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Inside Mazda MX-5 Cup: BSI Racing – new name, deep roots

If you follow Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Michelin, you know the drivers on the team. The crew behind them will look very familiar, too, as will the team’s presence – and it’s a big one – in the paddock. The team has been there, it’s just the BSI Racing name that’s new.

With the help of Shea Holbrook, Hixon Motor Sports grew into an MX-5 Cup powerhouse. And as it grew, Holbrook and her husband, Nick Chorley, needed more resources. That came with the purchase of longtime Mazda racing prep shop and car builder BSI Racing, which has been the operating partner ever since. But when Hixon needed a step back from motorsports, the team needed to continue, and has done so under the BSI banner.

“Whether we were continuing as a MX-5 Cup team was never a question,” explains Holbrook. “While we had to make some alterations on how we were going to logistically proceed, ultimately it was a team branding change.”

BSI’s biggest hurdle was needing a second transporter with under 40 days to the start of the season as it prepared to run nine cars in January’s season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, a short haul from the shop in Daytona Beach. The team’s drivers in 2024 include standouts Selin Rollan and Connor Zilisch (lead image, No. 72), as well as 2024 Mazda Motorsports scholarship driver Westin Workman (lead image, No. 13) and 2022 Mazda Women In Motorsports scholarship winner Heather Hadley.

“We are extremely loyal to the Mazda brand, and as long as they give us a platform to go racing, you will see our business here, you will see the BSI branding here,” Holbrook continues. “We feel like we do a good job at this. I know for a fact that we have some of the best people, if not the best people, across the board. Our focus is developing everyone on the team, and with that focus we’re able to help get the best out of everyone, from drivers to staff.

“I think any additional growth just starts to push our bandwidth on personnel, coaching and engineering staff,” she adds. “We do a really good job at the rate at which we already operate, but we’re kind of at our max.

“Pressure is a privilege and that comes in all forms. Operating a large team like ours sometimes feels like what a 24-hour team effort would be.”

The team name’s new for 2024, but BSI Racing’s roots in MX-5 Cup run deep.

Holbrook gives credit to people like BSI co-owner Chorley, driver coach and engineer Andrew Carbonell, and her full-time mechanics in the shop, Jack Schumacher and Kyle Kaminsky. It’s people like these, and others, that Holbrook cites as the reasons BSI delivers some of the best service in the paddock. But she also notes that there’s a chapter that hasn’t been finished in BSI’s story.

“We haven’t won a championship. So, you’ve got to pack your punches; you’ve got to back it up, right?” she says. “Hopefully, this year we’ll be able to, and definitely the goal this year is to win a championship. We have two great drivers for Rookie of the Year between Julian DaCosta and the scholarship winner, Westin Workman. So, I think our chances are high.”

Zilisch came close to a title in 2022, losing it by only 10 points to Jared Thomas.

As important as the competition is, and producing winning cars and drivers, it’s the camaraderie that lights Holbrook’s fire. The crew are more than employees, the drivers more than just customers.

“Synergy amongst our team is the most important part of it all for me. We’re all very much a family,” she proudly says. This sport and industry is a roller coaster of highs, lows and everything in between and at the end of the day, we all have to have each other’s backs. At the beginning of every season, I remind everyone that we’ll win and lose together and have tough days together. So, it’s important we take care of one another.”

BSI may be a new brand in the Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup paddock, but its roots in the series and in Mazda run deep.

* All Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Michelin races are streamed live on RACER.com and archived on The RACER Channel on YouTube. Coming up next, it’s rounds 5 & 6 from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The action kicks off on Saturday, May 11, at 2:55pm ET, followed by the second race on Sunday, May 12, at 11:35am ET. To view the full schedule and learn more about the series, visit mx-5cup.com.

Story originally appeared on Racer