Pair of Chevrolet Camaro GT4.Rs to make second appearance at classic circuit
LINCOLNSHIRE, Illinois – Blackdog Speed Shop gets back to racing in the Pirelli World Challenge this weekend with a return to Virginia International Raceway and GTS SprintX competition. It’s the second SprintX weekend for the defending class championship-winning program and the second consecutive year for Blackdog Speed Shop at historic VIR.
Last season was the first PWC race at the circuit in seven years. Blackdog Speed Shop marked the occasion with a pair of podium finishes for Lawson Aschenbach and his Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
Twelve months later, a quartet of Blackdog Speed Shop drivers will attack the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course in a pair of one-hour races. The lineups in each of the team’s entries are the same as the GTSX opener at Circuit of The Americas – defending GTS champion Aschenbach and Andy Pilgrim in the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R with Tony Gaples and Michael Cooper in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Camaro.
While Aschenbach sits second in the overall GTS Driver’s Championship – a combination of GTS Sprint and SprintX standings – Gaples and Cooper lead the Blackdog contingent in GTSX points on the strength of a third-place finish at COTA. Both Gaples and Cooper have podium finishes at VIR to their credits: Cooper last year in GTX, and Gaples’ first career podium finish came at the track in 2001.
Aschenbach and Pilgrim will look to right their fortunes at a track that has been good to each. Pilgrim won in World Challenge GT competition at VIR on a doubleheader weekend 2010 and also finished third the same event. Meanwhile, Aschenbach finished third in both races of last year’s PWC weekend at the track en route to his fifth World Challenge title. He opened the season with a pair of Sprint victories at St. Petersburg.
Built to global GT4 regulations, the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R is based on the road-going Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. It features a 6.2-liter, Chevrolet small block V8 that was developed and validated by Chevrolet 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.
LAWSON ASCHENBACH, NO. 1 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “What’s the best thing to do after a tough weekend? Get back in the saddle! I’ve been looking forward to VIR since our last event as it’s a place where we have the opportunity to rebound.
“The track has a little bit of everything. It showcases fast transitions, elevation changes, and tight, slow-speed corners. And don’t forget about the high grip level that allows you to push yourself and the car to the maximum. VIR is a driver’s track and one we look forward to!
“The Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R has excellent high-speed stability and is surprisingly nimble in low-speed sections. I feel this gives us a great balance heading into a critical SprintX weekend.”
ANDY PILGRIM, NO. 1 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “I’m really looking forward to racing at VIR again. I have always seen it as an old-school track. It doesn’t suffer fools gladly being narrow and fast with major agriculture if you go off track. It reminds a bit of a miniature version of the Nürburgring – loads of character. I can’t wait to run the Camaro GT4.R there this weekend.”
TONY GAPLES, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “Our SprintX season got off to a good start at Austin. We look to continue it at VIR. This is absolutely one of my favorite tracks on the schedule – old-school, fast and no margin for error. Our Blackdog Speed Shop Camaro GT4.Rs should be well-suited to the circuit. The car transitions well, and there are plenty of places where the track changes direction in short spurts. Plus we should be pretty solid on the brakes, and we showed at COTA that our strategy and team execution in the pitlane is among the best in the series. Hopefully that all adds up to another podium at VIR… and maybe more!”
MICHAEL COOPER, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “VIR has a great flow; there are a lot of curbs and changes in direction that will reward a well-rounded car… like our Camaro GT4.R. From the driver’s seat, the most exciting part of the track has to be the Upper Esses. The car gets very light over the crests while going well over 100 mph, all while changing direction multiple times.
“As a team we’ll be looking to build on the strategy and execution that put us on the podium in our first SprintX race. We recognized some areas where we can gain time. That’s just one example of how way we can improve our performance to stay ahead of the curve.”
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!