Gaples, Aschenbach back for GTS title push in Pirelli World Challenge
LINCOLNSHIRE, Illinois – Blackdog Speed Shop will write a new chapter in its championship-winning history for 2017 as it fields two new Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R race cars in the GTS class of the Pirelli World Challenge.
The full-season program again sees the duo of Tony Gaples and Lawson Aschenbach each driving Blackdog Speed Shop Camaros. It marks a new era for Blackdog Speed Shop, which will be the first team in the world to drive the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R when the Pirelli World Challenge opens its season at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The Camaro GT4.R is built to global GT4 regulations with the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class among many categories for which the car is eligible.
Based on the road-going Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, 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.
“This is going to be a great season with the new Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R,” said Gaples, who will drive the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Camaro. “Paddle shift, better cornering, improved aero… it’s all any racer could want! I feel really good about the potential of the Camaro GT4.R in the new-look GTS class. The global SRO rules should be very good for balancing all the competing cars in the category. The bottom line: I’m really excited!”
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.
“I’m thrilled to be back with Blackdog Speed Shop to campaign the new Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R this season,” said Aschenbach, pilot of the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Camaro. “Not only does the new Camaro look and sound awesome, but this car is a testament to all the hard work and dedication back at Chevrolet and all our support partners. The GTS class is going to be competitive this year, and I’m confident that our new hotrod will give us an edge!”
Both Gaples and Aschenbach rank among Pirelli World Challenge career leaders in a number of categories. Aschenbach is a four-time class champion with titles in three different categories. He ranks sixth all-time in series wins with 22 – including a GTS-leading 14 – in 96 starts. He won four times in 2016 in a Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R and was third in GTS points.
Gaples is fourth all-time in World Challenge starts with 168. He recorded 10 top-10 finishes during the 2016 and placed eighth in GTS points. He also claimed three Optima Standing Start awards on the season.
The 18-round Pirelli World Challenge GTS season opens with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg from March 10-12.
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!