Blackdog Speed Shop has confirmed it will return to Pirelli GT4 America Sprint competition for the 2020 season. Drivers Tony Gaples and Michael Cooper will be back in the team’s pair of McLaren 570S GT4s.
Blackdog Speed Shop will look to improve on its second-place championship finish in 2019. The team scored four victories, helped McLaren to the GT4 manufacturers’ championship, and recorded runner-up drivers’ championship finishes for Cooper — second overall — and Gaples — second in GT4 Am.
“Running the mid-engine McLaren for the first time last year was a new challenge which was very rewarding. Blackdog Speed Shop did a great job with a new and unfamiliar car,” said Cooper. “How quickly the team was able to get on top of the new platform and run at the front shows the level of talent within both the Blackdog organization and McLaren Automotive. I’m proud to have the support from both again this year as we go for the GT4 Driver, Team and Manufacturer championships.”
Last season’s results bolstered Blackdog Speed Shop as the most successful team in GTS/GT4 competition in the series formerly known as Pirelli World Challenge. It has claimed 29 race victories, two team championships, four drivers’ championships and contributed to three manufacturers’ titles to date.
Gaples has been a fixture in World Challenge and is one of only three drivers to record more than 200 starts in the series. Cooper returns as a McLaren Automotive factory driver in search of a fourth championship in SRO America competition.
“Last year was a new experience for all of us with the McLaren GT4. Toward the end of the year, I feel like we made good progress learning the cars,” said Gaples. “Now that we have had the chance to study them during the last couple months, we should be much better prepared to start the season than a year ago. I’m looking forward to getting back to driving with McLaren and Michael. We’re hoping for more wins and another championship for Blackdog Speed Shop.”
The opening of the Pirelli GT4 America Championship begins with a double-header for Sprint competitors March 7-8 at Circuit of The Americas.