Going the Distance: Blackdog Racing Set for COTA Enduro

Going the Distance: Blackdog Racing Set for COTA Enduro

Fresh off a class victory and another podium finish two weeks ago, Blackdog Racing heads to Circuit of The Americas this weekend for a unique race in its Pirelli GT4 America debut season.

Michael Cooper and Tony Gaples will team in the No. 9 Blackdog Nissan Z NISMO GT4 for the three-hour endurance race Saturday night. It’s the first long-distance race for Blackdog Racing since a pair of races in IMSA during the 2021 season.

Cooper has a mighty record at COTA including four wins in 2020... including three in one weekend. He also recorded his first victory with the Blackdog team at COTA in 2015. Gaples raced last year in GT America – and set the fastest race lap in Race Two – which was the first appearance at COTA since 2020. 

At the circuit, the team has 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 2020 spring visit followed by another podium finish later in the season.

Blackdog Racing is coming off a stellar weekend at Sebring International Raceway in which it posted a race victory and third-place result in the Pro-Am class. The result boosted the Blackdog squad to third place in the Teams championship standings and one point out of second place.

Saturday’s race at COTA will be a double-points race, putting an additional emphasis on a positive result. Given the extended length of the event, there are a number of additional regulations that teams must follow. 

For one, there is a 100-minute maximum drive-time, and drivers are not permitted to drive more than 50 minutes at a time, and double-stints are not permitted. Tire changes also can be performed during refueling by a maximum of two crew members.

Blackdog Racing’s three-hour enduro in Pirelli GT4 America is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET on Saturday. Live coverage plus timing & scoring will be available at gt4-america.com and SRO’s GT World YouTube channel.

MICHAEL COOPER, NO. 9 BLACKDOG RACING NISSAN Z NISMO GT4: "COTA is going to be the first points-paying endurance race for GT4 in SRO. A lot of teams and drivers have been wanting to do this kind of event for years. It’ll be interesting in our Nissan with the new rules to figure out the best way to attack this format and try to come out on top after three hours of racing."

TONY GAPLES, NO. 9 BLACKDOG RACING NISSAN Z NISMO GT4: “I like the idea of a long-distance race. It’s something different and can set the best teams apart. There’s obviously a lot of momentum that we’re bringing to COTA, where the team and I have had some good races in the past. Sebring showed that we can challenge for a championship in GT4 America. We’re going to try and keep that up.”

RAY SORENSON, TEAM MANAGER, BLACKDOG RACING: “It’s always good to come into an event – especially one like a long-distance race – with good momentum. We have that after our strong showing at Sebring. We will keep spending considerable time working through our strategy and pit stop planning and practices to make sure we’re prepared. This is an area where the race can be won and lost. Our goal is to be one of the best crews on the pitlane and let Michael and Tony do what they do best on the racetrack.”