Lawson Aschenbach will return to defend his Pirelli World Challenge GTS title with Blackdog Speed Shop and Chevrolet, PWC officials have confirmed.
The 34-year-old will again be at the wheel of a Camaro GT4.R in the championship, which expands to include a SprintX element this year.
Aschenbach hit the ground running with the new Pratt & Miller-built GT4 machine last year, racking up numerous podiums prior to the car’s maiden victory at Mid-Ohio in July.
“We had an all-new race car and we didn’t really do a lot of testing before the first race at St. Petersburg,” Aschenbach said.
“We felt our new Camaro would be a good performer on the variety of tracks whether it was a street circuit, road course, tight or long track.
“The Pratt & Miller guys, Chevrolet Performance crew as well as the Blackdog team did a great job in developing the race car for the 2017 season.”
Aschenbach was the measure of consistency throughout the season, finishing off the podium in only five races, while facing stiff competition from the likes of Panoz, Flying Lizard Motorsports and ANSA Motorsports.
“The GTS division is so competitive with such a wide range of cars,” said Aschenbach.
“Now finishing every race with 12 podiums is a tremendous record. We won the title by over 60 points and that’s a credit to everyone involved.
“Blackdog is a great team. So, winning the championship in a car that was still in the development stages is a strong statement. We felt this car was developed for a wide range of drivers too – from amateur to pro.”
He closed out his title run with another victory at Sonoma Raceway, securing the title one weekend early.
“The GT4 class is really expanding worldwide right now as I think the category is appealing to the car manufacturers,” Aschenbach said.
“The cars look similar to what are sold in the showroom. And the costs are more affordable than some of the other classes. I think you’ll see more GT4 cars coming into PWC this year too.”
Team owner Tony Gaples is expected to also be back, competing in the GTSA division with his Camaro GT4.
The GTS class is expected to see in excess of 20 full-season entries this year, including new machinery from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-AMG.