Blackdog Speed Shop Returns to Friendly Confines at Sonoma

29 May 2019
LINCOLNSHIRE, Illinois – Blackdog Speed Shop heads back out west to one of its best venues for the eighth and ninth rounds of the Pirelli GT4 America Sprint Championship this weekend. The team is hoping past success at Sonoma Raceway will lead to additional podium finishes and points heading into this weekend’s doubleheader and the second half of the season.

The 2.51-mile, 12-turn road course just north of San Francisco has been the site of four of Blackdog Speed Shop’s class-leading 26 victories in GT4/GTS racing. Drivers Michael Cooper and Tony Gaples have combined to win five times at Sonoma in SRO/World Challenge competition. Another winning weekend would thrust the team firmly into the GT4 Drivers and Team championships with six rounds – and a lengthy break in the schedule – following the Sonoma doubleheader.

In its first year with the McLaren 570S GT4, Blackdog Speed Shop has recorded seven podium finishes and is fourth in the GT4 Team standings – four points from third place and 14 from the championship lead.
Cooper, who drives the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren, stands third in GT4 points and is only eight points from the championship lead following a run of five consecutive podiums dating back to Long Beach in April. A three-time series champion, Cooper has won at Sonoma in the GT, GTS and Touring Car categories.

Gaples, piloting the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4, is returning to the site of his first series victory in 2017. Sonoma also ranks as one of his favorite tracks with six top-10 finishes including an overall runner-up finish in 2005. Heading to California, Gaples stands tied for fourth in GT4 Am points and is seven points from third.
He is the only driver to finish in the points at each of his seven races to date. He finished third in his most recent race at CTMP, his second podium finish of the season.
The Pirelli GT4 America event at Sonoma Raceway is June 7-9. Race 1 is set for 12:40 p.m. PT on Saturday with Race 2 scheduled for 8:30 a.m. PT on Sunday. CBS Sports Network’s broadcast is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 22. Live coverage of both races will be available at

MICHAEL COOPER, NO. 10 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP McLAREN 570S GT4: “It’s great going back to Sonoma, one of my favorite tracks on the schedule. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of success with some great cars over the years. Hopefully we can add McLaren to that list with a couple of good races. The track itself is unique in a lot of ways. There are three distinct sectors – one with a lot of elevation change, a technical middle sector and then a quick run down to the hairpin. That makes it tough to get a car dialed in just right but if there’s a team that can do it, it’s Blackdog Speed Shop. We’ve done a good job piling up points the last few events. But we need to start winning races.”

TONY GAPLES, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP McLAREN 570S GT4: “Sonoma is one of my favorite trips of the season. The track is phenomenal and so is the area. It was disappointing not to race there last year, so I’m looking forward to returning that much more. This is a big weekend for us at Blackdog Speed Shop. We have a long break after Sonoma where we can do some testing and take a deep dive with the McLaren. Maximizing results will be the goal for Michael and I. Podiums are nice but it would be nice to contend for a win.”


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!