Blackdog Speed Shop has announced that Michael Cooper will return to its driving roster for the 2019 racing season as the team prepares for its first season with the McLaren 570S GT4.
Cooper will team with Tony Gaples in the pair of Blackdog Speed Shop McLarens for the Pirelli GT4 Americas Sprint Championship, part of the Blancpain GT World Challenge of Americas. The campaign comes in Cooper’s first year as an official McLaren Automotive factory driver.
“It’s going to be exciting racing the McLaren 570S GT4 this year. We’re all looking forward to seeing how we stack up against the rest of the GT4 field,” said Cooper. “There are great drivers and great manufacturers throughout the category, so we know it’ll be a tough competition all season.
“Representing any manufacturer is a privilege, especially one like McLaren. It has a heritage that very few manufacturers can match, so I’m thankful for this opportunity. I learned quite a bit driving for GM, and those years and championships put me in a position to take this next step in my career. I’m really looking forward to what this season has in store for me, Blackdog Speed Shop and McLaren.”
Cooper last raced in a full season for Blackdog Speed Shop in 2015, a year that ended with four victories and the Pirelli World Challenge GTS drivers championship. He partnered with Gaples in Blackdog’s 2018 GTS SprintX campaign, highlighted by a third-place finish at COTA.
In 2017, Cooper won three times for Cadillac in GT and shared the GT SprintX drivers title with Jordan Taylor. He also won the 2012 World Challenge Touring Car championship and has 19 series victories since 2012.
Owning to strict GT4 regulations, the McLaren 570S GT4 shares much with the road-going McLaren 570S Coupe. Among the common features is an identical carbon chassis, a mid-mounted 3.8L twin-turbo V8 motor and seven-speed paddle-shift transmission.
The Pirelli GT4 America championship begins March 8-10 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.