Aschenbach, Gaples ready for second season with Camaro GT4.R
LINCOLNSHIRE, Illinois – A long offseason is coming to an end for Blackdog Speed Shop with the reigning Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship-winning squad ready to open its title defense at a familiar spot.
This weekend’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks the start of another campaign for Blackdog Speed Shop – one the team hopes will end with another collection of championship trophies. The streets of St. Pete have generally been very good for the Blackdog duo of Lawson Aschenbach and Tony Gaples, both of whom will drive Chevrolet’s Camaro GT4.R racer for the second season.
As is the tradition in World Challenge, the GTS weekend will feature a race on both Saturday and Sunday on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit near Florida’s Gulf Coast. Both Blackdog Speed Shop drivers posted solid opening results at in 2017.
Aschenbach claimed pole position and finished second in both GTS races a year ago, and Gaples likewise posted a pair of GTSA runner-ups in a successful debut for the Camaro GT4.R. Aschenbach went on to post two victories and win the GTS Driver’s Championship. Blackdog Speed Shop won its second GTS Team title, and Chevrolet was the GTS Manufacturer Champion.
Fast-forward a year later and expectations remain high for Blackdog Speed Shop, as always. The team completed an early-week test of the two Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.Rs with no issues. Aschenbach’s car will feature the No. 1 as defending champion, while Gaples has his familiar No. 11 on his Camaro GT4.R.
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: “St. Petersburg served as a great coming-out party for our Camaro GT4.R last year. We’re anxious to get back there for the first race of our championship defense. Work toward that began in the fall with Blackdog Speed Shop going over every inch of our Camaro to tweak and fine-tune things ahead of our test at Sebring. This group is one of the best in the sport, and you can see that in the dedication, service and focus every race weekend. That combined with the support from Chevrolet and Pratt & Miller gives us a big boost. There are a lot of new entries in GTS this year, but our experience will provide us with an edge.”
TONY GAPLES, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “It feels like a long time since I was last in a race car. I’m glad the wait is over. It’s a great feeling to back at the wheel of the Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. Our team did a great job getting the new car ready after the crash last year at Sonoma destroyed last year’s car. Personally, I feel fine and I’m optimistic about our chances to repeat at GTS champions. There are a lot of variables we’ll face throughout the year. But right now I’m focused on giving it my all at St. Petersburg to get our season off to a strong start.”
Blackdog Speed Shop Facts and Figures – Pirelli World Challenge
Winningest GTS program in PWC history – 21 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 (49).
Chevrolet first all-time in PWC victories by brand (123)
General Motors first all-time in PWC victories by manufacturer (186)
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)
The Pirelli World Challenge GTS class will race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, on Friday through Sunday. Qualifying is set for 9:40 a.m. ET on Saturday with the first of two races set for 5:05 p.m. ET later in the day. GTS Race 2 is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday. Live race coverage will be available at World-Challenge.com.
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 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: 21 – Most in class history