Inside Mazda MX-5 Cup: Workman getting the job done

At the end of the 2023 Mazda Scholarship Shootout, as Westin Workman waited for the announcement of a winner, the pressure was almost unbearable. So much so, he says, that he wouldn’t have wished that on anyone. When he heard his name as the overall scholarship winner, with its $110,000 prize to race in the 2024 Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup, the relief was nearly overwhelming.

“I almost cried. I felt tears coming out of my eyes, but they never actually came out,” recalls Workman, who’d turned 19 only a couple of months before the Shootout. “It was super emotional for me – not only me, but for my dad, for my family and for everybody involved from the get-go.”

His success at the 2023 Scholarship Shootout was the culmination of several years on the edge of having a viable racing career.

“In 2022 I competed in the Mazda Scholarship Shootout, and I didn’t win it that year,” he explains. “We were kind of just stuck, you know. Like, what were we going to do now? I was still going to compete in karts, but were we still going to try to make our way in sports cars? I guess we were just kind of stuck, and then Mazda reached out.


“The support that Mazda gives the grassroots racers is second to none. So, we got a little bit of support to run Spec MX-5 again for 2023. I ended up doing very well. I had a few wins and finished second in the championship. It was really just a breakout year for me in sports cars, and I was able to start to prove what I could do. Then I got invited back for the Scholarship Shootout.”

Scholarship funds in hand, Workman (above) came up with the rest of the budget needed and secured a seat with BSi Racing, led by Shea Holbrooke, alongside another Scholarship winner in Connor Zilisch and veteran MX-5 Cup competitor Selin Rollan, among others.

“We were always connected with Shea, and she was a big advocate of mine. She was very supportive,” says Workman. “We had reached out to many teams on the grid, but given our existing relationship with Shea it was just a no-brainer to run with her.”

He admits that when learning of BSi’s plan to run nine cars, it gave him some pause.

“But now, after running nine cars at Daytona, it really ran super smoothly,” he concedes. “And it was actually a benefit, because after the race we’d all go in the trailer and review data and it was good to have the perspective of every driver, every car trying different setups.”

At last weekend’s Sebring International Raceway double-header (below, car No. 13), a Race 1 fifth-place finish for Workman followed by a win in Race 2 in only his fourth MX-5 Cup race start turned potential into stunning reality and vaulted him into the thick of the title battle. But rewind to January’s season-opener on the high banks and twisty infield of Daytona International Speedway’s road course, and that’s where Workman says he put a marker down.

The rookie, who lies second in points after his Sebring breakout, feels he fared better in those first two draft-filled races at Daytona than perhaps the results show, which included a seventh-place finish in Race 1.

“Being at Daytona with the huge drafts was something I’ve never done, and I’ve never really been a great pack racer. But MX-5 Cup is going to force me to get better,” he explains. “So, I was very happy to lead laps and gain some respect by showing that I can hang with these guys and show that I’m fast.”

As Westin Workman’s career begins to take off, he’s pretty sure where he wants to land – namely a race seat in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s ultra-competitive GTD Pro class.

To that end, he’s relishing the opportunity to be a part of the IMSA paddock, which is the case for every round of the 2024 Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup.

“Before I even got onto the track in my MX-5 Cup car, I couldn’t overlook the fact that it was happening during the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend,” recalls Workman of the 2024 season-opening races. “Just that atmosphere, the amount of fans and things like that, was super, super cool. I’ve never raced at an event like that where there’s fans actually coming to watch me.”

On top of that, he adds, there’s the exposure to the other race teams across the paddock. Plus, the routine of being in a professional race environment and all that it entails is part of his and every other aspiring driver’s career training.

* All Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Michelin races are streamed live on and archived on The RACER Channel on YouTube. Coming up next, it’s rounds 5 & 6 from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, May 10-12. To view the full schedule and learn more about the series, visit

Story originally appeared on Racer