Pirelli World Challenge GTS points leader Lawson Aschenbach says he has been thrilled with Blackdog Speed Shop’s performance with the brand-new Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R and is confident that the first win of the season is on its way.
Aschenbach holds a 68-point advantage over second-place Martin Barkey in the championship fight on the strength of nine podium finishes in the first ten races, but the breakthrough victory for the Camaro in PWC so far has eluded him.
He admitted it is a bizarre situation to be in possession of a sizable advantage in the standings and still be searching for the first trip to victory lane.
“It’s definitely a bit strange!” Aschenbach told Sportscar365. “But I think one of the things this team does so well is execution.
“We’re always executing, we’re always fast, we always come to the track ready to go at all times. Especially to be able to come into the season, pick up the cars one week before the first race, do one day of testing, go to St. Pete, and get a double podium, that goes to show you that execution.
“With this year, we’ve had solid finishes everywhere, we’ve been very smart, and it’s definitely a different situation to be in because a lot of my championships end up being won on the last race within the last five minutes of a race.
“It’s definitely a different feeling right now, but I’m very pleased with the progress.
“We haven’t got the win yet, but when you look at the BoP and everything we’ve been dealt this year, it always seems to be one outlier every year and we haven’t been that outlier yet.
“The podiums, to us, are wins. We’re really happy with everything this year.”
Aschenbach said he didn’t expect to be the outlier himself any time soon, but said this weekend’s races at Mid-Ohio would be a very good chance to get to the top step of the podium.
With tracks he expects to be challenging for the Camaro still to come, he said he feels the pressure to capitalize at the circuits that favor his race car.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever have the outlier status, but to me Mid-Ohio represents a really good shot for us to win a race,” he said. “I think [Circuit of The Americas] will also be a decent place for us.
“Historically, we’ve struggled at Utah and especially Sonoma with the weight of the car, the grip level, the elevation changes.
“We know we’re going to have some problems there. If there’s any weekend to do it, it would be this weekend.
“I am optimistic that COTA will be pretty good because it’s just a tough track and there are so many different things that that track gives you.”
Adding to his confidence is the fact that the Camaro has won the last two races of the season in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with a car that is campaigned by the same Stevenson Motorsports team that he drives for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
With a foot in both Camaro camps, Aschenbach said he has become an unofficial conduit between the two teams.
“It is a bit different because they are on the Continental tire and we’re on the Pirelli. Our setups aren’t going to be very similar,” he said.
“But I think in reality, if we learn something over here and they learn something over there, we can definitely share information back and forth, especially on the mechanical side of the car.
“Pratt & Miller does a good job of managing that as well, because they’re the important piece here that’s in between both teams. For me, I’m definitely over in their pits a lot asking how they’re doing.
“If something happens over there I’m taking note of it and I can bring it over here, and if something happens over here I can bring it over there. It definitely helps when you have two teams in two different series and the drivers can go in between the teams.
“It helps the progression of the car at the end. When you have good solid programs like these two programs, you’re going to get the maximum out of the car.”