LINCOLNSHIRE, Illinois (May 16, 2023) – Tony Gaples, Blackdog Speed Shop and the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R continue their “reunion tour” this weekend as the team is back at Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas – one of the most successful venues for the Blackdog team in recent memory.
Gaples is set for the two 40-minute races in the GT4 category of the GT America Powered by AWS championship with the No. 5 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. The goal is to continue Blackdog’s recent good showings at the circuit.
Blackdog Speed Shop last raced at COTA in 2020 and scored four wins across two event weekends in GT4 competition. In addition to that, Gaples raced his way to the podium two times in the spring visit followed by another podium finish later in the season.
A return to the GT4 podium would be a welcome result for Gaples and the Blackdog crew. He was third in the second race of the series’ opening weekend at St. Petersburg. A focal point to get the Blackdog Camaro will be continued improvement as it relates to tire performance and degradation.
The grip level at COTA should be better than at Sonoma or NOLA Motorsports Park where fall-off of the tires played a large role in the pair of race outcomes as Gaples finished sixth in both rounds.
Blackdog Speed Shop and the No. 5 Camaro will race in the first of two GT America races from Circuit of The Americas at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, followed by Sunday’s second race at 8:40 a.m. Live coverage of both races plus timing & scoring will be available at gtamerica.us and SRO’s GT World YouTube channel.
TONY GAPLES, NO. 5 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “The results sheets may not show it, but I feel like we performed better at NOLA than at Sonoma. So we are headed in the right direction. COTA and Austin is a fun place to go. This track is different from anywhere else we will run with the track length and number of corners we are facing. It’s not just the number but also the types of corners, plus the curbing in spots can really unsettle the car. That and tires will make the race. If we can keep making the tire last deeper into the race, we can be as competitive as we want to be.”
RAY SORENSON, TEAM MANAGER, BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP: “We’ve been slowly progressing through the first three event weekends. We were better at NOLA than we were at Sonoma, but we still need to work on making ourselves better with tire degradation. There’s a lot of effort going on to overcome and solve that. We also need to understand how that affects the chassis balance, which is key at a place like COTA. There are some big straights and a lot of long-duration, sweeping corners that can eat away at tires. Hopefully we can give Tony a car that stays under him for the full race distance.”