Pro Class Win, Second Overall for Cooper in GT4 America Sprint at VIR

27 April 2019 GT4 America
Blackdog Speed Shop scored two impressive finishes Saturday in the opening Pirelli GT4 America Sprint race at Virginia International Raceway with Michael Cooper finishing a tense second overall – and first among Pro category cars – in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4.
 
Cooper held off a train of three other cars for his best overall finish of the four-round season and second consecutive podium finish.

It also gave Blackdog Speed Shop its 26th GT4/GTS victory, most in class history.
 
Teammate Tony Gaples followed a disappointing qualifying session in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren with his usual charge through the field to finish seventh in GT4 Am and 11th overall – an improvement of 10 spots in the 50-minute race.

Seven of those spots came in the second half of the race. Even more impressive is that Saturday was just the fourth race for Gaples in the McLaren. His recovery was good enough to win the Hard Charger of the Race award.
 
Up front, Cooper began the race sixth overall but moved up to second in the race’s first half. He led a group of three other GT4 cars around the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit for the better part of 45 minutes. 
 
The three-time World Challenge champion relied on all his skill and moxie to hold the position and finish one second from the overall winner.
 
The result moved him to fourth in the GT4 Sprint Drivers Championship heading into Sunday’s 10 a.m. ET race. Live coverage will be available at gt4-america.com.

MICHAEL COOPER, NO. 10 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP McLAREN 570S GT4: “That was tough… fun but tough. I can’t think of many races where I had to drive and defend that hard for that long. But that’s part of what makes VIR a great track; it lends itself to good, close racing where different cars are strong over different parts of a lap. Thanks to everyone at Blackdog Speed Shop for the work they did to get our McLaren in a good spot for today. Hopefully we can go one spot better tomorrow.”

TONY GAPLES, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP McLAREN 570S GT4: “Considering where I started, the result is a good one. Part of racing is being consistent and taking advantage of opportunities when other cars struggle. That was pretty much the story of my race. We still have a long way to go learning the McLaren. Congratulations to Michael on his finish but how hard he had to work shows the lack of outright performance in this car. We’ll keep working on it and hopefully be rewarded with another good day tomorrow.”

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About Blackdog Speed Shop
Blackdog Speed Shop Blackdog Speed Shop is a high-performance, custom car builder in the northern suburbs of Chicago specializing in ground-up car builds, high-performance upgrades for engines, transmissions, suspension and exhaust including computer and dyno tuning. Whether you have a modern muscle car, vintage muscle, 1930s hot rod or a foreign exotic, you will enjoy the Blackdog experience.
 
Ever dreamed of piloting a real World Challenge race car? Blackdog offers rental and “arrive and drive” racing in addition to purpose-built cars. Call Blackdog today at (855) 4-BLACKDOG to schedule an appointment or discuss the best way to put you in the driver’s seat!