile, 14-turn layout at St. Petersburg is the only street circuit on the GTS schedule, and it’s a venue that is familiar to Aschenbach, Gaples and Blackdog Speed Shop. Aschenbach is a four-time winner on the Florida Gulf Coast including 2014 in a Blackdog Camaro.
Gaples will race in GTS at St. Petersburg for the fifth time and will look to match or better his sixth-place finish at the track in the 2012 GT race. He comes into the season fourth all-time in World Challenge starts with 168 and is the series’ active leader.
“It’s finally here! We’re all eager to get the season started with our new Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R,” Gaples said. “The testing we’ve done with the GT4.R has been positive so we’re feeling pretty confident going to St. Petersburg. There are a lot of variables this weekend such as a lot of new cars in GTS and a street circuit with bumpy sections, smooth sections and lots of concrete. It’ll make for an exciting start to 2017 for Blackdog Speed Shop and Team Chevy!”
The combination of Blackdog Speed Shop and the Camaro platform is a winning one in Pirelli World Challenge. Entering 2017, Blackdog Speed Shop is the winningest team in PWC GTS competition with 18 victories. The team won three consecutive GTS Driver’s Championships – Aschenbach in 2013-14 and Michael Cooper in 2015 – as well as the 2013 GTS Team title during Blackdog Speed Shop’s first season in the category. Chevrolet was the Manufacturer’s Champion that season, as well.
The Pirelli World Challenge GTS class will race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, on Thursday through Saturday. Qualifying is set for 5:45 p.m. ET on Thursday with the first of two races set for 12:15 p.m. ET on Friday. GTS Race 2 is scheduled for 12:55 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Live race coverage will be available at World-Challenge.com. CBS Sports Network will air GTS action from St. Petersburg at 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 22.
About Blackdog Speed Shop
Blackdog Speed Shop builds more than just racecars. Whether you race competitively, attend the occasional trackday or like to cruise the back roads, Blackdog will help you get more enjoyment out of your favorite car, be it a Chevrolet Camaro, a Mazda Miata or the newest Porsche 911. From simple brake and suspension upgrades to complete motor builds, dyno-tuning and resto-mods, Blackdog can help!
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!