After a tremendous 2021 season that produced incredible racing, photo finishes, and a thrilling fight for the championship, the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires is ready to back it up with another season of amazing racing in 2022. Preparing for a second season under IMSA sanctioning, the quest for the $250,000 championship prize season begins this week at Daytona International Raceway as part of the legendary Rolex 24 At Daytona event.
Last year’s Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup races at Daytona were a sight to behold. The amount of drafting on the high banks of the oval created constant position changes all race long, building to a dramatic four-wide drag race to the finish in Round One. The winner of that race: the new Mazda MX-5 Cup Champion, Gresham Wagner (No. 5 Spark Performance).
Wagner comes into the season opener with no pressure and approaches the first two races of the year the same way he’d approach a title-deciding race.
“I’m just as relaxed as always,” Wagner said. “I sometimes have a bit more at stake in certain parts of a season than at the beginning, but I’ve never let any points or expectations determine how I race. I’ve always had confidence in myself and that brings a more relaxed and fun atmosphere to everything. At a certain point, each race just becomes another race.”
This is most definitely not just another race for the more than 10 rookies entered in the field, including the most recent winner of the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout, Connor Zilisch (No. 72 Hixon Motor Sports).
“I’m really looking forward to working with my new team, Hixon Motor Sports,” Zilisch said. “I think together we will be able to accomplish a lot and I’m excited to get to work with all of the crew and the drivers. I think that Daytona this year will be a ton of fun. With that being said, I know that we need to start the season off well to get the ball rolling. I’m expecting consistent top five results throughout the weekend to keep me up front. I think if I can do that I’ll be satisfied.”
Two other drivers were awarded $75,000 scholarships at the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout and will be on the grid as rookies at Daytona: Bryce Cornet (No. 65 Hixon Motor Sports) and Laura Hayes (No. 22 Thunder Bunny Racing).
Read the full article at MazdaMotorsports.com