The penultimate stop for the Pirelli World Challenge’s GTS class comes this weekend as Blackdog Speed Shop moves to the palatial Circuit of The Americas for the 15th and 16th rounds of the 2017 championship. It’s a place where the team should feel right at home given its history at the 3.4-mile, 20-turn circuit just outside Austin, Texas.
Blackdog Speed Shop has won at least once in each of its three previous visits to COTA –including 2013 and 2016 for current GTS Driver’s Championship leader Lawson Aschenbach.
Driver of the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, Aschenbach also placed second in last year’s second race. Another weekend like that will go a long way toward Aschenbach winning his fifth World Challenge Driver’s championship and third in GTS. He leads by 70 points
Blackdog Speed Shop leads by 57 points in the GTS Team standings while Chevrolet enjoys a 20-point advantage in the Manufacturer’s Championship.
“Circuit of The Americas is a unique track that combines high-speed transitions and tight, tricky slow-speed corners with heavy power-down zones,” he said. “The balance will come into highlight due to the fact that it’s hard to set up the car for every corner. There will be a bit of give-and-take through the weekend. Everyone at Blackdog Speed Shop is definitely ready to rebound after a tough weekend in Utah. We will continue to push hard in order to get our Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R on the top step of the podium.”
Likewise for Tony Gaples in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. Gaples stands third in GTSA points and ninth in the full GTS championship.
“We’re excited to go back to Austin and race at COTA. It’s a great circuit with a number of challenges. The heat can be a factor there, especially in September. Aside from the circuit, Austin is such a vibrant area with so much entertainment. This really is one of the best trips we make all year. We’re hoping to score good points here and build toward a strong finish in the championship.”
Like the rest of the country, everyone on the Blackdog team has watched the conditions along the coast of Texas deteriorate in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The team sends its thoughts and best wishes for the residents and rescuers in the storm’s aftermath.
“The hurricane has the entire nation worried for the people of Texas,” Aschenbach said. “Our thoughts are with them. Stay strong Texas!
The Pirelli World Challenge GTS class will compete at Circuit of The Americas from Friday through Sunday. Qualifying is set for 9:30 a.m. CT on Saturday with the first of two races set for later in the day at 1:45 p.m. Race 2 is scheduled for 10 a.m. CT on Sunday.