The 2023 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires (MX-5 Cup) rolled into the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this past weekend, and it was another winning weekend for Hixon Motor Sports (HMS). Leading the team with a race win was prior overall points leader, Connor Zilisch, while Selin Rollan netted a pair of top-four results as HMS amassed six top-ten finishes, including a pair of podium performances, where Rollan finished third in race two of the doubleheader MX-5 Cup event.
“Laguna Seca is a track that provides for some good, close racing,” expressed HMS Team Manager Shea Holbrook. “It was a great weekend for many but not so good for others. We are happy with the performance that the HMS squad put out, including Hanna Zellers who earned her career-best result in MX-5 Cup competition.”
Selin Rollan and Connor Zilisch lead the six-driver squad through qualifying with Rollan lapping the famed corkscrew facility with the fourth fastest time in qualifying as Zilisch was close behind in fifth. Thomas Annunziata put three HMS drivers in the top-ten with a ninth-place effort as rookies Bruno Smielevski and Jonathan Neudorf clocked times good enough for 13th and 15th, respectively. Hanna Zellers began her quest to be the best female in the field from the outside of row 12 but marched forward once wheel-to-wheel action commenced.
Race one on Saturday afternoon was a victorious one as it was Zilisch who found his way to the front of the field and the top step of the podium to extend his championship point lead. The 2022 Rookie of the Year and 2022 Vice Champion showed his natural skills and abilities in the high-speed game of chess-on-wheels to outsmart his competition to claim the win. Rollan remained consistent and crossed the stripe in fourth, the same position he started from with Smielevski and Annunziata improving to tenth and eleventh from their grid spots. Hanna Zellers was able to gain four positions to also finish inside the top-20 with Neudorf as the only driver having trouble within the HMS squad and failed to make the full race distance.
“Winning is what we do,” added Bryan Hixon. “Great to see the HMS brand back on the top step of the podium and three drivers in the top-ten. Looking forward to accomplishing even greater results in Round 6 of 14. With Hanna Zellers taking home both of Mazda’s new race-by-race women-only prize for fastest female at Laguna Seca, she acquired the same prize money as if one driver finished second place in a race. I am so proud of this team, which continues to lead the Team Standings in first place, after round six.”
Mother’s Day Sunday saw Rollan earn the team’s best result of the race weekend as he was the second HMS driver to find his way to the podium. Though Zilisch took the ten extra points for leading the most laps in race two, Zilisch had trouble and failed to see the checkered flag. Annunziata and Smielevski were inside the top-ten during race two with Annunziata besting his teammate for a P7 result while Smielevski crossed the stripe in tenth. Zellers had her best result of the MX-5 Cup season with an impressive drive to 15th, as Neudorf recovered to cross the line 20th after Saturday’s unfortunate issue.
Holbrook continued, “The focus has already shifted to event four of seven at Watkins Glen, New York (The Glen), as we need to keep the podium finishes going and to put even more pressure on our rivals.”
The Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires will reach the halfway mark when the checkered flag flies after race one of two at another doubleheader MX-5 Cup event at The Glen. Taking on rounds seven and eight of the 14-race MX-5 Cup series, Hixon Motor Sports is set to battle another famed facility, Watkins Glen International, as the championship battle continues to heat up. Stay tuned to the HMS social media pages and website for news, information, photos, and more!
You can find the complete 2023 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires full-season schedule HERE.
For more information on Hixon Motor Sports please contact RTD Media and Management via email to Mike@RTD-Media.com.
Photo Credit: Ignite Media