It might be a new season but Blackdog Speed Shop is going back to the future for its 2016 campaign in the Pirelli World Challenge. Team owner Tony Gaples and multi-time World Challenge Driver’s Champion Lawson Aschenbach will drive the team’s familiar pair of flat-black Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.Rs in the new-look GTS class.
Gaples and Aschenbach are scheduled to test their Camaros today and Tuesday at Circuit of The Americas, which will play host to the series’ two opening rounds on March 5-6.
Blackdog Speed Shop has won the last three GTS Driver titles – Aschenbach in 2013 and 2014, and Michael Cooper (now with Cadillac Racing) in 2015.
“The 2015 season was another excellent one for Blackdog Speed Shop with another GTS Championship,” said Gaples. “We are ready to build on those successes by welcoming back Lawson to our team.
“It’s great to get the band back together. Lawson is a great driver and we look forward another great season in challenging for our fourth consecutive title in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class.”
Blackdog’s car of choice for the second year in a row is the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R. The Camaro won three times in 2015 under the Blackdog banner.
Needless to say, the bar is set high for 2016 but Gaples is confident his team has what it takes to make it four straight championships.
“The landscape in GTS is going to look different in 2016 with several new makes coming into the series,” said Gaples.
“I’m excited to get back on the track and compete against the new hardware. Our Blackdog Speed Shop team knows the kind of effort it takes to be winners at this level, so we will be fully ready for this massive challenge.”
Aschenbach returns to GTS after winning the 2013 and 2014 GTS titles with Blackdog Speed Shop. The Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. resident is a four-time World Challenge champion in three classes and has 19 series wins to his credit.
“I’m thrilled to return with Blackdog Speed Shop and team back up with Tony Gaples,” he said. “I knew we created something special back in 2013, and it was great to see the team continue the success last season.
“It will be exciting to strap back into a Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R… a race car that I know very well. It has good braking and power – an all-around, well-balanced hot rod!
“The class has many new cars and faces this year. I have no doubt every team has done their homework during the offseason and will be ready for COTA in March. The competition will be tough, but I’m very confident in Blackdog Speed Shop.”