GTS: THE GT4 REVOLUTION
cost. “When I looked at the cars and what
was available, the SIN just caught my eye. I
thought it was the coolest looking car, and
the overall layout just made sense to me.
I thought, ‘That’s a car that people want to
look at, drivers will want to drive, and we
as a team would be proud to run.’”
Mechanical glitches and on-track
incidents kept the cars from racing at
COTA and absent entirely from St. Pete,
so it’s tough to say how they’ll fit in.
Mirachi acknowledges that things may
not mesh immediately. “I think there’s
a little bit of pain that everybody has
to go through trying to merge two
different things together, so I expect
some difficulties either to our advantage
or our disadvantage,” he says.
Of course, that is the big bone of
contention, whether the SIN, X Bow and
Ginetta are going to have an edge. So far
it appears they don’t, but there are
circumstances where the very different
character of the cars could come into play.
“Those cars have very low centers of
gravity and very light weight,” notes
Mustang driver Roush. “Personally, I think
they need to have a smaller tire to
represent that. Because, even though in
some cases we may have a similar lap
time, at the end of a run they’re actually
(BELOW) Michael Cooper has been
drafted into Cadillac Racing’s No. 8
ATS-V.R in PWC’s GT class for 2016.
For Michael Cooper,
wasn’t so much a
stepping stone as
it was a training
ground to harden
him up for battle in the GT ranks.
The 2015 GTS champion in a Black
Dog Speed Shop Camaro Z28,
Cooper has stepped into a coveted
factory Cadillac ATS-V.R ride in the
GT category. He’s proven himself
quickly, with a fast lap at COTA and
finishing ahead of teammate and
four-time GT champ Johnny
O’Connell on a couple of occasions.
Cooper won the 2012 Touring Car
title, but had only a part-season in
2013. A one-off race in GT at
Mid-Ohio caught Cadillac’s eye, and
they decided to give him a test.
“I actually tested the Cadillac
before I ever drove the Black Dog
car,” Cooper says. “I think it was,
‘Let’s put Michael in the Black Dog
car and try to develop him ourselves.’
They were giving me a shot to help
bring my craft along, because they
believed in me and they thought I
could do the job at Cadillac.”
Cooper says he wishes that the
series had more of a reward system
for champions to help them move up
to the next class if they desire. He
notes that he gained confidence and
skills each step along the way. Clearly,
because he was ready to strap into
one of the series’ biggest rides.
“I don’t think that I could have
come out here and put on the
performance I have had I gone
straight from Touring car to GT,”
he says. “GTS was a huge learning
platform for me to hone my craft
and get some experience with some
higher horsepower, rear-wheel-drive cars and more competitive
drivers, and it’s paid off.”
GTS GaVE MiChAEL
COOPER THE SmaRTS
TO mOVE Up TO GT
wITH CadILLaC RaCING.
The two-time PWC
GTS champion with
Black Dog Speed
Shop (2013 and
’ 14) returns to the
team for a 2016
GTS campaign, as
well as racing a
GTD class Audi R8
Motorsports in the
IMSA Weather Tech
going to be much faster than us.”
Indeed, Sandberg praised the
consistency of his KTM throughout Round
2 at COTA, which he won, and followed
that up with a pair of podiums at St. Pete.
But the GT4 machine couldn’t shake
Aschenbach’s Camaro that was hounding
him all race long at COTA, either.
Sandberg says the X Bow is great through
the high-speed sweepers, but believes the
Camaro is better under braking and out
of corners. For his part, Aschenbach says
the new arrivals have the Camaro beat
on top speed. Swings and roundabouts?
That’s where the rulesmakers at SRO
come in, and where Pirelli World
Challenge Technical Director Marcus
Hasselgrove may face his biggest
challenge, especially while there are cars
prepared to legacy rules running against
the wave of GT4-homologated racers.
Several GTS class competitors, though,
expressed confidence in Hasselgrove’s
ability to keep the GTS field fair and
balanced in the transition period.
When that period of mixed legacy cars
and GT4 machinery ends, as it likely will,
perhaps some of the new arrivals won’t
seem quite so otherworldly, and an X Bow
side by side with a Mustang in a corner
won’t look quite so odd?
(LEFT) Racers Edge Motorsports will run a pair of SIN R1 GT4
cars in 2016 PWC GTS. The R1 has already proved an effective
package in European GT4 racing. (BELOW) SDR Motorsports’
Lotus Evora was a podium contender at the COTA opener.
GT4 VARiETY ShOW