A Look at the 2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout Finalists: Part 1
 November 10, 2023| 
  • Series News

The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout will see 12 aspiring racers vie for a scholarship valued at $110,000 from Mazda to compete in the 2024 MX-5 Cup season. Every racer has their own story and their own path, and what follows is a brief introduction to six of those candidates as the November 15 – 17 event rapidly approaches.

Click here for Part 2


Cam Ebben
(Milwaukee, WI) 

Racing is in the blood for Cam Ebben who is a third-generation racer. Like many of his fellow finalists, Ebben spent two years in SCCA’s Spec Miata class before making the move to the Spec MX-5 Challenge. The 20-year-old is a student at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, studying marketing.


“I’m just excited for the opportunity to better myself as a racer on and off the track. I know Mazda is great at developing young talent, so I’m looking forward to hearing all the advice and tips that are given to me and I’m excited to drive the MX-5 Cup cars at CMP.”

DaCosta  Julian DaCosta

(Myakka City, Florida)

He may not have a real-world driver’s license yet, but Julian DaCosta does have four Mazda MX-5 Cup races under his belt. The 15-year-old dipped his toe into the MX-5 Cup waters at VIR and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta this season after finding success in Spec Miata.


“I’ve had a lot of great opportunities through Spec Miata. At the end of my karting career we met some people that were in Spec Miata and we said ‘hey, let’s give it a shot, maybe it will lead somewhere’ and it definitely has. I think a lot of it [progression] comes from knowing the right people and I’ve been very lucky to meet those people. It’s about good relationships with people that can help you.”


Brallier  Laurin Brallier
(Clemmons, North Carolina)

Laurin is back for her second shot at the MX-5 Cup Shootout and is returning with a lot more confidence. Now that she has a full season of Spec Miata under her belt, the transition to driving the MX-5 Cup car won’t be as daunting as she looks to gain the support to make the next step in her career.


“I’m a lot more confident than I was last year. Everyone is coming into this with a different level of experience. I feel like I have a lot more relevant experience than I did last year, and I feel pretty good for that reason.”


Nathan Nicholson
(Bloomington, Indiana)

Having finished first in the Spec MX-5 Challenge regular-season points and third in the National Championship, Nathan Nicholson is feeling strong coming into his first MX-5 Cup Shootout. He’d feel even better if it rains, as he’s found quite a bit of success this year driving in the wet.


“The hardest part will be doing what I know I can do. Performing is not new to me. I’ve been racing for a while. I just need to get into the right mindset and show the judges what I know I’m capable of.”


Noah Harmon
(Orlando, Florida)

He’s only been racing since 2020, but Noah Harmon is advancing quickly through the ranks. From karting to Spec Miata to Spec MX-5 Challenge in just three years. He was fourth in both the regular season Spec MX-5 points and in the National Championship, but his main goal was to make the Shootout.


“The big challenge is going to be hopping into the car on the first day, a car that I don’t know really well. Luckily, I’ve raced at Carolina Motorsports Park before, but not in the Cup car. I’ve done some sim racing with the MX-5 Cup car. I know it’s close, but you don’t have the seat-of-the-pants feel of a real car. A lot of watching in-car video at CMP and some sim racing has been my preparation.”


Westin Workman
(Charlotte, North Carolina)

If ever there was a Shootout pro, it’s Westin Workman. The 19-year-old won the 2021 Spec MX-5 Shootout and then made it to last year’s MX-5 Cup Shootout but didn’t come away with a prize. He’s on a high after winning the final Spec MX-5 race of the season and finishing second in the National Championship.


“I wouldn’t say I’m ‘the favorite’. I think everyone is equally talented and respected by Mazda. It’s going to be about who performs the best. I think I’m much more prepared than last year. Last year was my first time in an MX-5 Cup car. This year, I have a lot more time in a race car and more time in an MX-5 Cup car. My experience level is much higher than it was last year.”


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