LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. – Riding one of the hottest streak in its racing history, Blackdog Speed Shop returns home to Road America for this weekend’s Pirelli GT4 Sprint Championship rounds.
The historic track in Elkhart Lake, Wis., is the site of another tripleheader in the GT4 Sprint series.
Blackdog Speed Shop – the home team – arrives on a five-race winning streak and carries commanding lead in the GT4 Sprint Pro Drivers and Team standings after Michael Cooper swept the Sonoma weekend three weeks ago in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4.
The Road America weekend also sees the return of Tony Gaples and Blackdog’s No. 11 McLaren after missing the previous two events due to eye surgery. Gaples hasn’t been behind the wheel of the McLaren since the opening practice at St. Peterburg in March when cars were pulled off-track due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The weekend prior, he posted two third-place finishes and sat second in GT4 Am points before the break. Not long before the series was set to resume at VIR, Gaples learned he would have to sit out following an emergency procedure on his right eye.
He had hoped to make a return at Sonoma but a second surgery sidelined him for another weekend. Now he’s back and eager for a victory on his home turf.
Victories have been plentiful for Cooper this year. A three-time SRO Drivers Champion, Cooper has six wins in eight starts and enjoys a 33-point lead. He took two victories at Road America last season in the McLaren, and a repeat performance would give him and Blackdog Speed Shop a stranglehold on the Sprint Pro Championship.
Blackdog Speed Shop’s three races at Road America are scheduled for 12:20 p.m. CT Friday, 9:40 a.m. CT Saturday and 3:05 p.m. CT Sunday. All three races plus Friday’s 8:30 a.m. CT qualifying session will stream live on gt4-america.com.
MICHAEL COOPER, NO. 10 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP McLAREN 570S GT4: “I can’t remember being on a run like this. The execution by everyone at Blackdog Speed Shop and McLaren has been spot-on all year. We’ll aim to do the same this weekend at Road America. It’s true that we have a good gap in points but there won’t be any let-up. For the last two years, our goal has always been to make the most of what the race and the car gives us. If we can win this weekend, then we’ll go for it.”
TONY GAPLES, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP McLAREN 570S GT4: “Not being able to race at VIR and Sonoma was really tough. Those are two of my favorite tracks. But I’m really excited to be back racing at home… Road America. I’m really going to take everything in – the competition, the comradery and everything about being back at one of these events. At the end of the day, I’m still going to race hard and go for a win along with Michael.”